December 20, 2013

Peta Petidis

Young. Wild. Free. Three vivid words which are often associated with the cohort of youth. We are identified as a group of free spirits and dare devils who constantly breathe in the-not so- clean air of adventure and excitement. Teenagers are seen as invincible within and by our society. But is it really that easy to adapt and jump straight into the ever spiralling world of teenage fun when you are in a constant battle with yourself?  Ethics and abilities are tested daily as we compare ourselves to what others are doing. You may not be strong, happy, confident, or brave enough in the scenario of a raving party, but perhaps the assistance of an alcoholic beverage can ease the transition. And so within our young lives today, many of us immerse ourselves in the drink of fun, the drug of alcohol- which involves a high concentration of ‘letting loose’ and ‘just go with it’ insolences-helps us. Now we feel invincible.

The world of youth is structured by the social ladder. The popular kids rein with glory over those more introverted or unwilling to immerse themselves in danger or new experiences. Now when I say popular, I mean the kids more engulfed in the youthful world. They aren’t evil, and a lot of the time they aren’t even controlling or stereotypical bullies, they just possess the tricks of the trade.

Those tricks being the trait of confidence and high standard social skills which they express ever so effortlessly with a tongue doing backflips of super awesomeness. They know how to talk, how to live, and how to party. Often association with such social butterflies is dreaded, but all you have to do is yield the trait of confidence, right?

Within our teenage universe, fitting in is a big deal. Of course there are the undefined hipsters who go on with their lives in their own stride of solitude and ‘coolness,’ but deep down most of us just want to be accepted by one another in an integrated state of togetherness – we want to belong. And what better way to do that than to embody the same social expertise as the popular crew?

Although today, the quality of confidence is not easily adopted. We are engrossed with a population of sympathy, feelings, Tumblr, emos and trendy outcasts who don’t always shine with an aura of self-righteousness. Though the internet has engulfed us in a cyber-world of greatness, technology has stolen our skills of personality. It is way too easy to seem cool over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. With the help of a few emoticons you’re on your way to world domination. But what happens when we have to live in the real world and all of our social skills are lost or non-existent? Well I’ll tell ya! A lot of us will drink some liquid courage in the form of alcohol – legal or not, in the hopes of momentously gaining a surge of confidence.

We drink down our sorrows, our fears and our stress with the aspiration of belonging and having a bloody good night. However, the eager for life, yolo-ing troop of youth always seem to live within the moment rather than occupy the before, now and after, of every situation. Am I hashtag right?

We feel triumphant glory take over our bodies as we look over ourselves from a faraway place after just a few chugs. Look at how much fun we’re having! And then *poof* the clock strikes sometime after midnight and your Cinderella façade seems to wear off and then you are left with a prince charming who turns out to be more of a frog than anything, tattered clothing, cuts and bruises, and the remnants of a pumpkin churning in your stomach making its way up to your oesophagus when … whoops, pumpkin soup with a few specks of bacon goes plop. And now you not only lack the social skills, you have vomit in your hair.

Of course later in our lives the cruisey cruiser and the sneaky Smirnoff will become our friends, but until our bodies can sensibly accommodate our thirst we should resist drowning our self-consciousness with a burden and rather excel in the world surrounded by people we feel most comfortable with whilst sober. If you must know, most of us don’t actually envy those getting wasted. We’re jealous of the people at the party who depend on their own ability to make friends and socialise, the ones without the drink in their hand, the ones who don’t smell like a rat doused in vodka.

I’m sure we’re all too proud to admit it, but we’ve all been there. Many of us rely too gravely on the aid of alcohol to assure us with a good night. Now we look back and see that the price of belonging is greater than simply understanding ourselves internally and moving forward without the need for a drink. However it is not always the case. A stupendous amount of youth today take it within their stride to ignore the calling of alcoholic beverages, they rely solely on themselves and good company to have a great night. It’s not always easy to talk to people you don’t really know at a raving gath or hectic partay, and it isn’t always fun. We’re knocked down again and again with blocks of awkwardness but we must take these mistakes in stride. After all, ‘practice makes perfect’ and alcohol makes you vomit. Don’t cut experience of life to forever live with the smell of the latter.

– Peta Petidis

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