Selling Out Versus Doubling Down

People thought it was going to be a phase. I figured it was a phase, too, but I’m not a woman of half measures so I put everything I had into it, phase or not. If I’m gonna do it, might as well do it right. Yet, here we are, six and a half years later, and I have to admit: this might not be a phase. This might just be who I am. Permanently.

I know that’s disheartening for some people to hear. I was supposed to “grow out of it” and become a real adult, but – what exactly is a real adult? Sure, I kinda get what they mean – I was supposed to grow tired of doing this, and after that, I was going to blossom into a more socially acceptable version of myself. Sorry, doesn’t look like that’s on the docket. I mean, I get it. Sure, this lifestyle is a bit break neck, it’s fairly exhausting, and it can be pretty physically taxing, too. The idea of living like this for another fifty years seems unmanageable and also highly possibly fatal. I’m sure that people want to see me buckle into a lifestyle of health food and exercise and moderation. They want to see me renounce my evil ways, or at least shrink away. Instead, I’ve found a way to maintain over the years, even if in some ways I’ve started to slowly taper off.

It’s an interesting trend that I’ve seen in my friend group, too, especially as we all hit thirty. I’ve noticed that some of us just can’t take it anymore. It’s thinning out my friend group. Some of us are finding a way out. Going straight. Settling down. I thumb through old photos from the party days and wonder, “Whatever happened to her? We used to twerk on stage at warehouse parties while lit on xanax and Ancient Age.” Some of my old drug dealer friends have already gone to rehab at least once. My fellow thotties now have real relationships and talk about things like babies and marriage and a future. Everyone I know who used to somewhat dom just waxes nostalgic on Instagram and also once a year at Folsom. On the other hand, some of my old drug dealer friends are way strung out, and some of my fellow thotties went all out into sex work, and some of those somewhat doms are now full blown drug sniffing art stars.

Suffice it to say: none of seem to be in the same place we used to be. How could we – there’s a difference between being 23 and wild versus in your thirties and still doing kid shit. People give up on their dreams for something stable and tangible like a job. Others – well, some people never really had that option. For some people, this is fucking life. It’s not a phase, and it’s not a joke.

Witnessing the schism in my social circle has been bittersweet. It’s like high school all over again – we all found ourselves in the same place, doing the same crazy shit for that brief period in time, and now we’ve fallen apart into god knows where. (Oof, especially with the gentrification of Oakland – I’m not going to see a lot of these people ever again.) Those of us who stay in the insanity – well, it’s probably aged us in a way that is less glamorous than what I’d like to admit to. (Mostly: dealing with the daily risk of addiction is quite a balance act to maintain, and I think a lot of people who stayed in the lifestyle aren’t maintaining.) And those who left – their skin will look good in fifteen years but their stories will be less interesting.

I couldn’t really tell you which path will offer you more redemption. All I know is: doing the same thing over and over again, year after year – it gets a little boring. I guess that’s why people check out – they’ve tried enough, and they are satisfied. But I haven’t give up my pursuit of cheap thrills, I’ve just leveled it up a bit. I’d like to think that the wild shit I’ll be doing into my 30’s will at least be hella classy and there will be a lot of gold leaf around all my impending memories. I am a bit concerned that maybe this will age my body in ways that I can’t yet foresee, but luckily I don’t smoke cigarettes so I think I’ll be okay.

Sure, I know this is an impossible task I’ve set up for myself: don’t ever give up on being wild, but also don’t get strung out or go broke doing it or let your looks fade. I’ve made it through this half of my life just fine, I’m sure another 15 years of this shit will be manageable, too.

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