For the longest time, other teachers were dropping “Almost there’s!” and “X days left!”, and I was just like, “Yeah, whatevs. It comes, it goes, no big deal.” And then.
Last week hit. I NOW I AM SO READY FOR SUMMER. I honestly just woke up and BAM. Brick wall. Dead on my feet. Need break. Now.
It didn’t help that last weekend was FOLKLIFE. If you haven’t been to this festival, you haven’t been to any. We went for hours on Saturday, Sunday, AND Monday and still didn’t do more than lick the icing on the cake. It was wonderful in so many ways…
- Who knew there were Nudest recreation parks around here? And a nudest theater, where on some days, you get a discount if you go topless, or even get a full refund if you go fully nude! Hahaha. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. That is sounds totally perverted and hippie-free-loving and very messed up. But, as someone who came from a culture that was so negative in its body-centrality, it was refreshingly delightful to hear about people who think the naked body is beautiful and weird and natural. Seattle is so quirky.
- When my a coworker told me about Folklife, she mentioned that it’s where all the weirdest people of Seattle gather together. And that is SO TRUE. There was an old, warty man wearing nothing more than a tutu skirt and stuffed bra. Yeah, no shirt. A rainbow of hair. Freaking amazing costumes. Stunts by street performers. The very talented (as in, sword swallowing) and the very very lame (“look at these rocks that came from around the world!”) Teenage opera singers and tap-dancers saving up for a try at NYC. David-Bowie-Labyrinth-like crystal ball waving. Women and men in full-on medieval garb. I should have taken pictures.. Next year, next year.
- Festival food. We ate our fill every day in the delicious (sweet corn-on-the-cob), the new (this gross Russian thing), and the deep-fried (block o’french fries). And, and an actual full-cheese, full-pepperoni TWO-FEET-IN-DIAMETER PIZZA.
- The music. Everywhere! Drummers, singers, dancers, choirs. Lutes, guitars, drums, bands, harps. It was amazing!!
- Worth a visit to the Pacific Northwest — JUST for this festival.
On Social Life
I filled you in on that social life stuff in my last post. When was that? … Ah, back in January. Yeah, right about the time when I was coming to terms that four long months had passed and I was, unfortunately, as much of a social dud here as I was in Utah. 🙂 What can I say … I’m just the kind of person that takes a long time to warm up and open up to people, and until I get to that point, I’m often forcing and faking my way through conversations.
Well, something interesting happened within the last few weeks. First, I started thinking less in terms of “what I want/need in a circle of friends”**, and more in terms of “being the kind of friend I want to have.”
^^That idea — “being the kind of friend I want to have” — is a complete reversal of my usual deep-rooted social power play. As in, I have a tendency to put myself in a position in which I won’t be at risk of rejection. And if I am at risk, I pull myself out (emotionally, physically, or both). So this “be the kind of friend I want to have” is a big deal. Interestingly enough, this change is less about making friends, and more about being worthy of friends — being the kind of person I want to be. So my role changes. Invite, contact, set-up, open up. Be vulnerable.
Another thing that happened: I read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It’s stunning. I have always wanted to be part of a circle in rituals of love and empowerment for women’s events — menstruation, labor, menopause. I create the life I live, and I can be part of that circle. It’s as old as time and not lost to me.
Another thing. For the first time, I’ve started valuing brief interactions as real connection. As in, so brief that it brings to mind two ships passing in the night. The water-rafting trip and the river guide. The lunch after, when Dan and I happened upon two other rafters (a middle-aged woman and her 90-year-old mother) and had a lovely conversation. The folklife dancer who shared her amazing talents. The one-time-only geek-meet-up group. Parents of my students. The energy from the audience in a theatrical production. The late-night get-together before an old friend’s Microsoft interview. The capoeira dancing event where we met my little sister’s maestro. Monthly dinners with the Vegetarians of Washington. They all matter.
And last. Buds are coming up. After a year of working here, I’ve finally finally started to see the beginnings of real, bonafide friendship. It took so long and happened so gradually that (back in January) I was reconciling myself to the fact that coworkers are coworkers, and friends are to be found elsewhere. But poof! Spring came along and all sorts of lovely things were were coming up — daffodils … cherry blossoms … the beginnings of friendship.
You know, one of the wonderful things about my life right now is that I don’t plan on moving. I grew up in Texas, but I knew I would leave it and everyone there. Same thing with Utah — a problem exacerbated with the ever-changing student population. With friendship taking as much energy as it does, starting a friendship with the end in mind didn’t seem worth it. But here, I’m staying. It makes it easier to invest.
Oh, and I’d to make an announcement. World, I have found my book club. 20-somethings, some married, some not. All women. Professionals. Varied sets of interests — the obvious ones and the what-you’ve-heard-of-it-and-love-it-too? connections. Toni Morrison. Pushing Daisies. Game of Thrones. EMP Museum. Traveling. Outlander. BBC. Downton Abbey. YA fiction. Contemporary Literature. Siff. Tyrion. I was introduced to The Stranger, a lovely alternative newspaper. I’ve starving for THIS book club.
**Criteria: 3-5 girls, intellectual discussions mingled with tons of geek love, someone who calls me to go out instead of the other way around ‘cuz that’s the way I roll, interested in feminism and activism, book-loving, possibly significant others for double-dates, and it’d be a perk if they had means to travel together.