In Kitsi’s writing class we often do guided visualizations. It’s an exercise where we sit still and meditate while she paints a scene for us to walk into in our mind’s eye. There is this one where me must think of ourselves as a small child or young adult, and then call to mind a traumatic event; a moment of great sadness, pain or loss. We are asked to go inside this moment and have a conversation with our child selves; a chance to offer words of wisdom, comfort and council. Then we are asked to part with our child selves and travel into the future to our elder selves. This time we present an issue seeking insight and guidance. Afterwards we do a 10 minute free write.
At Firefly music fest it felt like I was inside this exercise for the entire weekend. Only my 28-year-old self was observing and questioning my 22-year-old self wondering what I found so appealing about music festivals then and why I was disgusted now. Below is a scattering of scenes from the weekend, exposing the underbelly of the beast:
* * Friday night at a concert we get squished together like sardines in a can. I look back wanting air and meet the gaze of a towering muscle head type man that smells of booze and testosterone. He grins and winks at me. His gaze shifts to my backside smiling in approval as if it’s a piece of chicken on his dinner plate. By the second song the crowd closes in so that I can feel macho man’s breath on my neck. I spin around to say something and see a girl’s foot drop from the crowd’s hands stomping my girlfriend in the face. Her boyfriend pushes the crowd surfer away as I see the ridges of a muddy shoe imprint her eye like a patch. * *
* * I watch one girl after another move through the crowd with plastic flower headbands wrapped around their foreheads trying to emulate the “hippies”. I want to interview each girl and ask if they know those headbands use to be handmade with real flowers and were symbolic of a much larger movement. * *
* * At least every half hour I watch someone toss an empty can or piece of trash onto Mother Earth’s ground with a shrug of indifference. And almost every single time a trash can is less than 15 feet away. * *
* * Early in the morning I overhear this conversation from a group of neighboring men:
-Hey John which one did you go home with: yellow shorts or white pants?
-What was her name again?
-Beats the shit out of me. I try not to know their names if I bang them. * *
In my reflection writing I criticized my 22-year-old self for everything she ever did, every wild night she had ever participated in, branding her with a scarlet letter as if I were priest on a pulpit until my pen finally stopped. I took a breath and my 22-year-old self laughed back at me, “Stop being so hard on yourself. We were never really a part of this scene or any scene for that matter. The same things that aggravate you now aggravated me then. It was always about the music.” After some time I identified the root of my frustration and wrote in big bubble letters: Conscientious Living.
A Warrior Princess
Ps. Trust me this trip also had a bunch of great fun memories.