Oh my gosh, where to begin. There is so much to process about this weekend. Friday, I offered to pick up our fearless leader at the airport and give him and another from his traveling party a ride to the site. So my weekend started with good conversation on the ride out to the site. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my passengers a bit better.
I haven’t been tent camping in about 15 or so years, and when I did tent camp, my ex-husband did the heavy lifting like putting up the tent. I was always in charge of kitchen setup. I was so very grateful to have three awesome women put up my tent while I fetched stuff. I’m good at fetching stuff, not so good at putting up tents. They did a fantastic job, too, because I made it through the heavy rain and woke completely dry on Sunday morning. And thankfully, they helped me take it down as well.
I was given the task to get people signed in. That’s the kind of task I’m good at. Give me a job to do that involves meeting people and I’m happy. Because otherwise, I may not really meet anyone. I’ll stand on the sidelines and watch. I love jobs like registration and getting signatures done because it makes me much more comfortable approaching people when I have a role. So it truly helped me get to meet a lot of people, visit a bit, and not feel like an outsider.
This weekend was kind of a big thing for me on several levels. I’ve hit a couple of kink events on my own in the last several months, but they were knowns – events I’ve attended before and am comfortable attending. This event was so far outside my comfort zone that I really had to battle myself not to cancel. When my second planned camp mates backed out at the last minute (after my first had a change of plans), I could easily have said, “I’m just not going.” But what I did instead was immediately leave my house to buy a tent and sleeping bag so that I couldn’t back out without wasting a ton of money. My normal behavior would have been to stew a bit about maybe the Universe is telling me not to go, justify it all, and back out with some excuse. What the Universe was really doing was telling me, ‘you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it by yourself, and you’re going to get exactly what you need to get right now.’ I have to remember that and stop looking at it as the Universe telling me no. The Universe is actually telling me yes. That I’m doing it the Universe way. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
So first major deal? I showed up. Knowing I would be tenting alone, knowing that I might end up feeling like a third wheel, I showed up. And, I didn’t hide out in my tent all weekend. Yes, I mostly stayed in smaller groups, but not in my tent. And I participated. I didn’t just observe from the sidelines. So yeah, big deal.
The thing that I have focused on for months has been firewalking. Fire has always fascinated me. I was one of those kids who stuck my finger in the candle, held my hand as close to the fire as possible, and eventually graduated to intentionally touching lit cigarettes and matches. One of my bucket list play items is to be burned with a cigar. But could I do it? When it came down to it, could I actually walk across that fire? I just didn’t know. I worried about a spot on my foot that doesn’t seem to want to stop cracking and peeling getting burned. I worried about my knee deciding to give out halfway across. All of those things have been in my head for weeks now. Could I really do this? Would I follow through or wimp out? No one is home to take care of me if something happens, I’m on my own. Is it responsible to do this? Should I really? What happens if I do? Oh, but what happens if I don’t. (Yes, Sire, even I have those internal battles.)
And so while I sat there watching others begin to walk, just as Elwood said it would, I saw the path through the coals plain as day. Saw the steps. The footprints. MY footprints. Right there in front of me. I think I skipped a few people in line to go next.
Second major deal? I walked on fire. I fucking walked on fire. Yes, I got a burn blister on my foot. It hurt a bit on Saturday, a tiny bit on Sunday. Haven’t felt it since. It’s still there. I keep looking at it, playing with it, remembering. I’m hoping someone got a picture of me doing it, because I really want to see myself doing it. It was indescribable. I still haven’t been able to find the words. I always think I can’t do it. It’s too scary, too hard. I’ll get hurt. And each time I move into that fear, conquer it, the feeling is awe-like. Wow, I really did that. Me. Wow. It was a bit like when I went bungee jumping. As soon as it was over, I wanted to go again. Yeah, that didn’t happen. But I wanted to. I need to learn to remember that feeling when I start questioning. When I allow fear to get in the way. When I am telling myself I can’t. When I allow myself to sit in limbo instead of moving forward. Yes, I can. I really can.
I watched others as they decided, prepared, stepped up. Or didn’t. I said the same words to someone I said about getting hooks at SWLC this January – ‘what if you don’t?’ And his wheels started turning. I kept watching him watching the fire. His hand on his chin, thinking, looking, searching for that path to open up. And I missed watching him walk it because my feet were so hot I finally had to go back to my tent and put some ointment on them. I hate that I missed him walk. But I was there to see others walk. And I’m blessed to have been witness to their journeys over the coals, just as they witnessed mine.
And that fire was hot, too. The experienced among us commented on how much hotter it was than others they had walked before. But I did it. We did it. It was good.
And then I slept. In that tent by myself. And it was okay. I was okay. Alone isn’t bad. I’m starting to get used to it.
My tent was in an area near two other tents. Saturday morning, I was invited to pull my chair over and share shade. I spent the entire morning under that canopy with someone I haven’t spent nearly enough time with in the past, and two others I hope cross my path again soon. I feel like a little bit of family was formed right there with the four of us under that canopy. We did the same Sunday morning. In fact, as I sat there, I kept feeling the pull to stay right where I was, as if it were important. So I did, skipping the sweat lodge. It was right. The conversations were good, covered many topics, but the energy of the people just felt right. People I will absolutely meet again.
Saturday afternoon brought a dance around the Portal. I love the Portal. I have enjoyed dancing under and around it for a few years now at SWLC. It was familiar. It was comfortable. I walked over to it and touched it, every corner, every bar I could reach. Feeling the carvings, the stones, the wires. It feels like home. I haven’t been hooked in a couple years because my skin doesn’t seem to like the hooks. And each time the opportunity presents, I so badly want to do it again. I WANT to take hooks again. And I think and worry on it. Then I realize that if I take them, the same thing will happen, my body won’t stop burning, and my experience won’t be what I want it to be. So no hooks. I asked someone to give me a third eye piercing. She agreed and we waited for those being hooked to clear out. She asked, “You know this is an 18 gauge needle, right?” Yes, I know. It’s all good. And it was. Needle in and I floated off into the ether. I LOVE getting that piercing. I drummed. I breathed. I stood under the Portal with a drum, leaning back on the Western corner, watching a beautiful girl circling back and forth around the Northern corner with childlike enthusiasm, pulling harder and harder with each circle. I stared, mesmerized, by the vibration of the drumhead and the designs painted there. I took a journey. Closing my eyes and just breathing, drumming. Feeling. Hearing. Flying. I wandered off with the needle still in my face, eventually forgetting it was there. It was good.
I knew that suspension was not in my weekend. With the way my body reacts to hooks, suspension is just out of the question at this point. And I’m okay with that. And so my calling is just to bear witness. And so I did. It was pretty amazing to watch. While standing there, one of the workers from the venue was standing there and he started asking me questions. And so I answered them – about both BDSM and what Edgewalkers is about. The people at the campground were surprisingly encouraging and interested in what we were doing. It was great to be in that space.
I got to make some new friendships. Build new connections. Soul connections in my Soul Tribe. I got to spend a lot of time with several women who are very important to me, but with whom I haven’t spent much time in the past year. I’ve been hibernating. Healing. I’m still healing. I’m still grieving. I know this. And it’s okay. They know this, and they know this is okay, too.
I think about the weekend and feel such overwhelming gratitude. I’m so blessed. I have so much to be grateful for. And my heart fills with love, overflowing. What an amazing privilege to have been part of that. To have been welcomed, without question, into this group. What a gift. Every single person who was there contributed to my journey in some important way. And thus has also contributed to my healing and my growth. I will absolutely be at the next one I can be. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. And I won’t miss the next one, either.
Thank you to all of the Edgewalkers who were there, whether in the flesh or in spirit only, for welcoming me into this Tribe. Feels like coming home.