I wrote this after an emotional breakdown friday. I'm really happy with it.
Today was the original deadline for me to complete this thesis. I still have editing, and need to make some sort of substantial conclusion. I'm scared to finish the conclusion. Scared to turn in a complete and finished senior sociology thesis. Scared to stand up and say “hey, this is what it means to rave,” because really, is this what it means? Are raves defined as social spaces to perform and create multiple identities, and alternate communities? Or is it just what myself and other 'ravers' I have spoken with interpret them as?
In high school, my eleventh grade honors literature and creative writing teacher emphasized ideas of Descartes, “We live in a world that has been imagined. A world that has been imagined for us.” At raves, we escape social constraints that limit us to exist within a world that has been imagined for us. We actively imagine and construct an alternate world. And for that evening, or weekend, or six months, we are a part of an alternate community. A community that shares similar notions, similar feelings, similar beliefs that we can truly be whoever we want to be.
But at some point we have to return to 'real life,' the world that has been imagined for us. And when you don't return once the rave is over, it can be detrimental. I, as well as many ravers I spoke with, recall vividly just how seriously problematic this was to our health and our relationships. It's painful to look back and remember how much I couldn't care about 'real life' because in 'fake life' people loved me. People cared about me. Even if it 'was just the ecstasy,' it was the closest I had ever felt to freely opening up and embracing love and community. Except there were people in 'real life' who did love...
We just hadn't found the way to step outside those boundaries and communicate it. We hadn't found a way to move past out histories, past our differences, and past our fear of re-defining ourselves and our relationships. Looking back it makes me sad to remember that raves were the only space I felt that I could escape these barriers. Because once I stepped out of 'fake life' and consciously chose to re-imagine my relationships to others and to myself, boundaries became more malleable. I began to experience love and community.
For all those people in 'real life' I left behind, I'm sorry.
I hope through this thesis, through these stories from many different voices, you can begin to see exactly why we dance to forget real life.