My personal goal in nightlife [Foto] – Little girl, big world

Growing up, I was taught that it is necessary to have a purpose in every action I take.

I played football for the first 17 years of my life, and especially in the early ages, I didn’t do much to separate football from real life. Football was my way of learning about life, and football taught me that there always had to be a purpose behind my actions.

My club coach in primary school let us play, but whistled randomly to stop the game. The one who had just played a game or run, he would distinguish him. “Why are you doing this? What was your goal?

He wasn’t looking for an answer like “Because it was open” or “Because there was room.” He wanted all the play-by-play. “I passed to Sara because Jenna was coming up the sideline. Sara has a better pass to Sara than me. Then I was going to break through the middle with Maddie, Sara would cross the ball, and that’s the goal.

He taught us goal and strategy in football at a young age, and since football was my life, I learned goal and strategy in life. One thing I still think about today when making decisions is: “How will my goal allow me to score a goal?”

More recently, this type of thinking has been used in ways Calihan never dreamed of – nightclubs. Imagine a seven year old on a club football team outfitted with a nutritionist dreaming of getting drunk at a club in Spain, that just doesn’t happen.

I still have a lot of that seven-year-old energy in my body, which is why it was hard for me to enjoy nightclubs. Along with school and running around Europe, these were some of the only times I was able to spend with friends. So I wanted to enjoy it, but I just couldn’t.

The point of clubs is to have fun, and the way to have fun is to get drunk and do things you regret in the morning. It’s hard for me to believe that this goal is anywhere in my strategy to achieve a goal. I don’t like getting drunk because I don’t like losing control, let alone doing things I regret. Most alcohol comes with soda, which I stopped drinking as soon as our nutritionist told us to. I didn’t like staying out late because it meant sleeping late which would disrupt your natural circadian rhythms.

Although it seems to represent a general disdain for clubbing and nightlife, part of me was intrigued. Like I knew clubbing could turn into something else. Even though I didn’t enjoy the activity too much because I couldn’t reach the goal, I felt like somewhere deep inside a Madrid club was a way to reach my goal.

– – –

I was on a field trip to Toledo and was surrounded by people I learned to dislike. Maybe I’ve only known them for three weeks, but sometimes that’s all you need. Knowing that a girl was about to hand me her phone to take her picture, I quickly looked busy. I held my camera up to my eye and ferociously captured the landscape of Toledo. When the camera was in use, they wouldn’t talk to me. They didn’t ask me to be in their photo. They didn’t ask me if they could sometimes borrow my cute shorts. They just stood around me doing their thing, while I was doing mine.

If only I could use my camera like that in the club, I said to myself.

When you have a camera, everyone thinks you have a purpose. When I got to college, I didn’t know anyone, but I was a press photographer and I had a press card to wear around my neck. When there were big college events that I wanted to attend but didn’t have any friends to go with, I would go with my camera. With my camera around my neck and the press card strapped to my shirt, no one thought I was alone, it just implied that I had a purpose.

Why can not I use my camera like that in the club?

There were supposed to be rules against bringing a big camera into clubs, but they couldn’t do anything about a small Exilim camera. The type of camera that gives off the vibe of “I’m just a drunk girl who wants to aesthetically document her night!” but, when used correctly, takes professional-level photos.

So the next evening as the apartment buzzed in anticipation of an outing to Madrid, this time I was contributing to the chatter.

The previous nights, I had felt like an outsider to the group. Not wanting to be that drunk, not wanting to dance with strangers, it was obvious that I was still sitting off to the side with my feet in the water while everyone else had a cannonball. Every once in a while, when the song changed and there was that half second of silence before everyone caught on to the next one, I stood still and wondered what I was doing there. I guess that environment in general just wasn’t made for me like it was made for everyone else.

As soon as I brought my camera, my whole perspective changed. Scenarios that previously made me feel like an outsider are now seen as the perfect picture opportunity. My friends and the people we meet will perform in front of the camera because everyone wants their night in Madrid to be documented, and when it’s the next morning and they realize how drunk they look, it is too late. I have already downloaded to my computer the raw and authentic images of people in their purest and most exciting state.

Instead of the focus of nightclubs being “go have fun getting drunk and do things you’ll regret in the morning”, it shifted to “capturing the moment and the aesthetic”. Because at first glance the clubs are coarse, sticky and sprouted, there is a pristine underlying aesthetic that often goes undocumented.

Being with my camera in the club, when I could feel isolated for not being so drunk or not wanting to dance with strangers, reminded me of that song by Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran that was played religiously on the radio a few years ago, “I Don’t Care”.

Even when I’m at a party that I don’t necessarily want to be with, when no one wants to look you in the eye, even if it’s a bad night… I’m fine because I’m with my camera .

Yours sincerely,


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