Gratitude

The weeks between Battlemoor and Coronation were a rush and a flurry, a headlong dash down a to-do list of terrifying proportions. I didn’t have time to think, and if I had, I might have frozen up and not gotten through.

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Since I came home, I’ve had nothing but time to think. I’m working on a couple of small projects, when I feel like it. Reading and sleeping a lot. Putting my house back in order. I took two weeks just to completely unload the truck.

Looking back, I realize I’ve had a lot of conversations this year that led directly to this place. What does it mean to be a Peer? What does it mean to be elevated? The always-fraught Why do you want to be a Peer?

I despise the “never say you want the cookie” framing, I think it breeds disingenuity and resentment, but this question always made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to seem insincere by disavowing the desire, but it was never about desire for me.

I always knew that elevation was a possibility, and that I have things to bring to the circle; but I also knew that it not happening was a possibility, and I was comfortable in my knowledge that I have things to bring to the game outside the circle too. Really, I just didn’t actually think about it that much.

What I thought about, much more, was living in the game, in this community of people. The opportunity to practice my art and do my research and form these relationships and have these conversations. How I could leverage whatever rank and social power I already posessed at any given moment to make the game better, more inclusive, more joyful.

It has always been about gratitude. Gratitude for a place where I felt I belonged. For people who understand me. For inspiration. For discovery. For celebration. For the wine and the firelight. For the companions on the journey, and the warm welcome at the destination.

Nothing has ever, ever come easy for me. I have never taken the well-lit path, I’ve always been the odd one out, even within the countercultures and geek communities where I’ve always made my home. The SCA – the particular intersection of research geekery, artisanship, volunteerism, creative play, storytelling, athletics, and extended found family – is the only thing I’ve ever encountered that not just made sense to me, but made sense of me. The SCA gets me. It’s the only place in my life I don’t feel like I’m fighting the current all the time.

When I ask myself, as I have over and over again in these weeks, why they made me a Laurel, I come back to this – this feeling of rightness, of being in the place I belong, doing the work I’m supposed to be doing, communicating that work to people who appreciate it, not just accepted but embraced for who I am.

Every day is paying forward that blessing.

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