Life of the party

By Sofia Moraga/El Inde

I was such a good kid before meeting them all, my friends. I would go to class, come home, do my work, cook myself dinner, maybe watch Netflix and then fall asleep. Nothing ever happened to me. I didn’t have many friends and my life was pretty, well, boring. Safe, but boring.

That all changed, as most things do. My life was turned upside down very quickly and dramatically after I began working at the student paper in the spring semester of 2018. There I met people with lives, and they introduced me to their lives and their friends.

They were having a Halloween party that July — that in itself already told me I would be meeting some quirky people. It was a house show hosted by a man dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow and playing the part of the drunkard well. Until that moment, I didn’t even know what a “house show” was. Local bands were set up in the living room playing music while art from other artists hung on the walls.

It was fantastic. I was taken aback by the amount of people and exuberance that surrounded me. Everybody danced for the pure joy of feeling the music and letting it take control. It was in that moment that I was introduced to the Tucson youth art scene. I completely fell in love.

I felt alive for the first time. All of these new experiences and ways of life were being introduced to me and I was rolling with the punches and embracing it as my new way of life. I became consumed by the people, the art, the atmosphere and of course, the alcohol.

Never in my life had I drunk so much; my liver is probably still recovering. And it wasn’t just drinking. The further I embedded myself in the lifestyle, the more I got introduced to other things. I didn’t try everything, but I did try a lot and I know that I’m very lucky to not have gotten consumed by drugs. I do have friends that were.

Most nights I got back home completely trashed at around 3 a.m., or I didn’t get back at all. The next day I woke up as if nothing had happened, but I have the scars to prove it. Three-inch road rash scars on my leg and arm from when I drunkenly fell off my bike. One on my leg from a gash caused by clumsily rushing past exposed metal. Back then, it was rare to see me without a bruise from something stupid I’d tried the night before. 

It was a strange time. I could feel I was finally discovering myself, but at the same time, I was losing myself. I guess the time you realize who you are is also when you are most susceptible to other lifestyles, which evidently causes confusion. It confused me.

About half a year after running with this crowd of amazingly smart, artistic and chaotic people, I began documenting our gatherings. The following is a collection of photographs taken on my Minolta point-and-shoot from January 2019 to about March of 2020. It shows me at my worst, lost in a sea of alcohol, bad relationships and a lack of focus. But it also shows me at my best, during a time when I was being introduced to new ideas, new experiences and life-long friends. A time when I truly felt recklessly indestructible. 

This is my love letter to the people I met and especially those whom I will never forget.

Split in time

My portrait made while I was on a trip to Berlin. This trip was exactly a year after my party days began, and although the artist didn’t know anything about me, he captured my essence and inner mind perfectly.
Pascal at Fruit Night, an art show hosted by friends in February 2019 
Edward 40 hands
Late nights/Early mornings
Protect Yer Brainz
Mind in the clouds
Leika Kitamura, a performer at Superbloom May 25, 2019
Bubble gun
Performance art by Twillian at Fruit Night February 2019
The kids are alright
Local artists selling their art at the Mental Health show on Aug. 24, 2019
Tucson sunset before a night out
Three beers, one pocket, one Pedro
Chaotic King and Queen