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Why do we enjoy going out so much?

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Almost a week has gone by since New Year’s and I’m still having flashbacks. My shins are still bruised and I’m yet to face my bank balance. It’s hardly surprising so many people give up the booze for January after all that overindulgence. To what extent is having a big night out overindulgent though? And should those of us who enjoy a few learn to control our cravings? God, that sounds like I’m borderline alcohol dependent. I’m not. I just enjoy a good dance.

Not too long ago, and in a bid to turn my hangover into something more productive, I blogged about being a party animal. I asked the question, ‘Is it ok?’ You know, is it ok to enjoy getting smashed? My conclusive answer was that yes, it is, but only when balanced correctly, and situated accordingly, amongst the other (more important) aspects of your life.sienna-miller-alfie

I cannot express how much our lives constitute one gigantic balancing act. The key isn’t just to balance out everything equally either, its about measuring everything out by it’s level of importance, and then weighing up what you want to do, what you need to do, and what you should be doing. Our lives make up a pretty complicated equation, it’s no wonder we get it wrong sometimes. Willpower plays a pretty big part, as does the formation of your own personal set of values. What one person calls a necessity, another will deem as excessive. That’s just how it is.

I’ve never really considered a night out as a luxury thing. Rather, it’s something that I’m entitled to do as a young adult. I suppose everyone’s definition of ‘a night out’ will differ quite a lot. I’ll define a typical night out as having a few drinks with your friends, with the intention of getting drunk, usually starting at someone’s house, and ending up in a grimy underground club or pretentious, overpriced bar. You all pile into a taxi at 10pm, arrive in town feeling ready to take on the world, stumbling into the same bar you were in the week before. The first thing you do when you walk in is order a round of jager bombs that you most definitely don’t need, and, depending on the venue, you eventually work your way over to the dance floor. Shots and drinks are met with intermissions of dancing, cigarette breaks, numerous trips to the toilet, and attempts to talk to the DJ.annie-mac_7

What I want to know is…why do we do it?

It’s just something you do at the weekend to let off a bit of steam, right? But aren’t there fifty thousand other things you could do to let off steam rather than get completely off your face, and actually pay money to make a fool of yourself? If you ask me, it’s about escapism, plain and simple. Well, actually it’s not that simple. It’s weird. It’s weird that even though I love my friends and get on with them all incredibly well, in order to have a night out together, we all have to get, well, smashed. We all get to the point where we’re no longer ourselves, just our drunk selves. I find this problematic. The main reason I find it problematic is because even though I know all of this, I still look forward to doing it every single Saturday night.

I often fall into a dangerous trap. If I have a good night out, I want to do it all over again to relive it, and if I have a bad night out, I want to do it all over again to resolve it. What is that all about? The relationship between your body, your brain, and the way you perceive the world around you, that’s what.  I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, and it sounds sad, but I think I actually hope for the ‘perfect’ night out every single time. You know, the kind you would see in a film. So when I lose my phone and cry all the way home in the taxi, I don’t want to ‘never go out again’ like most people, I want to do it better next time. Weird. And not at all practical.crazy-party-people-Favim.com-156863

Without getting into too much of a psychological rant, it has a lot to do with the way you communicate with people. Even the most reclusive introvert can enjoy a few shots and a boogie, potentially even more so – once they get going. You see, those who are naturally extroverted, and a tad eccentric, don’t need to get a bit boozy to show off and entertain a room full of people; they do it comfortably anyway. Those who are generally shy or prefer their own company might avoid the clubs all together, but those who are a bit of both might need a little boost to enjoy themselves and feel comfortable. So if you’re an introverted extrovert, or an extroverted introvert, a couple of glasses of wine will put your schizophrenic interior at ease and you’ll most likely go one way or the other.

Or you might just love music. And dancing.

And not taking yourself too seriously.

Whatever it is that drives us to the pubs and clubs every weekend, I’m not going to deny myself of that just because it’s January. As obvious as it sounds, as long as you’re happy, healthy and having fun, how bad can it really be?

We Laugh We Cry

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Tick over to my side I feel you,

Flutter past my ear.

You influence, you taint,    lonely girl16672deMers

You dance,

I overstep the mark,

You laugh.

I saunter to the floor.

 

Run faster round my head your circles,

Growing in my eyes.

My tongue is split, I hiss,

I kiss,

You’re staring at the sky

I cry,

I’m crawling up the walls.

 

You take my hand I waver, stand,

I’ve seen this one before.

The glass it breaks, it cuts

and cuts,

Our ribbons tied,

We laugh we cry,

I’ve seen this one before.

 

I wind a hair around my thumb,

It tightens there,

My heart’s gone numb.

It tastes of fire, burning red,

It tastes of tar,

It tastes of fate

I’ll meet you at the door.

 

Should you ever give up chasing what you want?

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This time exactly one week ago, something amazing happened. I, Corin Leigh Jackson, was offered a job. Not just any old job, oh no, but a job that I actually want to do. One that was worth me going to Uni for, one that needs me to be the person that I am – which is pretty hard to come by these days I can tell you. As someone who began looking and praying for such an accomplishment well over a year ago, you can imagine that I was pretty thrilled. Not just thrilled either, I was god damn relieved. Relieved that all that time and effort put into internships, writing for free, putting portfolios together, serving people drinks at 2am, testing my sanity in customer services, well, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. And I’m pretty good at wasting time.

‘Maids have dreams too you know. And they don’t generally involve foot rubs and cake…’

Relief. That feeling you get when you wake from a nightmare, when you nearly fall over but don’t, when you think everything has gone catastrophically wrong when actually everything’s fine. It’s wonderful thing. Wonderful because it’s so short lived. Things are only ever 100% ok for a few minutes at a time. Those are the minutes in our lives we should aim to keep buried away in the backs of our minds, as a reminder that things do go right, and will do again.

I had that feeling before, when I got into Uni. You know when you just feel like everything will be ok from now on? Imagine being shit at sport and reaching base one in rounders. It’s a bit like that. I’d lost sight of that feeling. I no longer believed deep down that everything would be ok, and I started to doubt myself. It’s a damaging thing, to doubt yourself, because that’s when others will start doubting you too. So much of the way people perceive you comes from the way you perceive yourself. Similarly, only when you trust yourself to reach your goals, can you trust the world to help you along your way. Positive energy is a bloody powerful thing.

I’m so envious of people who can put a positive spin on everything they do. Much to my own annoyance, I’m just not one of those people. Which is why I cannot urge people enough – people like me – to never give up chasing what you want, even when it gets a bit tough. The things you want line the basis for the very purpose of your existence. If we didn’t want anything, we wouldn’t be living at all. Just waiting for things to happen, and not caring whether they did. I’d rather spend my whole life fighting for something I want, than float along with the knowledge that I didn’t even try. It’s true what they say, if you don’t try then you’ll never know. And even if you never get there, at least you cared about something enough to try.

‘And they would be happy together forever and ever…’

However, there does come a point where fighting for something you want, but will never have, can put a curse around your life. If you’re too fixated on something that will never be yours, you’re in danger of losing sight of all the other things that could be. The answer? It’s fine to chase a dream, to fight for a goal, as long as you don’t believe that it’s the only thing that will ever make you happy. Be in pursuit of happiness, always, but not in the form of something else. The thing you want may make you happy, yes, but you should never feel that you couldn’t be happy without it. What I’m trying to say is that the journey you make, chasing the things you want, should be a story of happiness in itself. The end result is just a bonus. If you’re chasing something, and it seems out of reach, take a minute to sit and think about the journey you’ve made towards it. If it’s a happy, fulfilling journey, then carry on. If it prevents the opportunity for happiness along the way, consuming you, maybe it’s time to have a rethink. Life really is too short.

After all, we go through life always thinking that if we just had that one thing, everything would be ok. When, in reality, there will always be something else. So, whereas you should never be afraid to chase the things you want, or give up on them when chances are slim, you should always take the time to appreciate what you’ve already won.

The Shade

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Pin me down against the shade,

Your eyes like holes, they take and take.

They sap the liquid from my tongue,

The lamplight down, the blisters gone.

 

I know your name your name is mine,

I know your game, I know the time.

I know it’s fixed, set to implode,

I know the floor, the ceiling’s low.

 

I grab the rope, you pull back tight,

The safety shore cut out the lights,

The safety shore is filled with clay,

It sets a mould and here I stay.

 

Reaching up I grab at clouds,

They shrink to dust and then the sound of

Thunder shudders up my spine,

The stars disperse then realign.

 

My pupils bolder, needing more,

Summon strength and leave the floor.

I’ll pin you down against the shade,

My eyes like holes, they take and take.

Is it Important to make sense to the outside world?

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I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. It can be difficult to make sense of anything when you over-think everything, let alone start to define the relationship between you and the rest of the world. If you’re anything like me, then you probably go about your life half acting as though you couldn’t care less what people think of you, whilst at the same time flicking through your own profile pictures trying to see yourself from the perspective of another. Or perhaps you stand up for what you believe in, always fighting your corner in an argument, whilst constantly ensuring that your makeup is flawless and you have nice clothes. Whether we like it or not, we do, and always will, care what people think, even if it’s to make sure that they think we don’t care…

“She knew she shouldn’t have opened that second bottle of wine…”

Obviously, by asking whether it’s important to ‘make sense’ to everyone that isn’t you, I’m going one step further than attempting to understand how we do and should relate to others. I’m effectively asking whether it’s important for people to understand each other, whilst assessing the extent to which we fear the judgement of others. Mutual understanding is, by the way, incredibly important – In more ways than one. Whereas it seems obvious that individuals should strive to understand one another’s motives and emotions in order to live harmoniously, and better yet, in order to be friends, what often goes unnoticed is the extent to which someone else’s understanding of our character can expose it for what it really is, or contrast it to what it isn’t. In other words, other people often understand us better than we understand ourselves.

If I can remember anything from my degree, it’s the idea that nothing exists without its relationship to something else. Everything around us is intricately linked together. High only exists in comparison to low, rich in comparison to poor, cool in comparison to geek etc etc. We define ourselves in relation to everything else that isn’t us, that’s just the way it is. Not only is absolutely everything relational, but it’s subject to contextual interpretation as well. Our relationship with the world around us is forever evolving. And the most relational thing of all? Morality, of course. So it’s hardly surprising that the concept of ‘understanding’ should be so directly linked with that of ‘judgement’. The need to be understood is to satisfy our desire to be fairly judged.

If we ever feel we’ve been unfairly judged, we automatically question the extent to which the outside/judging world understands us. And then comes the big question: why do we care? The answer splits accordingly between why we care what strangers think of us, and why we care how the people we’re close with perceive us. Why do we care if we fall in front of a stranger? Because we’re proud, competitive and easily embarrassed. Why do we care if we fall, perhaps metaphorically, in front of a friend? Such an act involves a different kind of pride – the desire we have for our friends and family to be proud of us. When that is hindered, the relationship is hindered. If our relationships with the people we care about are hindered, we become hindered ourselves; we lose a part of ourselves. With Pride comes respect, and a friendship with no respect is a friendship without understanding. Only true friends understand us when we’ve forgotten how to understand ourselves. And for the same reason, only true friends, the friends that do understand, have the god given right to judge us.

“She’d always been very up and down as a person…”

Whereas it is important to make sense to the outside world in order to define yourself, that world only needs to encompass the people you care about, and the people who care about you. If you run around trying to make sure that you project the right kind of message or personality to everyone, you will never know how it feels to be yourself, and you will certainly never do anything for yourself. Remember that there’s a beauty in mystery. You don’t have to expose everything that you are to everyone around you. Save yourself for the people who matter. Also, try not to rebel for the wrong reasons. If you have to rebel, rebel for something you believe in, not because you feel that people don’t believe in you. One day they will, and you’ll have rebelled for no real reason. Rebellion without reason is just self-centred recklessness.

I’m beginning to appreciate why so many celebrities have mental break downs; the pressure of maintaining a specific social image and having to please more people than humanly possible must be unbearable. Just think of the burden of having your every move watched and judged, and the impossible situation of having so many people think they have the right to judge you. Very few people genuinely don’t care what people think of them. Even those who go against the grain are at the same time seeking approval by doing so.

On the other hand, If you don’t wish to make sense to the outside world, at least you get them talking. Plenty of people, myself included, enjoy shocking others from time to time. Not in a sinister way, just as a way of getting people thinking, or, better still, as a way of opening their minds up to new possibilities. After all, you can always meet misunderstanding and nonsense with a decent explanation.

Thief

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Pebbles ground up,

Around your neck,

As we lie in a twist

Of sea air.

Forgotten myself,

In the clasp of now,

My face is a blur,

In my muddled up hair.

 

The water creeps up,

And bites at my feet,

Is is cold?

It’s frozen, not there.

My life in a box,

Was wrenched from my side,

I notice, too late,

Space is bare.

 

I don’t know a lot about Walt Whitman, which is farily poor show for an English Graduate. However, I do know that the following poem of his, ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’, encompasses the exact same scenery as mine and yet couldn’t be more different. Sometimes loneliness speaks before you even notice its existence. Take a leaf out of Whitman’s book – embrace the world around you for, after all, we’re all in this together aren’t we?

On the Beach at Night Alone

Walt  Whitman 1819–1892

On the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to  and fro singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars  shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes and of the future.
A vast similitude interlocks  all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown,  small, large, suns, moons, planets,
All distances of place however  wide,
All distances of time, all  inanimate forms,
All souls, all living bodies  though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery,  vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,
All nations, colors,  barbarisms, civilizations, languages,
All identities that have  existed or may exist on this globe, or any globe,
All lives and deaths, all of  the past, present, future,
This vast similitude spans  them, and always has spann’d,
And shall forever span themand compactly hold and enclose them.

Is it important to make sense to the outside world?

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I’m going to need a little bit of time to think this one through. It’s a biggy. In the meantime, a poem. Yes, I’m a closet poet.

The poem isn’t necessarily about how we relate to the world around us. It’s about a deeply personal struggle. A struggle that alters you. For better and for worse. From the depths of your brain to the ends of your fingers. It’s true what they say, sometimes we have to go back to go forwards, and go down to go up. Our minds wind up like elastic. We can only stretch so far and then we ping right back. As long as we don’t reach breaking point that is. If the elastic snaps, it’s impossible to go anywhere.

The Path

Nails wrung in a clambering grip                                                                

As I wipe my face on the gravel.

The path is long wound twisted and right,

And I can’t find my way to the end.

 

My eye lids, torn open, drip into the Earth

To the pool where my voice has drowned.

My splintered spine has pierced at my neck

And I’m locked in a backwards stare.

 

A buttercup floats up over my head

And lands at the base of my back.

A plume of light glows gathers and melts    

To a scab of blue black and gold.

 

I pull my nail beds out from the dirt

And flick at the bloodless mound.

It crumbles and splits and tears at my skin,

When a greenish root sprouts out.

 

I smile in vain and straighten my legs,

My head twists slowly forward.

I loop a knot around my tooth,

And pull and pull and pull.