The kids of LA have been playing at the Vanguard all night, dancing to house DJ’s while rolling their faces off on E. The young adults of this city filled with angels were also there, also on drugs, sweating profusely, bumping into each other and falling over entirely. Even some of the matured adults stumbled into the Vanguard to dance to the beats of DJ Calvin Harris, kissing random strangers and staring intently at the video screens displaying oversized eyeballs, or random sequences of numbers. And although not on drugs, and yet still sweating profusely, I danced my ass off tonight. Among hundreds of people whose names I don’t know, whose faces all blended together, whose movement became one with the pounding baseline that filled the room.
Tonight is the first night in my life that I’ve ever been at a club, a rave type scene, and not used drugs. The first night in my life where I danced for hours on end because I wanted to, not because the MDMA coursing through my veins told me I must. Tonight I took on the Vanguard with a clarity I’ve never experienced, and was thereby able to experience the people around me, the sights, the lights, the music, for exactly what it is. Pumping.
The music pumped through the system. The baselines were so heavy I could feel them in my body, and when the crowds energy rose with the music, an electric shock wave started in the floors and shook my entire body. Fists pumped high in the air, people jumping and screaming along with the da da da da da’s and the brrrrrrrrrrrrrr dwam base HIT IT.
The lights pumped at each beat, bringing dark faces into bright momentary glimpses of altered white sunlight, illuminating the crowd as it cheered for the man with the mac computer and turntables. I always thought that the drugs made me trip out on the light show, and while it certainly enhanced the experience, without drugs felt just as intoxicated. It made the music complete.
And then the people. Pumping. Bodies full of drugs and covered in sweat. Equilibriums offset by massive doses, or tee many martoonis. Women in high heels stumbled left while men with drenched shirts caught them right. Girls screamed and kissed, and this one guy kept holding his drink in the air as he pumped his fist, his fist held over my head, and at one point I turned around and told him to back the fuck off because he’s spilling his drink all over me. Realizing he is too full of whatever he is on, I moved behind him, and wished I had something to spill on him. I didn’t. So I danced. I watched Calvin and danced. I watched the couples grasping on for dear life to the bars surrounding the stage, swaying to a beat that doesn’t exist, probably not even in their minds, and I danced to the one pumping through the sound system. I watched girls fall over while screaming about how fucked up they are, and I kept dancing. I felt the rise and fall of the crowd, felt the drugs take hold at certain points in the evening, and felt as they wore off later in the morning. I felt the energy of the crowd, and it was pretty fucked up. But I kept dancing, till my entire body hurt. Then I went pee.
In the ladies room, garish lights revealed just how fucked up the ladies of Vanguard actually are. Make-up melted, faces smeared with blush and mascara, pupils so wide I felt sucked into the black voids that became their eyeballs. Girls washing their hands for quite a bit longer than actually necessary. Women simply staring at their reflections, as if they had never seen themselves before. And I understand. And I understood.
This was me. This time last year another girl could have found me in a club bathroom washing my hands for ten minutes giggling. Could have found me falling over on the dance floor. Could have found me hunting desperately for my next hit. Could have found me kissing random strangers just to feel close to someone. To feel loved.
Tonight I felt loved, and perhaps it was simply because I have started loving myself. Tonight, I am truly grateful to be going to sleep sober….and absolutely exhausted.