This past weekend I was going to be a demo/model/performance partner for an old friend that was coming to Cincinnati for a small rope con. It was a last minute thing that was falling together perfectly, and I was super excited to see him as it’s been over a year and we don’t run into each other very often at all. Yep, everything was shaping up to be a fantastic weekend. Well, Friday morning I get a message from him…. his flight’s been cancelled due to the weather that’s hitting the east coast and they’re not going to be able to get him in for the event. FUCK!!!! Let me tell you, some not insignificant plans were dashed for the weekend. He suggests that I look into whether I can still go, and that cheers me up a touch and gets the wheels turning in my head….
I’m starting to play with topping in rope these days, and even before things went south I was thinking of trying to pack in some tying between when he would need me. Maybe this would open up the entire time so I could improve my mad skills? “But wait! I don’t have a bottom. I don’t necessarily have a place to sleep. I don’t know if I’ll still be comped to get in, and if I can’t, will I be able to buy a ticket at this late hour?” FUCK AGAIN!!!! I send the event organizer a message asking if I’ll still be able to attend, and when he gets back to me I’m excited that I can, but am still unsure how the hell I’m going to approach the weekend – like, do I even want to go at all? I was traveling down that way to spend the night doing lab time/girl talk with my rope partner anyway, so after work I decided to just throw the bags I’d already packed in the car and think about it more on the drive down.
Up until halfway through the drive I still had no clue what I was going to do, and I was just about to give up on it all and plan to drive back home in the morning after my rope date. And then some stuff popped into my head; at first just fuzzy thoughts, but they gradually became much, much clearer: What I ended up with was something like “linworth, you have always grown way more than you could have hoped for when you’ve thrown yourself into unpredictable situations. You’ve always gained the most when you’ve thrown yourself into the fire and flown by the seat of your pants.” I thought about it for a hot second, and it sunk in how very true that is. When I have traveled places by myself in the past (right now I’m thinking of when I went to Paris, my first year at Toronto MBE, and a few cons I attended without my ex-husband back when we were still together) I have been free to experience everything with a higher level of introspection than I would with a partner or in a group. I absorb and learn more. I have to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to interact with my environment. Driving southbound I realized that this last scenario was certainly true – I was mildly scared of all of the unknown aspects of how a weekend like this alone would be. I was worried about what I would do when and with whom, and how silly I would look being there without my snowed in partner. Not to mention if I wanted to work on my topping skills how it would look while I was fumbling with my rope. Then another realization: “linworth, there are going to be people there that love you and want to see you grow in your rope journey, not to mention as a person.” I remembered that my Columbus rope family and my extended rope family were going to be there, and that they would be my support if I should need one.
So. I did my original plan of rope date/girl talk Friday night and had an amazing time with that as always. Saturday morning I woke up extra early and got ready to dive in. I got to the space before anyone (except for the people running the event) and decided to do yoga in a quiet side room for a while, which always clears my head and puts me in an optimistic headspace. And then….. I jumped into the fray! I tied, I bottomed, I shared, I connected, and I grew.
Being by myself opened up the opportunity to talk to some people that I’ve always wanted to get to know better, both as ropefolk, but also as human beings. It also let me focus on my tying, and it let me reflect upon my experience with bottoming. Now I know that these things can happen when you’re partnered at an event, but going stag has it’s own unique flavor and a whole different way of absorbing things. But more than this, flying solo lets me soar, and this weekend it helped me to do it again, remembering that I still have wings despite everything I’ve been through in the last year. As I was driving home I did the whole, “Hey, this thing A, thing B, and thing C…. All of these things were great about this weekend!” thought process thing. But then I had my third epiphany for the weekend: “Maybe you did so well during your time there because you’re receptive to experience. And hell, maybe you’re just awesome!” You see, I ran into a few folks that had some very affirming words to say while I was down in Cinci. I, on occasion, will have people give me compliments, but I was bombarded with them this weekend. I don’t always know how to handle that except with a timid smile and a thank you, especially when it comes in large quantities. I wouldn’t say I have self confidence issues, I just have a hard time understanding why anyone would think I’m at all extraordinary. I’m just me and I do what I do, and I’m nothing all that special. There are bottoms out there that could simultaneously kick my ass while spinning upside down from a single ankle tie with an ass hook attached to a motor boat going down the Ohio River, all the while giving a lecture on rope negotiations and putting a hip harness on themselves. There are fucking rockstars out there that make my jaw drop with their ropey wisdom. Me, I can sit in a circle of bottoms and talk about what I’ve experienced, and can put an intelligent presentation together on occasion. I’m quiet, and I’m okay with that. As a result I guess I just don’t expect people to notice me that much, and I’m okay with that too.
But back to the point. This weekend I realized that I am indeed special. I realized that it isn’t just my partners and close friends who love me, or me who loves me for that matter. But my extended chosen family and community – they love me too. And in realizing this my not-so-little heart grew five times and filled my chest until I thought it would burst. I started crying and laughing while driving northbound on I-71. They were tears of gratefulness for this community in which I belong, am accepted, and am encouraged to grow. I was so happy to realize again that I can stand on my own two feet and be an amazing person. Through happy tears I told myself that I was going to continue with my creative endeavors and self-exploration, and that I’m not going to be afraid to share that with anyone willing to see. I am going to be my Authentic Self, and I am going to pay what I have received forward because I am strong, blessed, and awesome enough to do so.
A few hours after getting home and settled in, a newish partner of sorts came over and we cuddled and talked for a good while, unpacking this wonderful weekend. He made me look at him and said, “linworth, you’re a rockstar,” knowing I would blush as usual and not know what to say. I timidly smiled and said thank you, but not without telling him he was very silly first.