“What the hell was that?!”
These were the first words out of my boss’s mouth to kick off our private and impromptu post-event rap session on Sunday night.
It was a valid question. The event, long known by everyone in the company to be the largest and most difficult and time consuming show of our calendar of events, had just happened and was rife with…unexpected complications.
Of course there were the expected ones I’ve grown mostly used to…incessant hotel and performer questions, snafus, on-the-fly changes, and a million decisions to be made while a few hundred people over the course of the weekend want to talk, hug, complain, congratulate, and so much more. And there were the personal complications I was expecting, given there were a LOT of poly and D/s threads crossing to weave an interesting and complex tapestry of feelings over the course of the event, some for the first time in person. Which, holy hell, that latter thing…I wish I had adequate words for it but that required separate writing.
But no. What my boss was talking about was all of the unforeseen complications. The ceaseless winds and weather that blew through, so much so that the the Midway and Courtyard outdoor areas had to be shut down AND evacuated on Saturday. The busiest day of the event. And as if that weren’t enough, I had to relocate a wedding that was supposed to take place outside, to an indoor space, during the evacuation, during an event that I had packed to the gills and scheduled out the wazoo, so the fact that I had an open spot for the wedding and found it, relocated it, reset the room, and helped find live music since they could no longer play their pre-recorded music was a bit of a minor miracle.
He was talking about the people, some of whom told us they weren’t coming and some of whom we told could no longer come, who showed up and rocked some worlds.
I know he was talking about the feeling of difficult social and business situations that took a few of us completely by surprise and seemed to be completely counter to many years of previous experiences. Some of them fucked up our days and nights way more than we wanted to.
It’s likely he was also talking about the utter frustration that many people felt with the crazy bizarre traffic problems that started long before our President was supposed to be the speaker at Rutgers graduation a few miles up the road, causing the closures of most major roads around us for the afternoon.
Perhaps he was referencing the fact that one of the cast of his musical that was premiering was unsure of her ability to perform for health reasons, apparently right up until the day of the performance (but thankfully did, and from what I hear, rocked it.)
Maybe also there was reference to the entirely ironic mishaps that happened. And maybe it was all of the above and more.
It was a bizarre event, even for being the biggest and most time consuming and most difficult of our year.
I didn’t have an adequate answer for him then but I did by the next morning.
We leveled up.
The winds of change blew through with all their might, and outside (and inside) forces tested us, and we fought back as a team and leveled the fuck up.
There’s an giddiness to this revelation. That rush of “we did it!” that feels so good. I’m incredibly proud of my husband for leading the staff through it, and I’m proud of my team and myself (the latter of which is hard to say, but I’m trying) for handling programming as well as we did, and I’m proud of everyone else, too.
There were coworkers who showed immense growth over the course of the weekend and I’m so happy for them and glad I got to witness it. There were those who continued to shine as bright as I know they can. There were people who made mistakes (myself included) but busted their asses to make up for it and went above and beyond and I’m truly grateful. We truly rallied in the face of some bizarre shit, new life happening, and all the regular craziness. These are all the positive parts of leveling up. That camaraderie of joining together to accomplish a major goal.
Then, there’s the aftermath of leveling up.
I’ve been living this since Sunday.
You no longer are fighting and giving all your energy for that goal because you met that goal and are now past the finish line. The confetti is all thrown and there’s a mess on the ground. It’s time to go pack everything, go home, and sleep. And when you wake up on Monday, you realize…everything is different.
You’re in a new world.
One you don’t recognize. The things you became accustomed to, even though you fought not to, no longer happen. The terrain has changed. There are new goals that you now have to scramble to understand or be left behind. The rallying support and close proximity of people you spent so much intense time together with, working towards that common goal, is over and everyone has gone back to their other worlds.
I mean, it’s not terribly bleak. Not entirely. You still have those people. But mostly online.
You can’t turn the corner and be met with a hug from someone you haven’t seen in a long time and just be so happy to see them. You can’t catch someone’s eye and get a jolt of energy to know you can do a thing (or all the things) that’s hard. You can’t walk into a room and hear a song and see a dear friend and have a dance party to release all the bad shit you’ve been carrying. You can’t walk outside and see a rainbow and feel a crowd of dozens of people just collectively smile and yell “rainbow!”. You don’t know the next time you’ll be able to do certain things and it just…hurts. The sudden loss. The newness of life right now.
In many ways, I’m truly blessed to have the job I do. It’s heaven for a service-oriented submissive. I get to help people, make their dreams come true, make things happen, help create playgrounds that bring together people so they can wave their freak flags together and have a blast. But the thing is…I put so much energy into all that. Doing so much for other people. And I’m grateful that the feedback I’m getting is mostly good. People tell me I’m amazing and given the people saying it, it’s humbling. I don’t take it lightly. I’m more than grateful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded to grow into this position, and the people with whom I’ve crossed paths.
The flip side of it is…I’m currently feeling very needy. I’m in the middle of at least five different emotionally difficult situations, some professional, some personal, and I’m drowning trying to navigate them all. Work is on fast forward. And I’m burning for attention I just can’t get right now.
I want to be taken care of. I want to be held and for someone to tell me it’s going to be okay. I’ve poured so much out and am now so thirsty for…like a massive dose of aftercare. And this new level…doesn’t have much right now. For various life reasons, I can’t get the interaction and connection I crave from the people I crave it from to ground out and fortify for the next world.
There have been people coming out of the woodwork to help and support me, and for that I’m very thankful. It doesn’t touch the core hunger, but it helps soothe the ache some and reminds me that there are other ways to refortify.
But still…things like going to the local BDSM club nearly had me in tears as I watched people…the sub who sampled things (it’s a Sample Your Fantasy weekend) and the Dom who touched her and reassured her throughout the night. The Domme who held her sub’s hand and brought her around to stations and made clear communication with the person doing the demo on her sub about what was and wasn’t good. The checking in. The connection. The desire. The touch.
Even though I had a brief knife demo done on me, I walked around with a chasm in my heart. Sampling your fantasy for me was a stroll down memory lane. I’d done everything there that people were just learning about. I remember scenes I’d had (some recently), experiences I longed for, toys I have that haven’t seen the light of day in far too long. The memories flooded in and it was all I could do not start crying. Thankfully I was able to hold off until the ride home.
I’m feeling very lonely lately. Bereft. My husband is not abiding by one of our few rules and I…can’t make him. He’s got his own event experience to come down off of. I’ve tried hinting. I’ve tried talking. I’ve tried pushing. It basically all led to a horrific, nearly disastrous fight last night. We’re better, but there’s still a lot of hurt and more complications and gulf and I’m still…even moreso…aching. Raw.
This new world is cold and barren so far and it’s hard to traverse. Like Super Mario World and that damn ice level in the secret star world. I wasn’t ready for it. I know I’ll get better as time goes on. As I learn more about the world and what I can and can’t do. As I travel deeper into it. Maybe it’ll get warmer. Maybe I’ll knock a box with my head and a fireflower will pop out so I can make things warmer and brighter. Maybe I’ll learn how to just fucking run and glide instead of trying to take it slowly and falling on my face each time. Mostly, though, I want a certain type of reassurance and connection. A shoulder to cry on, a look to make me surrender, a physical release.
And Yoshi. I could use the companionship and I have a feeling Yoshi would be great for this level.