My body is soaked in a luxurious orange blossom infused bubble bath. I’m in a a tranquil setting as my anxiety my body dysmorphia is alleviated as i soak my scrawny body in the bath as Lana del Rey plays on my Bluetooth speakers. I’m getting ready for another exultant night out with my university cohorts. Washing away all the filth and scum from my body as i lay in my bath with the bubbles that obscure my unappealing flat chested body. Waves of excitement and nervous anticipation echo on the tiled walls of my bathroom. There’s a smorgasbord of shower gel bath salts bubble bath perfume moisturiser on the far end by the taps. I’m the first inside the bath having firsts dibs my housemates with whom I’m going out tonight are impatiently awaiting me to vacate the bath. My long cascading unkempt brunettes hair flows in the bath water. Now I’m revitalised as I wash rinse my hair now I’m ready for the final ordeal of washing my face and brushing my gnarled teeth in the mirror. Out of the bath in my luxurious crimson dressing gown I tentatively peer into the mirror the horror of my face the ugliness that’s revealed. My pernicious body dysmorphia is most prevalent when i see my reflection. I look away as the brushing of the teeth commences as i vigorously cleanse my unsightly gnashers. Dare not glimpse my ghastly countenance in the mirror as i apply my facial cleanse and eventually to my porcelain face. I hear a robust knocking at the door i voice bellows out “ how long are you going to be”
I respond “ ill be out in a few minutes”
“ Okay then hurry up” it’s Ella my housemate the extrovert blond the life of the party wanting to occupy the bathroom facilities before i expeditiously leave. I saunter outside with my hair needing to be dried before the night out. I catch Ellas sparkling brown eyes its all yours I declare. Getting the wooden floor wet with the residue from my hair dripping on the floor.
My body tingling with excitement moves inside my eccentrically decorated gothic bedroom. The room is illuminated by my chrome floor lamp there’s an array of art posters literary and musical idols that adorn the walls. Posters of Sylvia Plath joy division virginia Woolf and a art print of starry night which hangs directly above my bed. On my Chester draws there is a permeant shrine to my deceased mother with pictures from my childhood her suicide note and poems i composed which eulogised my dead mum. I sit with waves of anxiety pulsating in my veins. Reaching underneath my bed and take hold of a prerolled splith and light it enthusiastically . Take a deep breathe inhaling the psychoactive cannabis into my lungs and exhale. The cannabis takes immediate effect changing my mood from slightly anxious at a evening of intense social interaction into a serene spaced out state of being. This part of my pre night out routine getting high on weed surreptitiously in the privacy of my room to assuage my social anxiety to avert the likelihood of a panic attack. The weed hits my emaciated body relaxes me takes me to a higher plain of consciousness all the pain the dread the body dysmorphia evaporates in the ensuing minutes after i voraciously devour the splith. I’m sitting on the edge fully stoned with my wet hair in my dressing gown hands tapping incessantly against my palms my right leg is tapping uncontrollably. Despite the inhalation of cannabis my body is ravaged with angst. I have to though get ready for the evening’s festivities.
Firstly i dry and straighter my bedraggled hair ironing out all the cracks split ends. It’s part of the rigmarole the ritual then after there’s the arduous endeavour of applying my war paint to my hideous face. I have adopted the habit of applying a excess of makeup in order to mask my glaring physical imperfections . Hence i apply a deluge of white foundationer to give my skin a gothic porcelain hue. Then the luscious rouge lipstick is painted on my cracked dry listless lips. The emerald green mascara is deftly applied. All the while I’m painting my face with my feminine war paint to hide all my glaring facial foibles. I’m high as a kite floating on air now i examine my mask in my tiny makeup mirror that only reflective item that’s allowed in my bedroom. For at least a minute i scrutinise my visage the foundation the seductive glamorous lipstick and enchanting mascara creates a presentable appearance. I’m almost shocked how I appear I’m reasonably satisfied with how my countenance transpires in the mirror. Now its the onerous task of picking out a suitable dress for a Friday night of rambunctious excessive drinking. I want a dress that will accentuate my body mainly my face I’m not confident of my stick like figure my flat chest. Picking out a demure black maxi dress that hides my petite curves but focuses the attention to my luscious lipstick. With aplomb i place the modest dress on my body i like the way it hides my scars wont feel too self conscious tonight. I place my high heeled shoe boots which complement my maxi dress now I’m physically ready to leave my sanctuary and join my assortment of friends congregating downstairs. It’s been nearly an hour since i left my bath in that time Ella and Aisha has taken long luxurious baths cleansing their bodies. Listening in the past hour to Chopin to soothe my nerves the majestic ethereal melancholic piano music is the perfect prelude to a evening of socialising. Outside my enclave I hear the distant voices of drunken laughter and convivial conversation. I want to take part I’m taken far too long getting emotional and physical prepared for a night out.
I’m ready too get drunk as my stoned body with the clank clank of my boots proceeds downstairs where my housemates Aisha and Ella are socialising with my other university chums Charlotte and Evelyn. With every incremental footstep i take a rumbling tumult goes off in my stomach. Down those wooden stairs making a mighty racket in my high heels. I enter the living room quarters where the tv is off the music is blaring out playing ellas carefully curated playlist music such as Billie Eilish Lorde and Lana del Rey reverberated in the think walls of our house. On the stained glass coffee table was a array of spirits decked out waiting to be drunk. The room was dimly light with only the organ floor lamp illuminating the living room. With relish i poured a glass of chilled white wine from the table. Ella was standing beside in her revealing red dress with me dancing to the music with a glass of rum in coke her first drink of the evening. The air is thick with the perfume of adolescent excitement my mind racing at a million miles a second. I’m still stoned from the potent cannabis splith i smoked earlier. I see patterns on the walls my hands my fingers felt numb i felt like a butterfly floating on air no paranoia no disquietude just a happy tranquil sensation. Knocking back the delectable white wine no sipping or savouring the flavour gulping it down my gullet. I’m dancing with Ella as we are getting in the mood for a evening of dancing and drunkenness. Aisha is sitting down beside Evelyn Aisha looking resplendent wearing her flowery monochrome dress that will attract female suitors. Whilst Evelyn is decked out in black black shirt and jeans with her cascading voluminous red hair flowing down her back. I’m certain with her porcelain complexion and her ravishing red lips. Charlotte my university compadres was lounging on the wooden bespoke rocking chair sipping a glass of red wine. My eyes glazed with the intoxicating sensation of the alcohol the cannabis and the enticing evening that lay before us. Dancing with Ella in our finest evening garments like a pair of exuberant children. I tried to hide my nerves suppressing the fear padlocked inside my neurotic mind.
Me and Ella ceased dancing like hyperactive children and sit down beside Aisha and Evelyn. “ Is everyone looking forward to going out tonight” Ella ebulliently bellowed exclaimed attempting to be heard over the thunderous music. We all in unison agree with myself twitching and fidgeting as the cannabis is inducing a paranoid feeling. “ when is the taxi arriving” i enquire in “ in 10 minutes hopefully” Aisha calmly answers. My body is tingling with anticipation at a night of excessive drinking dancing and finding a lover. I look around at the assemblage of friends who will be accompanying me on the cobbled streets of Cambridge with envies eyes such a display of beauty that’s on display a beauty I’ll never possess.
Through the cacophony of noise in our student house there’s the distant echo of the taxi horn. That must be the taxi Ella says point out the obvious she rushes in her red dress and her high heels for the taxi like a child chasing a ice cream van. We casually follow her I’m the last one to exit making sure the house is securely locked. My hands trembling my lips quiver from the chill of the evening and the tantalising possibility of the night of copious drinking and fraternising with alluring young men. I sit scrunched up next the window in the taxi as the laconic driver transports us into the centre of town. I disengage from the effusive conversations preferring to fixate on the kaleidoscope of images of Cambridge in the chill of December. The psychedelic colours of winter wonderland in majestic display we drive past houses with flashing lights that take on a cosmic meaning with my stoned eyes. We enter the centre of town the neon lights flashing at me taking me higher with their beauty. We arrive at our destination in the epicentre of town on a chilly Friday night with the old streets coated in a sheet of slippery ice. Aisha pays the driver the charge I’m first wanting to stretch my legs its a clear night. In my curious manner i gaze in awe at a the skyline in full awe inspiring display with the flickering stars from distant dying planets of the cosmos. My eyes beguiled by the full majesty of the cosmos with the black void of space interspersed with tiny glinting specks of light. For a minute i gaze intensely at the ravishing night sky unaware of my peculiar behaviour. “What are you doing” charlotte enquires “just admiring the night sky” i reply assuaging charlottes worries about my behaviour.
Now I’m drowning in a tsunami of unease as our tribe of university chums walk in unison to the first nightclub of the evening. It’s 9:00pm I’m only slightly drunk the hallucinogenic cannabis has almost worn off. I’m like a ravenous beast desperate for the sweet nectar of alcohol to satiate my appetite to numb my terror of the intensely uncomfortable social situation I’m plunging into. We queue outside the revolution club as we will wet our salivating tongues. We queue shivering in the freezing December night I’m riddled with worry at my dress seeing all these derisive eyes on me being repulsed by my body bereft of personality. My body shacks and rattles I discussed my idiosyncratic body quirks the incessant tapping the shacking the scratching with the glacial temperature. Still the nerves pulsate i take shorter breathes my heart is thumping thumping as i wait to enter the nightclub pit with the drinking the flirting the gyrating of our bodies in a sexual mating ritual.
Entering revolution with the dance beat vibrates reverberates in the dimly lit club. My mouth dry my heart racing as i survey the crowd the luscious creatures who have congregated to socialise to exhibit themselves to forget about their worries. We march to the bar which is heaving with customers desperate for a cocktail for spirits. I pen down my dysmorphia i think is anybody here encumbered with crippling social phobia or am i the only fucked up student needing the drink to anaesthetise my terror. I in my ardency to wet my lips with alcohol volunteer to pay for the first round of cocktails. I order a tray of colourful flavourful shot drinks as long with a 5 cocktails for the gang to imbibe. It takes a eternity to be served by the barmaid i blame it on my hideous face but eventually I order 5 cosmos and a tray of shots. As i carry the order back Ella helps me safety transport the order back to our table. The music of Robyn plays in the club as we gulp down a highly potent mysterious shot drink that sends me spinning. There’s a light delicious buzz from the shot glass now i have my rum and coke cocktail to devour. Ella Evelyn charlotte and Aisha drink with the same adolescents reckless abandon as i wanting to get drunk after a laborious week of study and work. Now we can enjoy ourselves in the heart of the city surrounded by charismatic twenty somethings with a lust for life. We can barely hear ourselves speak as the cacophony of noise from the speakers. All we do is sit making small talk remarking on various beguiling creatures that populate the bar. “ HAVE YOU SEEN THE GORGEOUS MEN IN HERE” Ella screams into my ear with her manner of speaking loudly whilst drunk and her lips wet with desire. Ella with her ravishing blond hair and red dress approaches a young men in a audacious act whilst sat in the safety of my university chums terrified of rejection. I sat conversing with Aisha as she remarked on the attractive women lurking around the establishment. I see Aisha coming out of shell of reserve as the alcohol loosens her inhibitions. I play along with her game whilst on the inside my heart races the thump continues with the surge of electricity oscillating round my veins. The tantalising possibility of sex of finding a lover is making me sweat. My loins are on fire my nerves aren’t dissipating. I sit with my friends engaging in witty conversations frozen stiff unable to break the ice with these heavenly creatures. Charlotte my melancholic newly made friends offers to pay for another round of drinks. This time its a selection of cocktails I have the Cuba libre a pretentious way of saying rum and coke. I let the liquor enter my body relaxing me nullifying the terror of prolonged social interaction.
We drink watching Ella flirting with a admirer we remain ensconced in our table lost in our conversations not having the gumption to venture outside the enclave of our tribe. It’s by now been an hour Ella has returned we’ve drank several drinks Ella says “ Are you ready to move on I’m bored we need to relocate to a more boisterous nightclub”
“Yes of course I want to dance there’s no dance floor in here” said Evelyn
We forthwith saunter onwards to a more lively nightclub where conversations is impossible where dancing is encouraged almost mandated. I’m drunk having devoured a cornucopia of shots and cocktails. As he leave the revolution bar I’m floating on air but swaying as walk. I’m off with the fairies lost in the beauty of the night lost to the seduction of the drink. Still i am insatiable requiring more liquor to temp down the fear of a attack having my condition be exposed to my intimate circle of cohorts. We stride along linking arms singing the music of Lana del Rey projecting a jaunty ambience to onlookers. We arrive at the next establishment vinyl a trendy nightclub in the centre of town with a large dance floor. Despite our rambunctious inebriated behaviour we exhibit we are allowed in the club i assume because there are 4 iridescent women and myself a homely student who would illuminate the congested trendy student bar populated by students by effervescent party animals. I enter with a disquiet in my bones i hide with my demure persona i follow Evelyn to the bar her lustrous cascading red hair immediately attracts the attention of potential suitors. I go on unnoticed I’m a ghost not body is enticed by my emaciated body. We purchase more highly potent cocktails my vision blurred from the abundance of alcohol I’ve devoured. The vinyl nightclub is a kaleidoscopic vision with a intense array of colours strewn on the dancefloor. With my whisky and coke in one hand I’m beckoned to the dance pit where drunken adolescent bodies are gyrating to the hypnotic beat. My paranoia escalates for a moment even in the apex of my inebriated ecstasy but it subsides as I gulp down my recently purchased cocktail. Then i find myself in the epicentre of the dance pit sheltered by my special circle of friends who will shower me with affection. Charlotte was even smiling Evelyn looking like a Irish goddess and Ella a vision of feminine perfection in her seductive red dress. In this moment i felt this wave of joy in my veins I felt like a human being instead of a unlovable freak.
Hours pass as we sway to the pop songs to the dance music sweating feeling the exuberance forgetting all my personality foibles as I’m lost in the nirvana of being intoxicated. On the pink and blue dance pit i am alive in blissed out states i admire the polychromatic abstract artwork displayed on the walls of this place where young people go to dance in ritualistic acts of joy and sexual liberation. We are drunk sweaty immersed in hedonistic pleasures i don’t want this to end. To think all the dread that preceded this evening all the agita I experienced that left my fragile mind worried stiff at the mere possibility of a harrowing panic attack. Look at me now lusting for life engrossed in a throng of luscious young toned males who gaze at me with lascivious eyes. There was one man a unknown angel of the night who took a fancy to me despite my ghastly visage. In the dimly lit nightclub with the lurid colours dazzling us with the alcohol i lost all that self loathing and danced passionately with this man with ocean blue eyes and lustrous brunette hair. We danced as I abandoned all my characteristic self consciousness and became this extrovert exuding life. Near the closing time we kissed on the last song in the wee hours of the morning pure electricity raced through my body kissing this unknown beguiling creature. We are exchanged phone numbers as we made firm decisions to reconvene our romance in a actual date.
The night is coming to a close as myself Ella Charlotte and Evelyn languidly walked home as the frost nearly broke our stride on several occasions. The ice had no effect on me with my thin dress and my heels. “ wow would you look at the majestic skyline” i remarked “ Aria you’re so weird and funny when you’re drunk’ said Ella linking my arm trying to prevent a calamitous fall. “ who was that man you were getting off with” said Evelyn
I replied “he said he was Chris I want to meet him again didn’t want to go to his house and have sex I’m too drunk’
“Very prudent” said Charlotte
The stars were blazing the vacuum of space the vast endless spectacle of the cosmos and the giant moon left me in awe. My mouth agape as i stared in the sky trying diligently to walk with a modicum of grace.
“ aria you’re always staring in wonder at the stars off with the fairies” said Ella with a simpering smile
“ yeah i think there beautiful almost been transfixed by the wonders the beauty of the cosmos” said i
We walked linking arm in arm not having enough money for a taxi hence the journey home was arduous one in the chill of winter in our heels. Reaching our destination with our bodies impervious to the artic temperatures due in part to our plastered bodies barely able to walk in a linear direction. Reaching the sanctuary of student house
“ Charlotte are you staying tonight” Aisha yelled out
“ Yeah can i”
“Of course you can” said Ella
We entered our rented domicile “ home at last” i hollered
I collapsed onto the floor in a paralysed state. Ella and Aisha in there kindness carried me upstairs to my room.
“Do you have the key to your room aria” said Aisha
“Yeah its in my pocket you can leave me here i can make i to my bed” Now being petrified of even my closet companions from entering the privacy of my room.
“ are you sure” Ella spoke softly
“yeah I’m fine i can walk to my room”
Aisha and Ella both kissed me on my forehead giving me fervid hugs goodnight. A warm glow came over me as i meandered drunkenly to my room and bed. Collapsing on my bed with my dress on, on top of my black duvet. Waves of bliss rained on me i was inordinately glad to have participate in such a sumptuous night of drunken adolescent abandon. A night devoid of anxiety apart from the beginning when butterflies and knots in my stomach were threatening to ruin my night with my university sisters. I drifted in a black out into prolonged unconsciousness in my sweaty creased dress not to wake until the midday with a abominable hangover.