Good morrow, good gentles, and how fare ye this day?
I mean, uh... hey guys! So this may sound a bit like an advertisement, but only cause I really, REALLY love what I do and I tend to have this thought that everyone else in the world should love it to. Will love it, if they just come out and play with me. I realize this is not the case, but nevertheless I can't resist waxing poetic about the whole thing from time to time.
Now, I started wanting to go to a Ren Faire back in elementary school, first went in high school (rented costume the first year, then bought a bodice my second time), and knew I just HAD to participate after reading Camryn Manheim's book, Wake Up - I'm Fat! In it, she talks about coming of age at Faire as Chloe Blue Eyes (forgive me if the details are off... it's been like 10 years since I read this book), and it being this mecca of fat acceptance, where her fat body was finally OK and all around her were other self-loving rad fatties in bodices and whatnot.
I bought a bodice on my second visit to the Ren Faire (approx. 1997). Shopping for my first bodice was an amazing experience. There were choices in my size, the cute young lad salesman flirted or at least bantered while he laced me up, and my final selection was... wait for it... a beautiful jewel-toned velvet bodice and a deep purple gauzy top (I'd made my own skirt)! I promptly decided that a bodice was just about the most flattering piece of clothing for my body type ever invented - it pushed all the "right" things in all the "right" places and made me feel great! (And yes, I realize this implies that my body is not "right" in its natural state. I'm getting to that.)
Fast forward about 6 years. I've now finished high school, gone away to college for four years, graduated, and am finally in the right place at the right time to become a Renaissance Faire participant! The Faire is in a new location, Casa de Fruta in Gilroy/Hollister area - much closer to my home, and I proudly set out the first day of workshops to join the Faire. And of course nothing is a simple as a mecca of fat acceptance. Perhaps times have changed, or perhaps Chloe Blue Eyes wore some rose-colored glasses, or... who knows. But while Faire is my home away from home, my 2nd family, it's not any kind of mecca. Several of my guild-mates have had gastric bypass surgery (fairly to very successfully - not just in weight loss but in lack of side effects - which is perpetuating more and more in that circle of friends to consider it for themselves), which means there are some pretty major land mines to avoid. All the stars of all the shows are slim, or "appropriately" curved but still what I would consider slender/socially acceptable. But there are also awesome young women and men of diverse body sizes rocking it out in all their different roles, and unafraid to bare some skin after hours in fairy costumes or princess costumes, tummies and all. And though it's not the mecca I dreamed of, it's family... and well in the range of acceptable dysfunction for a family gathering!
This post is now officially WAY too long, and I still haven't told you about my 2nd Ren Faire costume, or my current one. That will have to wait for a future post, I guess.