Altering our Perspectives of Normal

Sunset on the first night of Joshua Tree Music Festival, October 2015.

Nothing makes me want to have a family more than thinking about the first time I’ll be able to bring my kids to their first festival. We are going to be in a constant game of dress up and go to kids yoga and look at psychedelic art together and dance all damn day.  

Being a part of this type of accepting environment, even if just for a couple weekends out of the year, gives one an appreciation for ‘weird’ and perhaps, even better, a full on dismissal of the word. 

Filling my existence to the brim for the past couple summers with festivals has done wonders in ridding myself of so many elements of social apprehensiveness that I once experienced. You could find me dancing like a mad a women in between shifts and I would most definitely be sporting chicken grease, gray water, and bright red lipstick. 

One common feeling I’ve heard expressed time a time again though has stuck out to me. It’s involving the concept that each festival, no matter how many days or where it is, is somehow this fairy tale of a place and that afterwards we will all be returning to our own respective realities, disconnected the moment we drive away until the next time we run away again. I resent this because I feel like it neglects to acknowledge the ability to create fun-loving freedom from within and even takes for granted the authenticity of such gatherings. 

I would receive that expression a lot and it would be filled with a bit of jealousy because I worked in that world, as if I was so lucky that it was my reality and I didn’t have to leave it but for maybe a day or so to drive to the next fairy tale land. But long days, standing over a hot grill for hours, long drives, gas station coffee, no time for laundry, and very little time or space for myself was also a part of my reality. 

I am blessed. No arguments there. But I feel that always. Even now, as I sit writing from a coffee shop in Norman, OK, while waiting for the go ahead to move in to a teeny tiny apartment for the next six months.  

People don’t necessarily consider Oklahoma a desirable destination to be, and the responses I get from people on the road after getting to know me and then discovering it’s where I’m born and raised are hilarious. Usually people look at me like I’m a zoo animal and they’re wondering how I managed to escape my cage. 

Yeah, Oklahoma has it’s issues. California friends, you’re going to have to keep your pipes put away when you visit me. To my fellow goddesses, you’re going to make some people feel uncomfortable and even offended with the ease at which you are in your own skin. I get funny looks every time I pull up on campus corner in my big white van that I’ve lived in for the past six months or when someone notices I don’t regularly shave my armpits. 

But then again, I also paid $3.66 for a double whiskey ginger the other day. My chiropractor just decides to charge me half price sometimes when he feels like I seem stressed or anxious. And last week, I drove ten minutes from downtown Norman to get a clear view of the Taurid Meteor Shower. Sometimes, the little things really add up and it just depends on how you choose to look at it.

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