I'm bipolar. I blog about it. I also blog about sex, theology and atheology, funny shit and sad shit, books, music, feminism, and love. Mostly love.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Man is made of dreams and bones.

Spirit gnome
And it began. First, with staff training; a well-designed method of the development of chemistry where none should have existed before. The frat-rat and the nerd, the queen bee and the philosophy major.

It began with late nights talking to Sara about finding ourselves, liking ourselves, and overcoming the palpable fear that no one will like the person we find ourselves to be. We talked about the validity of feelings, regardless of their origin--one we still haven't settled, I think. But something I didn't think about until the conversation had passed was that I know that despite the issues I've had with my dad in the past, and despite the pain I feel when I watch as my brother self-destructs... despite all of that, I think my most impressive heartache has come from overcoming a very real self-hatred. Internal battles tend to leave us far more broken than those things that happen to us.
 It began with unshaven legs and accepting that no idol is perfect--except Wonder Woman. I learned lessons. I learned that going without a shower for a while can make you feel human in a way that a civilized kind of life denies me. No one smells good all the time. Everyone farts (although apparently not everyone has the weird urge to smell them even when they don't want to). Girls are just as nasty as boys. Mud pits are the great equalizer. Not everyone can sing well, but absolutely everyone can sing. There are few places safe enough to discover all of this.
Sun hats and our Sunday Best
 It began with tears I never thought I'd be capable of shedding in public. But it wasn't really public, I suppose. Reflections: A loud, a soft, and if my day were a sandwich… I cried for fear and helplessness--feelings I'm not as fond of expressing. And I earned myself a cinnamon roll hug. I felt so naked in chapel that night. I'd gotten lost that day. I was still recovering. But that day proved to me twice over how much my camp family is willing to do for me. Even if they can't understand the heartaches I have, and I cannot comprehend theirs, I know they will catch me if I fall, and I would do the same for them. Although, I know there are people with whom I can express my feelings about those things that have happened to me, and there are a different group of people with whom I can share those things I have done to myself. I learned that these people, of both ends, felt legitimate fear when I was gone for an hour and fifteen minutes--I didn't know I'd meant that much. I am vital there--as vital as anyone else. But without any one of us, this summer would suffer for it. We are one body.
Staff 2012 minus the brilliant Nathan Stewart
 It began with the sweet reminder that a single location can hold magic and comfort in hammocks, cots, cabins, and hills; in the International Birdman Society, EpiPens, slack-jaw-dance, and belly slaps hard enough to make you vomit a little in your mouth. In the sound of a cabin-mate's snores and the smell of Waycross cookies, I find comfort I have yet to recreate elsewhere.
Early Arrivals
My first week was a nice one. The ladies in my cabin were wonderful. I laughed a lot. Quotes like "I don't care if I hunger to death, I don't care if I thirst to death, I just care that I have my bunny!" and "I like myself as I am. I don't want to be a tree." still make me snort. And there are moments that tightened my chest and brought tears to my eyes. Confessions of a little girl without a daddy, with whom I couldn't help but relate to, and somehow the sight of Harry Potter books tucked in with teddy bears choked me up. Seven year-olds can teach you a lot about yourself and the world as a greater whole. Experience has taught me much, but age and arrogance has allowed me to forget some of the greater truths in life: that music and story books are significant methods of therapy, that saying what rests on your heart should not deny you any friendships—and if it does, you have chosen poorly, and finally that if you can learn to forgive yourself on a daily basis, then you can learn to forgive others as liberally. Everyone deserves the chance to change themselves.
Canoe Bruise
My second session was with some ten and eleven year-olds with the token 9 and 12 year-old. They really were a great cabin. They made me a birthday gift--a mason jar candle--that I used for reflections with them. I’ll have to post a picture sometime soon. They taught me that bullying exists and that children often lack the experience to see it. I learned that when kids are insecure, they will either make themselves into someone they think people will like, becoming all too comfortable with manipulation, or they will allow themselves to be used. The strongest people legitimately don’t care what people think of them—such a cliché, such a brilliant truth. My cabin took a hold of my heart. A little girl with a life more challenging than I can even begin to understand had the best attitude of any child I've ever met, and a girl who has had a history of bad behavior who "decided to be good," this year... nothing is more meaningful to me. I'm so proud of Waycross. I'm so proud that we can provide an environment where neither socioeconomic status nor history can deny a child the chance to be loved--to make friends.
Too perfect
 My third session was on support, which was dotted with its own miracles. It was defined by late nights talking, laughing, and sighing at those things which we cannot change. It was defined by Dark Angel in the Main House, grazing out of the serving bowls, forgetting the laptop at lunch, leading songs and skits, making mistakes into something amazing. I won't forget being a little proud of Sara for bruising me. I won't forget learning that Chantel has way more to offer than just Mama Bear. I won't forget when James tore off his toenail trying to hide from Natalie... and then ate it to make Sara throw up, (she didn’t by the way). I learned that putting basil in your water makes it better. I learned that Wagon Wheel will never get old. I met people from South Sudan and Brazil. They taught me about walking, they taught me about Gollywop relatives. Oreos, Reese’s, bath house steps, cinnamon roll hugs, little dots of light bobbing ahead of me held by tiny hands belonging to tear-stained faces, Zumba, (not) hoola-hooping, and Mr. Plum in the Rec Hall with the Climbing Rope…
Rainbow Connection
 I'll miss you, Waycross. Thank you to the land on which it rests, thank you to the Gollywops who let us keep it, and thank you to those who have made this year as full of magic as the week I first felt it when I was nine years-old.

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