Thursday, August 20, 2009

fest

I promised I'd give an update, but I'm having a really hard time putting my experiences into words. As most of you know, I'm rarely at a loss when it comes to written words - this is really the only way that I communicate effectively, except among my nearest and dearest.

I'm still trying to figure things out. It was amazing, euphoric, frightening and very lonely at times.

The music was incredible. For that reason alone, go if you get the chance.

But if you happen to be a socially backwards newbie to the lesbian world, you might want to bring someone with you. I'm glad I went, I don't know that I want to go alone next year. I met people there, I knew a few people who were there, and I'd met some people in the days prior to going. You'd think I wouldn't be alone unless I chose to be.

Some of the time I chose to be alone. Crowds are tough for me to navigate - social anxiety and milling crowds are not good companions. Sometimes I was alone because that's the way it was. A lot of the time, I found people to eat with, to watch concerts with, to walk those many long paths alongside...

Being alone forced me to think. Feeling safe reminded me of all the ways in which I do not feel safe here, in my city, within my family. I was warned that I might cry - and I did. It was mostly healthy. It was a release of all the crap I've been carrying around lately. It was sometimes me feeling sorry for myself. I'm good at that.

When I was in high school, I once had to go on a bus trip to a phys-ed related event. In order to get my phys-ed credit, I was required to attend at least one event...so I picked some gymnastics meet or other in a nearby city. It was one of the longest days of my life - no matter how hard I tried to fit in, I just didn't. Somewhere in the middle of the day, I heard one girl say to another "It's kind of cute and kind of sad. She's just like a little puppy dog that keeps following you around and won't go away." I only recently began to realize how those words have haunted me. I don't want to be a follower. I don't want to be a loser who tags along after people because she can't make it on her own - and so often, that's exactly how I feel.

I know it's all in my head. And that I think too much.

I met some incredible people. And if they left fest thinking that I was anything less than grateful for their presence and their company, well, that was totally my fault. I've come a long way, but I haven't come far enough. Yet. I do things that terrify me so that I can stretch myself, so that I can prove that I can do things. Like go alone to concerts and bars, and music festivals. But I still find ways to keep myself at a distance, because I simultaneously long for and fear close connections.

I learned that I can write songs. I went to this kick-ass workshop...but I wrote one the day before fest. And two while I was there, to add to the three that I wrote in the last year that I have stashed away in my notebook somewhere, because I have this self-injurious ageism attitude - that tells me I'm too old to start writing songs. I'm learning to let go of that thinking - I have the writing ability and the music, so wouldn't it make sense???

Opening ceremonies were the most incredible experience. I cried. I was so overcome that I had to leave the concert for a little bit and walk around by myself - grounding, thinking that finally, there's a place in the world where I really fit in.

Sort of.

Did I meet women that I was attracted to? Yes.

And it was really hard to come home, even though I missed the kids and the dog, and sleeping in a real bed.

I have pictures, and I'll probably post a lot of them on facebook. I'll put a few up of the opening ceremonies on the blog, but if you want to add me as a facebook friend, you can find me via my email

I'll leave you with a rather longish poem I wrote the day before fest. And I'll post the other two that I wrote while I was there, in a separate post.

And I wrote a song for you. I'll share that when the dinosaur (my computer's new nickname) figures out how to upload video. For all of you, but especially for those of you, near and far, who are fighting for marriage equality.

(If you've made it this far, congratulations!)


I don't go for the cliquey types.
Never did
understand that exclusive
social mix where
you're in and
sorry, you're out.
If you had a minute
or two
or ten
I could tell you my story
encapsulate
the tall tale of a round
woman lost
and how I lost
that round mound.
Traded it for mostly
flat, slimmed down.
And how I didn't recognize
that face anymore, how
I didn't look anything
like I was
supposed to.
And I could give
you the rundown
on coming out at
mid-life,
beginning
in the middle,
tearing down those
structures
like the fence around
my house
and my kids' lives.
And I find myself
with empty hands reaching
outward
when the inner pull
is what I really need.

I could tell you about
how
after straddling two worlds
for one year
I've found that I fit
into neither
really.
My parents, well
they don't want to
talk about it.
"He was too wrapped up in
his work" they comfort each other
softly
and look at me
sideways,
the pariah
I never thought
I'd be.
And my friends
oh lovely ones
how you've held me
up and dried
my angry tears
falling
spitting rage but
after all, you have lives
and loves and families
all
that need you.

There's this code of silence
I can't shake
so I must break it
down
even when courage
fails me
even when
my Mennonite co-worker
says
"Wellesley is just not
ready for gay marriage"
while my five-year old
stomps
into her classroom and
says
"Girls can marry
other girls.
It's true.
My mom says so."

These thoughts never
leave me alone.
But I am alone often
because I
haven't quite figured
out how to
get from A to B.
Or should I say
A to A?
Some days I'm afraid
I never will.
What's natural for me,
good, right,
truthful
is reviled by some.
Accept me or
lose me, I should say.
But did you see how
I sat alone last night?
It could be like that all the time.
I know
I'm holding
too tight.
But I don't know
if falling
is worth the price.


(PS - I should mention that I am absolutely, positively not depressed right now. I'm a bit stuck in a rut, but not feeling hopeless. I'm just...thinking.)

3 comments:

Robin said...

This is great, great, open, raw, honest, beautiful stuff, Anna.

Keep going....

Camlin said...

That is high praise, coming from you. Thank you.

MakingSpace said...

Camlin, that's beautiful. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Big hugs.