The last time I was in Vegas I was 22. I came to celebrate my best friend’s birthday and she was fortunate enough to live in Vegas at the time. That was my first time in sin city and it was pretty uneventful. I spent it doing things only locals do. Eating at mom and pop taco spots off the strip, buying liquor from the grocery store, and hanging with UNLV students. I didn’t see what the “sin” in sin city was all about, besides me being kicked out of a nightclub for sitting in VIP because my feet hurt. So, while I had a great trip, I didn’t feel the need to return often or ever. Recently, I made a new friend and she extended an invite to visit one of her favorite cities, Las Vegas. This time I was staying on the strip in the midst of all the excitement. This time, sin city lived up to its name.
Las Vegas is really a one of a kind place. It can only be described as an adult playground. Strippers, prostitutes, gambling, and booze. Vegas proves to be a quick getaway for people across the country to blow off some steam. For me it concluded a summer of traveling that has ultimately helped me discover who I am and what I want out of life. Las Vegas provided me with the most clarity.
I started my vacation in true Jacqueline fashion, I missed my flight. Fortunately, flights to Vegas run from Seattle every two hours, so I was able to hop on the next one for an extra $25. I killed time in the airport by doing homework and was grateful to get a couple hours of sleep once I finally boarded my flight. I arrived in Vegas a little before 9pm, I took an Uber to the Luxor (the one hotel that’s shaped like a pyramid) and met up with the other half of my two person party. A new friend, who I was taking a big ass risk with by traveling with her. Traveling with people can either make you grow closer or hate each other, there’s a lot of factors at play. Luckily, I can say I was in great company.
Our first night we went to a nightclub where Diddy was the headliner, yes I said Diddy, as in Puff Daddy, as in Sean Combs. This was my first time in a nightclub in 5 years, and it showed. The first night I was overwhelmed by the stimuli, the crowds, the strobe lights, and the men on the prowl, it was all a little much. We were ready to go before Diddy ever hit the stage, but we did bump into him on our way out. We literally bumped into him and his security and even was greeted by the hype man turned Mogul as he gave his black wig a hair flip only the likes of Chris Crocker could appreciate.
Our second day we grabbed breakfast at Hash House a GoGo, the food was delicious, they had this huge tower of chicken and waffles that I just didn’t have the stomach space to try, but it looked amazing. After my friend took a break to recover from an unexpected hangover, I spent my second afternoon roaming through the casino and gambling like a “granny” on the nickel and quarter slots. That night we hit up yet another nightclub. This time I tried to be in the spirits of dancing and having a good time. I danced with ONE guy, and by the time the night was over he was trying to convince me to join in on a threesome. This was where my first moment of clarity came from. This was not me, and not what I wanted, and what I had worked so hard to move away from. I wasn’t in Vegas to escape my life back home or be someone I’m not or used to be, I was there to have a good time and invest in a friendship.
Halloween day (Day 3) was spent walking the strip and eating essentially. While walking through one of the dozens of casinos, my eagle eyed companion spotted a guy that looked strangely like T.I., well it was, and while he declined to take photos he did shake my hand and give it a nice squeeze. This was quite literally the highlight of my trip. I don’t fangirl easily, but if you’re going to be in Vegas why not meet one of your favorite rappers. I’ve always thought T.I. is undeniably consistent in his music. That night we hit up Drais, my companions crashed someone’s VIP and I spent the night sitting down as opposed to the previous two nights where I was standing for hours on end. Funny story, even though I was sitting majority of the night, I still managed to rip one of my shoes. My favorite shoes at that, the pair I’ve had for 5 years, and the pair I said “I need a relationship as loyal as these shoes.” Only for them to fall apart in the club? I take that as a sign.
I learned that I’ve outgrown the traditional idea of “fun”. I don’t drink as much as I used to, I don’t enjoy crowds as much as I used to, I definitely did not rekindle a flame for the nightclub life, the most “fun” I had all weekend was getting to know my new homegirl and getting dressed up in my three costumes. I’m still relatively new to being single. And while it’s easy for lingering feelings of your past relationship to impede on the joys of partying I can safely say that wasn’t it for me. I’m ready to settle down, ready to build a home and a future with someone who sees the same beauty in meI see in myself, and that I can subsequently seetheir own inner light. If we are seeking light we have to walk in light. We have to take steps down the path of the road toward our goals and not those paths that lay parallel.
My friends and family tell me I’m way too hard on myself, that I can party and still fall into the lifestyle I’m aiming for, and while I smile and nod at their encouragement, I know what they’re saying isn’t true. Molding the life you want takes strategy, it requires effort and at the very least some sense of direction. Vegas was a good time but not in line with my long term goals. I don’t regret going, I got some great pictures of the strip. Met some awesome ladies, and was even able to dead some of this resentment I had been holding toward a total stranger (don’t ask). I came out of this trip with a clearer perception of myself, the clearest to date. Coupled with my journey of celibacy, I’m really on a roll. Sometimes we have to experience what we don’t want to know precisely what we do.