Clue: "Also? Something else I could use help with. We have an erotic rope artist who's taking a slot on Friday and Saturday nights. He'll have a model for the Friday night one, but we might need to find him a bondee for the Saturday night show."
Me: "Is this Lee?"
Clue: "Now I am hitting the wall on that one, because I'm not deep enough into the Scene to just ask someone up here[...]Yeah, this is Lee."
Me: "I can do it."
There are things you should know.
1. I have never done suspension ever.
2. I have never been tied up outside the bedroom before at all.
3. I have not been onstage in sixteen years.
If you've been following me, you know that I've been contemplating burlesque classes, but I keep pulling away; sixteen years is a lot to get past. Apparently what it takes for me to get past it is simply "we need this to happen for the show to come off properly". Suffice to say I did a lot I'd never thought of doing just automatically during this process just because it needed to happen and I could do it. So my thought process was "Are we likely to find someone else on short notice? Am I physically capable of this? Do I trust Lee?" The answers were no, yes, and yes, so I instantly agreed.
And then realized what I had done. **laugh**
Fortunately, I was crazybusy enough that I had no time to dwell. The nature and song and day of the performance fluctuated wildly, and I just nodded and said "okay" and rolled with it, which was sort of the theme of the convention, that things are changing every second and you just need to be light on your toes and dance the chaos.
The performance was changed from Friday to Saturday night, during Tricky Pixie's set, and instead of "The List Falls Away" - "Tam Lin".
I swear my heart skipped a beat.
"Tam Lin", which I have this tremendous emotional connection to. "Tam Lin", in October. "Tam Lin". O, loves, I brought my green mantle.
We did not have the tripod I'd be suspended from. We did not have time to rehearse - and my performance background is ballet, is acting, is me needing to know that I leap here, that I face the audience there; all of my training is for following patterns and instructions, and all we had time to do was improvise. Lee and I met briefly on Saturday and listened to the song twice all the way through, and plotted out ideas that would by necessity stay fluid and changeable, because we wouldn't know how long it would take to get me on the tripod, et cetera. Essentially, he tried the chest harness on me a few different ways, we pitched general ideas, and we wandered off to dinner.
And I did my level best to not flail! Terribly terribly nervous you have no idea. The nervous of sixteen years, the nervous of what if I look like shit up there next to Lee's grace, what if I fuck up, what if I just embarrass the hell out of myself... and I got the setlist from s00j and of course we are the finale, of course. And right before us, epic gorgeous "Come to the Labyrinth" in glorious four-part harmony as slipjig describes here. Pure magic. And I am to follow that? How can I?
s00j called Sharon Knight and Heather Dale up to the stage. Epic lineup. I took my position, heart thundering so hard I'd not've been surprised if you could see it outside my corset. Whatifwhatifwhatif.
And the song began, and upon Janet's approach to Carterhaugh, I walked out to the tripod frame -
- and the audience was gone, and it was just me and Lee.
I have tears in my eyes recalling this. Because of all of the possible outcomes, this is one that I never considered - that I would fall effortlessly into character, that it would be as if I had never left the stage, sixteen years set gently aside.
I had never realized that this was a thing I set aside.
I read my story "Fortune", by request, at my reading on Sunday; it ends with the knowledge that when everything has been taken from you, you have the freedom to choose what you pick back up, what you take with you. And for the first years of Elayna's life, she was everything; I did not write, I was not who you know now, everything was her and not me. Slowly I moved to her-and-me; if a mother is not herself, does not live her truth and her life, what mesage is she teaching? So I wore glitter and feathers, I wrote, I redefined myself.
But years of dance and acting and it was not just a thing I had not picked back up, but I had never, never, realized that I had set it down.
I picked it back up. And this, too, is me.
I plucked the rose, and Lee seized me from behind, and there was no one but us, no one, and the magnificent fear and desire and tension we held and sustained.
O, you have no idea.
Another thing I learned is that I can stay in character in the event of rope failure! *laugh* Adam and Elayna were in position to see what actually happened, but a few others thought my leg just slipped out of the rope, and no, and I want to tell you what happened so you know it wasn't that I was tied incorrectly, because Lee fucking rocks and did everything right! What happened was that he tied the chest harness to the tripod, tied up my left leg, spun me, tied up my right leg, flipped me upside down with both legs tied to the top of the tripod -
- and the fabric (upon which was written all of the lyrics, btw) tore right up at the top, sending my right leg back down.
So I had a moment of "Hey, I'm falling. But Lee will catch me." Of course, he did, and several people even thought that was part of the routine, so I have faith that we handled it well!
We kept going; I flying-squirrel tackled him with my mantle, and he thrashed beneath it, and we confronted fearsome faerie-queen s00j, and I comforted my Tam Lin; and we did. not. kiss, we held the tension, and he danced me offstage, binding me once again -
- and immediately upon arrival in the wings, I plopped down on my butt and had a tension-release gigglefit as I extracted my right leg from the trailing fabric. Which I think amused the hell out of aquila_dominus and Lee.
I could not get back down the aisle for all the hugs, and I swear, I was beyond processing information at that point. I must've asked people if I really did okay a thousand times. Because I know that what Lee and I were doing up there felt like we did it right, and I know Lee is awesome, but I know I haven't done anything like that before ever - rope bondage outside the bedroom or suspension at all or improvisation - and haven't been onstage at all in sixteen years, so "Really? I did not fuck up? Really? It is conceivable that I did okay?"
The fact that I fell right back into that headspace, the performer headspace, when I was up there - it gives me a lot to think about. All good.
To everyone who was there, and most especially s00j and Lee - thank you, thank you, thank you. You have unlocked things in me. I have a part of me back. Everything changes from here.