Monday, May 4, 2015

A Year After the Sparkly Festival



Last week in my poetry class (the absolute BEST thing I have going on in my life right now) my friend from church mentioned having helped get the congregation’s Maypole ready and I had such a deep, yowly pang for the Sparkly Festival and all that it means. I almost said the heck with it and bought a day pass, even though I am recovering from acute stress and therefore avoiding all things overstimulating.

I didn’t go, but the longing seemed like a good, healing sign, and the nostalgia got me wondering just where sexiness fits into my life nowadays. For a while, it didn’t figure in at all. The stress of teaching at a harsh school had me wishing for as much shelter, as much covering up as possible. The parts of me that were vulnerable—poetry, compassion, art, sex, retreated inward for safety as I went into survival mode. It was easy to welcome back the less complicated aspects of creativity, to write and draw and paint up a storm—in fact, it’s the only way to heal I’ve ever known. But sex is harder to let back in, especially since it’s hard to see where I stand in relation to it.

In the time since I was last blogging regularly, I’ve done one thing exactly right—I moved into a dream apartment in the most woodsy, flowery neighborhood in the city. Gold Star Wing Girl says it’s like I live in a cupcake, and I have a back terrace that’s so private it may as well be another room. Saturday was so perfect, the sun so warm and the air so lilac-scented, it seemed like a good place to see where I was with my old friend, nudism. Only the cats would be able to see me, and they were too busy sunning themselves and chasing flies to care.

The vine covered walls and perfect square of blue May cartoon sky were so encouraging. I changed into my pink fuzzy robe, sat down in my cute turquoise Adirondack chair, and gave some naked Saturday-afternoon reading a try.

I can’t imagine why it felt bad, certainly nothing bad happened—what even COULD have? My heart raced in an unpleasant way and I had clothes back on in minutes. Such a harmless, pleasant idea cast the day in this weird darkness, which luckily I could walk off in the gorgeous neighboring woods. (Maybe I’ve at least made my home a little more Festival-like, now that I think of it.)

Experienced and self-aware as I’ve managed to become, I’m vexingly at a loss as to how to express my sexy side. Sometimes it feels as though the trauma work I did last year took away more than it gave, or maybe it’s the trauma OF work still sticking with me and wanting me to pile on the shelter. I don’t know.

Today at church, we were doing the rites of spring, and the minister was shyly wading through the bawdier aspects of Beltane. The friends I was sitting with joined me in emphatic applause each time he mentioned the sexytimes rites of spring, as he, in his own very much clothed way, admitted that the world NEEDS naked shenanigans. (If I haven’t mentioned it lately, Unitarians are awesome.) So I know from the forcefulness of my applause that I am still aligned with wanting to romp naked in a field, I just can’t seem to want to do it.

As I’ve been working to convert the blog into a book, I’ve had to fight the feeling that the story doesn’t belong to me anymore, or I don’t belong to it. I struggle to feel entitled to it because I ended up writing it as an outsider. I wanted so much to serve you, but by the end (and I’m remembering that this was the point of the story in the first place) I could only end up serving myself. My somewhat disappointingly boring self.

The way the sermon ended felt oddly personal to me. Inspired by the Song of Songs, the minister gave us the go ahead to spout whatever love we had—“If it’s flowery, if it’s corny, that probably means it’s good.” He said there is a time to leave one’s love-nest behind and go out into the world and convert the love into other kinds of goodness.


On the way home from church, I felt lonely, maybe because my brunch pals aren’t around this week, but maybe lonely for the parts of myself I can’t currently access or express. I have such a deep love for my adventures. I miss them like camp friends who rarely keep in touch, but who save me and influence me and cross my mind all the time. I’ve felt little slivers of my sexual self coming back, and I’m curious and impatient to see what form it will take. All I know to do is write the book, so I don’t think I have any choice.