So, these are the ground rules I've been pondering for the last month or so – personal guidelines in my desire to be a wise and purposeful adult and to be part of a community.
Keep my mouth shut.
Do things differently.
Find ways to contribute.
Make all the things.
Never come empty-handed.
Everyone gets at least one chance to be a different person.
I do welcome comments. :)
There's a saying. It's "You can't step into the same river twice."
Part of that is simple mechanics. When you come back to the river, it's not the same water. But more than that, I think, you're not the same person.
Larry and Jess and other friends talked Barret and I into coming back to the SCA. The longing to have more chances to spend time with our friends finally overcame my reluctance, and the welcome we've received disolved any lingering doubts. We've been to baronial project nights, fight practices, and tavern nights. I honestly can't get over how friendly and welcoming people have been. We went to Spring Coronet, and I saw more people that weekend than I usually see in a month. I talked more than I usually talk in a week. My voice was hoarse when we got home. I was sad and happy and tired and energized all at once.
You read the old histories, the tales of people who have died or gone. And you wonder why it hurts so much to remember that people who you admired, respected, loved are receding into the past, their light remaining in your memories, but their presence faded from your life. And you realize it was because so much of you was rooted in them, and the whole that they made that you were a part of, and that time and those places.
I miss those old days, those days when gods walked the earth and deigned to take mortal form...and occasionally throw their helmets fifty yards across the warfield. I miss having a place at events where I never felt unwelcome. Where "welcome" was beside the point, because I wasn't a guest. I was family.
I'm never going to have that exact relationship to the world again. I rooted myself in a small group of people who, to me, embodied the dream, rather than rooting myself in the kingdom. I have to accept that those days have become the past. And I've decided that I do want to make and live my own SCA stories, in the now. I want to dream a new dream – that's what all of it is about anyway, isn't it?
So, the ground rules...
Keep my mouth shut. I'm pleased to have a reputation for discretion among my friends, one of whom refers to me as "where information goes to die." As we find our feet, I'd like to remember to listen more than I speak. Also, to not complain about things that happened in the past, and to keep any negative opinions to myself.
Do things differently. To do otherwise while expecting different results is to become a textbook illustration of insanity.
Find ways to contribute. I'd like to earn my welcome by trying to be a useful and helpful person to have around, with good ideas to offer, and to meet in full any commitments I make.
Make all the things. All the things I've wanted to make? Gonna make them!
Never come empty-handed. I bet if I really try, I can always find something to bring that will make an event or get-together better for at least one person.
Everyone gets at least one chance to be a different person. I can hold a grudge for roughly eighty gajllion years, and a lot of them aren't even held on my own behalf, but those of friends. But one of my biggest fears is that people who knew me when I was 18 or 19 will think I'm still that person. I'm really hoping for the grace to be who I am now and to discover who I'm becoming, without the weight of that old baggage. That means that I have to offer others the same grace, at least once. And if I have an unpleasant encounter with someone new, well, maybe they're just having a bad day.
Some of the things I really value: discretion, creativity, openness to change, responsibility. Some of the things I hope to cultivate: generosity of hands and spirit, greater range of skills, and a kinder heart.
Some words that inspired me while I was thinking about all of this:
“Many people believe geekdom is defined by a love of a thing, but I think — and my experience of geekdom bears on this thinking — that the true sign of a geek is a delight in sharing a thing. It’s the major difference between a geek and a hipster, you know: When a hipster sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “Oh, crap, now the wrong people like the thing I love.” When a geek sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE COME WITH ME AND LET US LOVE IT TOGETHER.””
"A bright imagination, a clear intellect, warmth, readiness, magnanimity, grace, and ease are wanted in the practices of gardening, farming, sharing food, caring for animals, cure, care, healing, and comforting, the arts of making order and cleanliness where people live and work, all dancing and delightful exercises, and all the arts and practices of making music, of speaking, of writing, and of reading aloud or socially."
~Ursula K. LeGuin, Always Coming Home
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.