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Madness

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At first, I was more than a little skeptical. I’d heard about these “raves” where people go crazy, and things get out of hand. Nobody is themselves, and drugs are shared as if it were candy. So I’m not quite sure why I agreed so easily. Large crowds of wild people just didn’t seem like my thing. Maybe it was because it felt good to break all the rules for once, even my own. My mom didn’t know I was going. I was underage, sneaking out just to sneak in. I didn’t know being so bad could feel so good.
I sat in my room and watched the clock for hours, just waiting. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I spent most of that afternoon searching “Youtube” for videos about raves and rave culture. To me it just looked like one big mess of color. I thought “I’ll go blind with all those lights flashing in my eyes!” People were wearing ridiculous clothing (barely any clothing at all really), and they all appeared to be wearing heaps of colored bracelets. I thought this looked interesting to me, so I looked it up. I found out that these bracelets were called “Kandi” and that they are traded at raves.
Finally, I heard the knock on my window to signal that everything was a go. I gathered my few things, cell phone, ipod, and slipped out the window into the warm summer night.
It was like running head first into a brick wall. As soon as I entered the stadium-like venue, all my senses lit up at once. The smell of sweat hung thick and heavy in the air. The music, loud enough to vibrate the mass of bodies, meshing together as the lights spill over their scarcely clothed physiques. There were flashes of light and color everywhere. With the blood rushing to my head, and my heart pounding in my chest, I could hardly hear him say “Are you coming?”
I took a deep breath as I ventured my first step into the abyss of people. At first, I felt like I had broken treaty on foreign grounds. I was an outsider, infiltrating sacred grounds, and I was sure everyone knew it. I instinctively turned to run scared, but was stopped by a wave of disappointment. “How cowardly would it be for me to run?”, I thought. Part of being human is experiencing not only the good that the world has to offer, but the bad as well. I would never know if I didn’t stick it through, and reflecting now, I’m glad I did.
As I soothed myself back into the crowd, I was yanked promptly toward the center of the chaos. I was terrified all over again, but this time was different. I was scared yes, but I was equally driven by that fear in way that it was almost thrilling. I was not only willing to except what came next, but ready to welcome it with open arms. I was shaken out of my trance as I squeezed passed colorful, glowing masses. I then realized I was completely enveloped by bodies. Lights danced everywhere as flesh met flesh and music bounced in our ears and shook us to the very core. People weren’t dancing, so much as they were melding their souls together, losing themselves in the madness. It didn’t take long for me to join in, and I’d never felt more alive. The people were going crazy! In one section, a group of boys (wearing pants much too big for them) were breaking apart glow sticks and splattering the luminescent liquid onto the sparsely clothed girls lingering beside them. In another part, I noticed several people crowding around a stout looking boy with lights on his fingertips. He was moving his hands so fast and fluidly, I thought I would never be able to look away. My eyes darted all over, I was completely awe-struck.
I didn’t understand how I could fit so easily into this pandemonium. From afar, it all seemed so crazy, unreasonable. I felt like I had accomplished something big, even if it was small. Like I had cracked the secret code, and I was in. It was amazing how quick it was to assimilate into this vastness of sheer expression. You don’t have to worry about everyone around you, only you, and the music. It’s like in that instant, your mind sets you free, unleashing that small part of you screaming for acceptance. An unspoken welcoming fills the few spaces left uninhabited.
I danced until my legs felt numb, and my feet felt raw. I would have danced forever if my trembling legs allowed it. However, I had to tear myself away from the mass in order to refuel my weary exterior. As the crowd spat me out, I set off in search of water. I was starting to realize just how parched I was, but wasn’t too hasty as to take the first liquid offered up. I recalled the precautions I swore to take before I arrived; Never accept an uncovered drink or one that is otherwise suspicious. I wandered back to the entrance to scout out any body that wasn’t in motion, when I spotted a girl with arms covered entirely in heaps of beads and bands of all sorts. I was hesitant at first, but was relieved to see that she was talking with one of the people I had arrived with. When I reached them at last, I was greeted with warm smiles. “Do you know where I can get some water?” I asked, trying to shout over the deafening dubstep filling our ears. The girl looked at me for a moment before laughing. “Didn’t you come prepared?” she asked. I instantly felt stupid for asking, and I knew she could read it on my face. “Don’t worry,” she smiled again, “I have an extra bottle of water in my bag.” She reached into the tiny transparent bag slung over her shoulder, and retrieved a small unopened bottle of water, which I gratefully consumed immediately.
Once I had fulfilled my body’s rest requirements, I was back on my feet in no time. I couldn’t wait to reconnect to the chaotic wonderland before me.

I began to notice that there were fewer and fewer people. The remaining bunch seemed to spread out, detaching. I could tell it was coming to an end, but I didn’t want it to. I wasn’t ready to go back to everyday life, and face the outside world. I knew that eventually I would have to leave along with the rest of those I’d arrived with. I was beginning to feel my mood dwindle downwards, when a thought crossed my mind. I did something that I would have never even considered doing, before. I navigated uncharted territory and molded myself successfully to these people. I was instantly proud and began to laugh hysterically. If I could do something like this, what else could I do? I finally broke outside my comfort zone and now the possibilities were endless. I was changed; no longer the meek little girl I was before. As I was caught up in my own thrill, I noticed my party of people gathering their things to leave. I followed reluctantly but stopped right by the door. I took in the image before me, one last time. I thought of taking a picture, to always remember it by, but then I realized that this is a memory better left in my mind. A picture could never capture all that I had experienced, and witnessed. I had been apart of something bigger, better than I would have ever guessed.





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