I went to camp. Not just any camp. A camp full of amazing/diverse/mixed/queer/artsy/intelligent people. It challenged me and saved me and made me cry.
Maybe because I surrounded by people who were so accepting that I kind of shut down since I am so used to censoring myself and/or parts of my identity. I determine who I am on my surroundings, and code-switch to fit what is expected of me. I realized I have to face all of my truths and live in them because what else is there? And yet, I don’t know how to get there, or I’m scared to or I haven’t figured it all out.
Vague enough for you?
Here’s what’s true and shareable: I met some amazing women – artists, writers, travelers. There’s a few whose stories and words and faces I will always carry in my heart. I talked about writing with poets, journalists and bloggers that I read every day. I will always be in awe of them. I did fun, silly camp things like cutting t-shirts and making friendship bracelets surrounded by women who were willing to talk about everything. I listened to panels about gender and race that opened my mind and gave me words to express feelings I didn’t know I carried until that very moment.
Things that make me nervous to say: I had a panicky rush of emotions. I cried because I was overwhelmed. I was worried that I could never fit in with all these people – that I had conditioned myself enough to not be able to let go. Then I drank and danced a bit on Saturday and let go a little too much than I was used to. I threw myself into this extroverted mood and at the end of it felt unsure of who I really was. The girls I had talked to most sat down and observed all that was going on. I wanted to freeze time. I couldn’t decide which place I wanted to be in until it was too late. Either way, I was amazed by the presence of all these people, and hope I made connections that will last.
Things I will never forget: Staying up late with my cabin mates. Campfire. Songs. Talent Show. Powerful poetry. Sharp opinions and open hearts. Getting spray paint all over myself. High Tea. Group meals. The teeny bits of gossip that evolve in two days. Freezing cold water. Writing circle. Zine making. All of the wonderful, beautiful conversations with new people.
What I mean is that I loved it. I would go again and again.
Camp has inspired me to get back to some personal writing. To really explore the intersections of identities, hash out all the bullshit, and live a full life.
There is so much to say about all of this. There is so much. This was everything. I have the courage now to push forward.