Last night, I was shooting an event at Club Phoenix in London, Ontario. It was called Lovefest and was sponsored by Lifestyles Condoms. Lovefest was full of fresh, young things looking for...well...love, I guess. Twenty something girls paraded around in short skirts, glittery tops and stiletto heels, flaunting themselves for the hungry pack of twenty something boys. The air was filled with lust, the tables covered with condoms. As I surveyed the scene, I felt something somewhere between pity, anger and jealousy.
Pity because the girls had no idea how beautiful they were. They preened anxiously, careful with their hair and make-up, their desire for attention and validation obvious. The feminist in me was angry, as these women reduced themselves to pieces of meat to be looked at and judged. I wanted to scream at them, "Don't you girls know you are more than this?! Don't you know you are worth more than what you look like?!"
Around midnight, as the club filled to capacity, the DJ played Music Sounds Better With You by Stardust. The lights flashed, arms lifted, and ecstatic, the dancefloor began to pulse en masse. I was taken right back to The Guvernment circa 1998. I realized it was not so long ago, that I was one of them. One of these young women, searching, exploring and discovering what it meant to be a woman. I remember tripping over piles of snow, giddy and laughing, in platform sandals and a miniskirt. I remember flirting madly with just about anyone, because I could. I remember the feeling of anticipation for another Saturday night, the excitement of the unknown. I remember dancing till dawn and being totally free. It was one of the most liberating times of my life, but also one of the most difficult. Because I also remember the insecurity. The not knowing if I was good enough, a deep feeling of unease. I remember giving myself away for nothing.
I suppose it's easy to look backwards, armed with all those extra years of experience, and judge those that are younger. I scoffed internally, thinking "Ha! You think life is so simple and easy...that it's just a big party! You have no idea what's coming in the next 5 years. What a struggle life is. That you are mortal." But then I realized I was jealous. I wanted to be back there, to be carefree, to believe that nothing mattered beyond Saturday night.
Sadly I realized, that that time was forever lost to me. I could never go back. And it was bittersweet.