I never know where to start with camp, perhaps this one more than most. There was just so much. Vast arrays of feelings, complicated and nuanced discussions, painfully vulnerable moments and disarmingly present ones. Threads. So many threads weaving in and out and around this space and me and rapid-speed processing through each piece. Balance and counterbalance, action and reaction.
The easiest one is watching the people I love learning to love each other. Watching camaraderie, watching friendship and kinship blossom between my people for reasons that were entirely separate from me. And on the flip side of that, watching connections form that I couldn’t comprehend, the ones that forced me to face hard truths about myself. Both were present. Both were necessary. And if it sometimes felt like a wrecking ball, it also felt like growth. Building and rebuilding, strengthening and solidifying community in unexpected ways.
Violence. I have a whole other writing’s worth of things to say about this, but the concept kept coming up, over and over in poignant, visceral ways. In words, conversations, actions, and finally, in acceptance.
Getting comfortable with discomfort. I spent so much time forcing myself to sink into discomfort in a myriad of ways: physical, emotional, sexual, psychological. And I found something powerful in all of that: my own capacity for vulnerability, for desire, for presence when I could let go and sink into the discomfort.
I remembered how badly I need the things I hate, the calm that comes after intense scenes that make me want to run away. I learned a lot about the things I want, the things I need, and how to renegotiate my relationship to those things.
Is this too vague? Maybe, but it’s a bookmark in time, not the conversation itself. It’s a reminder to me of what I lost and what I found, what I learned and what I learned to let go of.
I celebrated my one-year anniversary with a partner this Fusion. I allowed myself to get co-topped with needles by two people I love dearly (and differently)- one of whom has never topped me before. I walked around with needles in my face and a collar around my neck, and if you know me well enough, you know which of the two of those was harder. I tied with people I have tied with before, and I tied with people I have never tied with before. Some of those were amazing scenes, some of them were challenging in different ways, but I loved the way I got to connect with every single person in every single tie.
There were people I wanted to connect with that I wasn’t able to. Scenes I was looking forward to that I didn’t get to do. And that’s ok, even if it makes my heart a little sad. I don’t regret an ounce of what happened this camp, even those moments that made it impossible for me to connect with people. Discomfort. Balance and counterbalance.
I got to self suspend in rope off a partner who was suspended in hooks, and the next day have those same hooks go through my skin as he pulled me up in my first hook suspension ever. I got to witness a dear friend in the midst of a much-anticipated scene and smile at the culmination of her anticipation.
I got to be very, very human in front of people who have never seen me vulnerable. I got pushed and found new ways to think about the things I like, the things I want, the reasons I love the people that I do and the vast complexities of the webs I find myself woven into.
It was a lot this camp. It was powerful and hard and real and complicated and uncomfortable and beautiful and heart-wrenching and so much of what I needed.
Maybe I will be afraid again one day. I can’t imagine that I won’t be; fear is as natural to me as breathing. But I’m not afraid right now. Of myself, of my words, of the things that hurt, of my emotions, of the way I think and process and move through the world.
Exactly enough. Sometimes it’s too much, sometimes it’s not enough, but these are discrete moments. In the balance of discomfort, I find that I am exactly enough.