I never know what to expect walking into Winter Fire. It’s a bit hit-or-miss; sometimes, things converge in really good ways; sometimes, everything seems to just slightly miss the mark.
This was a convergence, and I went into it checking my own assumptions with the intention of doing things that scared me. It paid off.
And I did so many things that scared me. I asked someone to hurt me. I listened to directions when they were given. I got to scene with some new people that I was pretty excited about, and got to reconnect with people I haven’t played with in awhile in fun ways. I took up space, if sometimes grudgingly. I did rope and felt competent. I bottomed for impact and felt strong. I fucked without getting too far inside my head. I sat and just held space without feeling drained.
I really switched hard this con. I bottomed hard and topped hard. I touched a lot of different parts of myself through the interactions I had: the people I just shut everything off with, the people who know me a little too well and force me to be a Real Person, the incredible people that I worked with on staff, the people who weren’t there who somehow managed to be present in really nice ways, the people with whom I am many people depending on context.
I played suspension chess with someone I’ve wanted to play with for awhile (a game made even more ridiculous when played by two self-suspenders). I got to tie in a grinch onesie- and in that scene, got to tie dynamically, through movement (and now understand better why a sweetheart of mine likes to tie that way). I got grabbed by a friend- and someone I respect deeply- to try out an experiment. I got to do boot impact again.
I dressed up and felt good about it. I made my con experience better and safer by asking for something I needed, even though it was hard. I got to play with a couple people for the first time, and those scenes were incredible. I asked someone to play that I really want to play with- and even though it didn’t pan out this event, there is mutual interest and I am glad I asked. I got to connect with someone dear to my heart in an unexpectedly vulnerable, beautiful scene. I got to play around in ongoing dynamics that I can’t always make time for in the ways that I want.
I connected and reconnected. I showed up, all the messy parts of me, and allowed things to organically flow when they needed to while still making things happen when nothing easily emerged. I was never bored but I got some downtime. I worked, with all the challenges that come with that, but felt so supported and had such incredible people working with me. I went to a class (!!!) because I accidentally ran into a friend who was going to that class and we partnered up and rope switched because why not?
In short: I got beaten, I tied, I learned things, I connected, I reconnected, I opened my eyes, I watched my friends giddy and in love, I felt the awkward sting of strained interactions, I drew my own lines in the sand, I smoked too much, I laughed easily, I pulled out my knives again, I trusted myself.
The culmination of Winter Fire is me, as a whole person. Maybe not as messy, but definitely real. If it wasn’t always easy, it was a gift, and the good far overshadows the bad, which is what I hope for in any con. And this was very much that.
A good Winter Fire (great, actually, in so many ways). An excellent start to con season, and some lessons taken about trusting myself. A gentle drop, and smooth reentry… maybe I’m finally getting the hang of this. Maybe.
There are too many people to thank individually, so suffice it to say: you know who you are. Thank you for making this an incredible Winter Fire.