Sep 16, 2012
A Camp Feelings
This past week has been an amazing, exhilarating, and eye-opening time for me. I feel as though I have transcended through a beautiful space within the course of only four days. We laughed, we cried, we talked about our feelings, and we got drunk and kissed each other. For those of you who are unaware, I am talking about A-Camp; a retreat to the woods for queer women (associated with autostraddle.com) to gather, share, build community and maybe get drunk and kiss each other.
My cabin was “Snatch-22” a band of (mostly) recent college grads who hail from all over the world (lookin at you Canada) and all managed to find similar stories between us. We were lucky enough to have staff members Gabby and Katrina as our counselors to guide us on our journey.
Often I find myself holding back in this world that only seems to make sense if you just let go. I have struggled with the idea that I am unattractive because I have a hard time finding dates in the real world. I struggle knowing that not everyone is an ally, and that as a female-of-center identified queer woman, I will probably spend the rest of my life coming out of closets. I struggle with patriarchy, and how women are constantly playing second fiddle to the pursuits of cisgendered men in their own respective communities.
This week was one I did not struggle through. I learned that I am attractive, that I have a body that is not a prison, but a home. I learned that I should never let this physical structure provide validation for my own self-worth, and that girls actually DO find me attractive. I lived in four days of visibility, four days spent within my own community where my intentions and my presentation was not up for questioning; where I could simply be. I lived without society’s patriarchal rules regarding sex, gender, and power. Where femininity was not weakness, but strength. Where dressing like a boy didn’t make you sick, it made you dandy. Where transition between genders did not mean confusion, it meant exploration.
It is a bitter pill to swallow knowing that tomorrow the comforts of this week will disappear. I will be thrust back into a world of close-mindedness, shallowness, ignorance. It seems like we should all just pack up and live in a lesbian commune in the woods together forever. But if we did this, nothing would ever change. I am returning today with a changed heart. I am braver than I was when this began. I found a courage I wasn’t sure I had. I found some swag and some affirmation. Tomorrow will hurt, but it will be worth it.