My Dark Odyssey Summer Camp attendee bracelet started to crack this afternoon, which is the Universe’s way of saying I really have to sit down and write this. And yes, I realize that it is also, it’s the Universe’s way of saying “Hey stupid, those bracelets really aren’t meant to be worn for twenty days!”
I have asked myself repeatedly why I have not taken off my attendee bracelet, and I keep coming back to the idea that D.O. Summer Camp 2010 was an important event for me. Rather than say that I experienced a great deal of personal growth at the event, I’d say a great deal of growth I’ve been doing crystallized for me there. I guess in some ways that little piece of purple plastic represents a lot of positive change in my life over the last few years, and the last year in particular. This piece of writing will instead take its place, thought and ideas being far more durable than cheap synthetics.
Some thoughts that came out of the last year, and DOSC in particular:
* People care about me. There have been some new mysterious medical issues going on with me that are as yet unresolved. The outpouring of support from people in the community who knew about my fears and concerns was overwhelming. Living in rural NH, and near Boston, a city & community that my partner and I just can’t seem to forge a connection with, it is easy to think of myself as being relatively isolated or having a pretty small circle of friends and family of choice. The realization that people even knew who I was was pretty shocking (my classes are popular for what they are, namely specialized, but I’m not a huge draw). I know that some of this is due to my issues with self esteem, but the feeling of welcoming and belonging I got from everyone will help sustain me during the winter isolation in NH.
* My Work is benefiting the community. For a long time, I’ve known that the kink/BDSM community was one of the places where I felt drawn to do my spiritual Work as a shaman, and to a lesser extent as a magician. This has been a goal of mine that I’ve been working towards, but at DOSC it really hit home that somewhere along the line, without even realizing it, I had found my way into doing it. At Camp, I know that I provided valuable service to individuals in the community in the form of spiritual counseling, ordeal ritual, healing ritual, and the “Ritual for the Breaking of Energetic Ties” that I ran. It was highly fulfilling Work, and being an accepted and valued part of the community for doing it is not something that every spirit worker or shaman gets to experience.
* I have come into my own in terms of BDSM skills. Within the areas that I specialize in (which are admitted relatively narrow) I am quite good at what I do. Being a good player is a constant learning process and I’m always trying to expand the breadth of my skills as well learn new twists on the skill sets that I already have. That said however, within my comfort zones, I know my shit and it’s ok to take pride in that.
* I’ve become comfortable with (and fond of) the title of “Sir.” This is a pretty new thing to me, I haven’t publicly identified with this type of power dynamic up until recently. Interestingly, until now I have not said anything about it, but something in the signals I give must have changed, since at the last few events I’ve done people have started using “Sir” with me. I’m also rapidly learning that, at least for a spirit worker, the “Sir” hat comes with restrictions and obligations like any other spiritual role.
* People are attracted to me (although I still don’t notice flirting 9/10 times). I grew up as the obese-barking-queer-nerd and somewhere inside that’s still how I think of myself. To be fair, other than the “obese” part those are all pretty much still true. I am not entirely sure why I am continually surprised that people are attracted to me, although a certain segment of the population whom I am quite attracted to continues not to notice my existence. I am working on getting over the whole being “surprised when someone is interested in me thing” in part because I think it’s an unflattering personality trait in myself.
* I can function (and have fun) without my partner. As someone whose been struggling with challenges related to serious health issues for many years, not to mention being shy, this was a pretty big revelation in itself. The fact that I could both make things happen on my own, and ask for help from others when I needed it was quite literally liberating. More importantly, if I can be more independent, that frees him up to enjoy himself more when we are at events together.