Millennials, Me, Alcohol and a Good Time

 

The journey of a thousand words begins with the one. Feels good to start.

* I have been making a promise to myself, to write 1000 words a day for the longest time. Monday 3rd October 2016, I started keeping this promise to me. Hence that intro…
P.S. Worry not, you guys shall not be privy to every day’s 1000+ words. *

I have been partying a lot lately. I need to stop. I have officially stopped…for now. Do people ever feel this way? As though their lives are to some extent just full of frivolities?
This past weekend, on Saturday, I was at a friends graduation party, Wanjiru’s. I keep thinking of something her mum said at the party, that this generation seems to be drinking much much more than other generations at this age. True! So true!
Given that as I listened to this I was recovering from a hangover and would be leaving the grad party to head back to more binge drinking and partying, she knows us spot on, doesn’t she?

I feel like I need to redefine my relationship with alcohol. I really do.

Alcohol is a crutch for me. A bridge to a funner more relaxed Kathleen. I keep telling people I have an alter ego. She comes forth when I am drunk. Drunk Kathleen, how I wish I could meet her. I have heard a lot about her from my friends. Whenever I wake up with blank spaces in my memory, I know drunk Kathleen was out to play. I wonder if perhaps I should officially name her, to avoid having to type ‘Drunk Kathleen’ every time I want to refer to her.

From now henceforth, I dub thee Drunk Kathleen, Ivy. Yes, that shall suffice. Ivy.

When I hear about Drunk Kathleen, now Ivy, accounts of her are always very animated. The recollections of her thoughts, words, actions, always have people laughing, happy, entertained. People will recount all these things and wonder how in the world I do not remember. It is like going on an amazing adventure with someone who you just clicked with in an amazing way, and then the next day they have no recollection of it. They do not even know you, yet you remember them being very lucid through it all!There is always a tinge of disappointment when they realise that Ivy is not Kathleen and Kathleen is not Ivy. Although, I wonder how true this statement is, I am after all the same person, am I not? I have to admit though, that disappointment always has me wishing I could be more like Ivy.

Kathleen is reserved. Naturally somewhat silent. An introvert. An observer. A watcher. My innate instinct is to stay under the radar. This changes when I am more comfortable around people, individuals and groups, as well as environments.

Ivy on the other hand has no qualms about approaching people. She sees everyone as her friend. Even strangers are friends she just has not met yet. She is not crippled by 5000 thoughts about what people will make of her, of her actions, as Kathleen is. How do I know this about Ivy? As Kathleen I have learnt to check my call logs after a night out, as soon as I realise Ivy was the one out and about. There will likely be new numbers saved and messages flowing in the next couple of days from people I met. Ivy needs to stop giving out my number to the whole world!

Sometimes I wish I was Ivy. That Kathleen could be a bit more like Ivy. This is my relationship with alcohol. Wanting to get out of my head, out of myself, out of the shackles afforded to my mind and just be me. Unadulterated. Unbound. Unreserved. Happy. Free. Real. Not the restrained version I feel Kathleen is. Ivy. I want to be Ivy.

Is this flawed? That I go to alcohol to be someone else? That I need alcohol to be someone else? Do I have a mental disorder? Do you feel sorry for me? Am I more disturbed than most? Or am I normal? Is this natural? Are these just introvert thoughts and tendencies…me over-thinking things? Do other introverts ever find themselves using alcohol as a crutch in social situations? Does it then go beyond that and they convince themselves that alcohol is what they need to have a good time so they throw themselves at it unrestrained?

There is something else on my mind with regards to alcohol…back to what Wanjiru’s mother said, we really do over-indulge, don’t we? We as young people. Is this a measure of what we value? A good time. Getting ‘turnt’. We admire the people that can take the most shots and puking is frowned upon, an undesirable show of weakness. Those that can hold their liquor and can survive the night are the champions. Extra points if you can consume all that alcohol and wake up the next morning still fine and dandy, no hangover, with possibly the energy to dare suggest that it be done all over again, the drinking in search of a good time, in search of memories, but not just memories, epic memories.

At Earthdance, I bumped into a friend of mine who was…damaged! It was a few minutes after I had arrived and I was thus still relatively fresh but he had been at it, the drinking and partying, for quite some time so he was out of it. Very out of it. I was excited to see him and went to say hi. We attempted to have a conversation, I did anyway, but I quickly picked up on the fact that his cognitive abilities were way off. Barely functional at that point. So our barely a conversation dragged on a bit, him staggering back and forth, showing me the people he was with, reaching for his bottle and urging me to chug some of his drink, me worrying about leaving him in this state and eventually being dragged off by the people I had come with because that was turning into a situation that you hope someone will drag you away from. That aside, how telling is it that after pleasantries, the first thing he said to me was…”Here, chug my drink!”

Does our generation stand a chance? We are drinking away our productivity, our focus, our time. We are chasing a good time, convincing ourselves we deserve it. Settling for the average in our life because we want to make room for these frivolities. We spend so much money on tickets to these events, on drugs, drugs and more drugs, on alcohol. On Ubers. For what? To get higher and higher. To get some reprieve from our lives. To fill up our Instagram feeds or Snapchat stories. To be able to say we were there.

* On the point of Ubers, these are a life saver! I had the most interesting convo with my Uber driver on the way to Earthdance, he reckons road accidents in Nairobi over the weekends have reduced considerably because, well, Uber! Less people drunk driving from an unwinding session at their Local. *

We convince ourselves these memories are important, personally I almost always never remember, that is how I know Ivy was about. Just flashes of recollections. Blurry pictures perhaps. Waking up the next day and wondering how you got home. Looking around your room, counting yourself lucky if you made it home, if you did not, trying to figure out where in the world you are, who you are with, did you do anything compromising, do you have all your property with you, did you lose something, did your friends get home okay, and then the flighty recollections of the time that you had and the fun of trying, along with your friends, to piece and narrate the craziness of the night, before the routine of daily life sets back in.

Here’s to more creative pass-times and successfully journeying to my first 1000 words! (1383 to be exact)

Cheers!

P.S. So…Earthdance next year is a plan?

Heh heh!
I am on a partying go-slow though. Let me live up to the first part of that “Work Hard, Play Hard” mantra for a bit.

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3 Comments

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  1. 1
    Njeri Kieha

    “Is this flawed? That I go to alcohol to be someone else? That I need alcohol to be someone else? Do I have a mental disorder? Do you feel sorry for me? Am I more disturbed than most? Or am I normal? Is this natural? Are these just introvert thoughts and tendencies…me over-thinking things? Do other introverts ever find themselves using alcohol as a crutch in social situations? Does it then go beyond that and they convince themselves that alcohol is what they need to have a good time so they throw themselves at it unrestrained?”

    Story of my life.

    Ditto to that partying go-slow.

  2. 3
    Yvette Jakom

    I totally agree, worse still is when you start working after graduating, suddenly you dont have the same freedom to turn up like you did in uni days, and so you settle for 1 drink a day, all you look forward to after your 9 to 5, is that drink that’s just going to make the days better to handle, that’s going to make the days pass by quicker. Life…

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