So you’ve heard about Summer Camp, or at least, about how I met the boy there. And you heard about what happened at Fusion this year, which will give you a little more context (and a photo!) for the beautiful camp where the Dark Odyssey summer events are held.
Have you thought about attending?
In a purely selfish move (because I am completely invested in having very, very sexy hot queer, butch, femme, genderqueer, trans, and gender-aware folks in attendance) I want to extend you an invitation to come this year.
(And yes, that is the kind of come I mean, pervert.)
They’re starting to call it “Dark Odyssey’s intimate family reunion,” and aside from that, it’s the most queer of the four events that DO runs. Or at least, it seems the most queer to me—it’s the smallest, so the ratio of number of queers to general perverts is bigger.
I have been kinky for a long time, since before I was really out and queer even, but my experiences with the leather and kink communities when I was young led me to believe that that world wasn’t really for me. Seems a lot has changed in the last ten (gulp—fifteen) years, though, and I’m really glad I took the chance and went to Summer Camp last year. It’s introduced me to the leather world in a way that I didn’t even know I was missing, but of course that’s part of me and what I do. Being immersed in it for a whole weekend has changed how I interact with kink and leather worlds, and I’ve attended a lot more events, meetings, workshops, and conferences in the past year than I have before.
But, want to know a secret? Summer Camp is still my favorite.
Not only because of that cute boy and that we met there (and will be celebrating one year together there this year), but also because it’s queer, casual, so gender-accepting, full of sexy people, full of amazing workshops (that I swear I will attend more of this time), full of tons of equipment to play on … and OUTSIDE! I love listening to the trees and watching folks wander around outside topless (or completely nude), love the fire pits in the evening.
Details from Dark Odyssey:
Beat the heat and the rate increase and bring your summer to a climax with Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp 2012! Our Early Registration rates are still available if you register this weekend!
Summer Camp is Dark Odyssey’s intimate family reunion. A place where, surrounded by other experienced players, you can go deeper and more intense than anywhere else. All happening in an immersive play-centered atmosphere that blends our darkest desires with the fun and whimsy you’d expect from someplace called “Summer Camp.”
We’ve got a fabulous line up of events, presenters and workshops that you won’t want to miss:
Events Include: The Full Monte Carlo Kinky Casino & Auction ~ Cruising in the Dark ~ Whose Kink Is It Anyway – a lifestyle improv show ~ The Asylum of Love & Lust ~ Kinky Crafting Fair ~ Explore & Taste ~ Jim Deuder’s Bootblack Hour ~ Switch It Up! ~ Erotic Massage Party ~ Sex-O-Rama Night ~ Bare Stories ~ Breakup Bonfire ~ Guided Anal Self Exploration
Presenters: Capt. Gordon ~ Del ~ Finn ~ Fire Tashlin ~ Jefferson ~ Jim Deuder ~ Lee Harrington ~ Lolita Wolf ~ Murphy Blue ~ Slutress ~ Sinclair Sexsmith ~ Sir C ~ Strap-On-Jo ~ Vesper ~ Wintersong
Selected Workshops: Water Wrasslin’ ~ Needleplay as S/M ~ Sewing It Shut ~ Art of the Not-So-Deep Throat ~ Chewtoy – Erotic Biting ~ Going Deep ~ Shapeshifter: A Journey in Astral Gender and Desire ~ Sensory Deprivation & Control ~ Hojojutsu and Take Down for the BDSM Practitioner ~ Fucking Forever: Sex in Long Term Relationships ~ Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Sex Ed ~ Plays Well With Others ~ Rough Housing & Kinky Wrestling ~ Improv in the Dungeon: From Roleplay to Dirty Talk ~ Event Survival ~ Hands-On Caning ~ GenderQueer Bondage ~ Hot Stuff: Fire Play ~ Predicament Scenes ~ Cock Confidence: Strap-On 101 ~ First Impressions: How Not to be a Douchebag ~ David vs Goliath: Rough Body Play for Tops and Bottoms of Different Sizes ~ Talk Dirtier ~ Speed Bondage ~ And Plenty More …
Did you spy my workshops up there in that list? I’ll be teaching:
Fucking Forever: Sex in Long Term Relationships
New relationship energy can propel a couple into a phenomenal experiential phase of sexual energy—bursts of passion, exploration, and intensity. Long term relationships, however, face the day-to-day life navigation of bills, scheduling, job and career difficulties or changes, disappointments, changes, and grief. How do we build a long term relationship that keeps the passion alive? How do we ensure we have enough time for our partner(s), and for ourselves? How do we both separate from our partner to have our own rich inner life and come back together to build a loving bond? And what kind of kinky play can be used to keep the fire going? We’ll explore all of these concepts and more at this interactive workshop.
Cock Confidence: Strap-On 101
Many of us have experience with strapping on, packing, and playing, but there are lots of new products out there on the market that might be exciting and that you haven’t encountered yet. Writer and sex educator Sinclair Sexsmith talk about what cocks are good for packing, what options are out there for pack-and-play, which harnesses are the most loved, and which to avoid. Plus, we’ll delve into some cock confidence, getting into the psychology of penetration, and discussing what it’s like to shoot from the hip. Come get the nuts and bolts of strapping it on and fucking. You’ll learn about positions and lube, how different products work, what “cock confidence” means, and the psychology behind strapping on and playing with a cock with a partner, or with oneself.
Talk Dirtier: How to Let Your Tongue Go
Talking dirty in the bedroom can be terrifying at first, but once you unlock your tongue, you’ll find yourself saying all sorts of delicious things! Come to this workshop and we’ll figure out what’s tying our tongues in the first place, what’s holding us back from being more free with our language in the bedroom, and what the heck we should say to enhance our sex and intensity our sensation. The brain is the biggest sex organ, after all, and the more we can turn on our minds, the better our experiences will be.
Flirting, Foreplay, & Fucking
We all want to get laid. But making it happen in real life can be a lot harder than we want it to be. Do you wish more people would hit on you? How do you make yourself more available? We can all use some practice asking for what we want, but how do you escalate from flirting to foreplay and foreplay to fucking? Learn to perfect the art of the tease, draw out your potential lover’s interest, and make sex even hotter in the process.
It started with an email with the subject line “butch at your service,” and an offer for a blow job. And I thought, hm. Well, you know, I do like those. But I’m not usually attracted to boys. So, we’ll see.
Then at Summer Camp, rife made a point to say hello. We chatted a bit, attended similar workshops. I was surprisingly affected by his energy, his tender sweetness, the way he was clear about what he wanted and owned his desires but still bashful and shy, submissive. I watched him blush and bruise and cringe, and take it, when the person he was serving for the weekend gave him some punches on the arm, and I felt the urge come from down low to see if I could make him respond to me that way.
I’m not usually attracted to boys, but I was attracted to this boy.
The next day, chatting, he said shyly, “What’s your schedule like? I would love the opportunity to play with you.” He wasn’t looking at me when he asked that, and had trouble sometimes maintaining eye contact when we spoke. When I came near him, his voice dropped, quieter, and so did his eyes. His mouth curled at the corner with the slightest little lines of dimples.
I said, “I don’t know my schedule yet, and I need to check with my girl, but I would like that.” Kristen and I had agreed that I could do things to practice skills before she came down and joined me at Summer Camp for the weekend, but that if I was going to be doing any fucking, I would wait until she arrived, and she could be there to witness.
I could tell he was experienced as I watched him get hit for fun, make dates, talk about his adventures at the dining table, and play. I kept my eye on him as I continued teaching and attending classes, and later picked up Kristen at the train station, telling her that I thought I would be interested in playing with him. “He’s really cute,” she said after they met. “I can see why. I don’t have to be involved, but it’s fine with me if you play. I’d like to be there.”
I kept seeing rife all day, but hadn’t quite figured when we could play. In the morning we circled each other and didn’t talk, but I saw him looking at me, and he saw me looking back. The quiet attention got me hard. I made a point to go up to him and grip his upper arm, and whisper in his ear, “Good morning.” Later, I found him at dinner the next night and asked about his evening plans. “See me at the Cigars & Chocolate event,” I said, “and we’ll go do something after.”
He came in after I did, with his crew of folks, and I saw him scan the room looking for me. I got my boots done by a talented bootblacker, smoked a cigar, learned about ashtrays. When the place started thinning out, he came over to me. He and Kristen and I headed up to the barn, which was empty: one big room with a concrete floor, some platform bleachers on one side, and a mat and bondage trestle of sorts in one corner. Kristen sat herself on the bleachers. rife picked up a few unlubricated condoms from the bins laid out on the safer sex table.
I took hold of his unsnapped black shirt lapels, his binder and the skin of his stomach exposed underneath. He inhaled. I pushed with my fists to move him around a little, feeling our legs move together in a dance, feeling how he followed. Immediately he fell in to my direction.
“Anything I should know?”
He didn’t look at me, keeping his chin low and shoulders in a little bit of a shrug, letting me move his body around the room. “Bruises are fine. I like barriers. I’d like to suck your cock.” We said a few more things in negotiation that I can’t quite remember. He was direct and clear, but quiet, keeping his head curled down. I think this is when we kissed. Perhaps I asked if kissing was okay first. Then he asked, “Can I call you sir?”
I grinned. “Yes.”
He shifted his weight and started backing me up, moving me. I followed. “Where are you taking me?”
He stopped at the mat and trestle. “I’m a masochist, but not for concrete floors.” I found the pole of the trestle and leaned against it, pulling him to me and opening his knees a little with mine, finding his mouth again. He shuddered, body pliable, giving in easily and smoothly. There wasn’t a lot of kissing—so intimate with someone I don’t know—but we kept our heads close, him curled into my shoulder while I kept a grip on his body.
“Will you call me a faggot?” he asked quietly into my neck. I didn’t hear, asked him to repeat it.
“That’s what you like, huh, dirty boy.”
“Yes, sir,” he breathed out.
“Unh, god you’re so sweet,” my hands went to my belt, zipper, untucking from my harness. “Are you ready to suck my cock now?”
“Yes,” he didn’t move. I didn’t ask him to do it, but if he was ready.
I fingered the back of his head, his short and soft hair. “Do it,” I growled in his ear, and he dropped to his knees, in a flash had a condom in his hand, rolled it onto the tip and pushed it down the shaft with his mouth. I felt a surge of power and pleasure roll through me, up my legs into my core, as he sucked me in. I fumbled to tighten my harness, moved my hands back to his head.
He took the length of it down easily, his tongue gentle and persistent as he sucked. I leaned into the trestle, aware that Kristen was getting a show, that she doesn’t usually get to watch me receive from afar. I fingered his neck, cupped his jaw, touched his lips with my fingers and he sucked them into his mouth.
After a moment I broke away and leaned down to kiss him, his mouth wet. “You like that, faggot? Sucking my cock?”
“Yes, yes sir,” he managed, gasping a little.
“You’re good at it. Do it again,” and I slid back onto his tongue. “Mm,” I groaned. His hair was almost shaved all around except a wide mohawk patch on top, which I grabbed hold of to work in and out of his mouth, gently. Kind of.
“That is so good,” I leaned down to kiss him again. My cock was throbbing and hard. “You got me all hard, sweet little faggot.”
He swallowed and whispered up to me, “I want you to throw me down.”
“You do huh.” He was on his knees, thrown off balance with not very far to fall when I gripped his upper arms and pushed him to the floor. No fighting at all, just letting my weight take him, grounding him down into the mat. His eyes closed, he bit his lip, curled his small sweet body as he rearranged himself, getting his legs out from under him, and I worked a knee between his thighs. I held his shoulders down and reached between his legs, a little surprised he wasn’t packing, finding the heat and feeling my own cock harden in response, jutting out from my hips.
Small sounds from his mouth as he groaned and pushed against me, testing the feeling of being trapped. I gripped his sports bra and ace bandage binder in one hand over his chest and worked the other hand between his legs, over his jeans, and could feel him bucking forward, wanting more. “That feel good on your dick, huh? Getting hard for me?” I asked. He panted. I realized I didn’t have a glove.
“Stay right here,” I said next to his ear, pushing my body on top of his, my arms holding me up on the mat. “I’m going to get a glove. Put your arms over your head.” He did. “Stay like that. I’ll be right back. You alright?”
He nodded, quickly. I didn’t want to get up but wanted a hand down his pants, wanted to feel him, and trusted that staying in this position I’d ordered him in would only deepen his submission. I stood and took the ten or so steps to the supply table, picked up a glove and some lube packets. I looked at Kristen as I went across the room, but in the dark shadows it was hard to decipher her expression. Upset? Okay? Turned on? All three? I trusted she would tell me if she needed anything.
When I returned, I let myself look at rife a moment before bringing myself back down to the floor. His body quivered a little, waiting for me, arms still extended over his head, one hand in the other. “Hi,” I said as I knelt next to him, my eyes scanning over his black button down shirt open, his tight stomach, smooth skin. I ran my hand along the skin that was exposed and pushed at his body again, felt him groan and shudder in response.
I unbuckled, unzipped his jeans, fast, eager, and pulled them down on his thighs, not past his knees, left them high to give some restriction to his legs and thighs, and then pulled on his hips. “Turn,” I said, impatient. “Over.” He did, flat until I pulled his ass up to kneeling, his elbows out in front of him to catch his body weight as I pushed him down into the mat. My gloved fingers easily found his hole and slid in, one then two, then out again and along the whole length of him, feeling how smooth and supple, testing his responses. He was sensitive, back arching at the slightest change in pressure or speed. I slid my fingers back inside, turned my hand over and worked his g-spot, massaging, and he moaned.
Tearing open a lube packet for my cock, I smeared it onto the length and pressed myself behind him, sliding in awkwardly but fully. My jeans and his jeans were in the way, mine not pushed down any farther than his, our legs tangled, the angle wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t get that good drive, all the way in and out, but I wanted him to feel me behind him for a while, taking hold of his hips and pulling him back onto me. His back and neck arched, spine curled. I managed a building rhythm for four, five, six strokes, pushed my hips hard into him, held him to me, shuddering a little as I felt myself diving into him.
He kept breathing hard, mouth open and drooling on the dirty mat. I gripped his hair again, pushed his shoulders down. “That’s it, good boy,” I murmured, thrusting still, opening him up, my hips pulsing. “Fuck.”
I switched to my hand again so I could better feel his muscles, his responses. Fingered his clit and his back rippled. Thrust in hard and he smashed his cheek into the floor.
“You’re dripping wet,” I growled into his ear. I slid my arm under his chest and pulled him up to his knees. There was a puddle on the mat beneath him, another damp place where his mouth had been on the mat. We knelt next to each other, his knees apart, jeans bunched under his calves.
He nodded in response.
“Yes sir, I’m wet, sir.”
“You didn’t tell me you do that.”
“I’m sorry, sir.”
“No, I like it. I just didn’t know.” The sleeve of my sweater was damp, but I couldn’t tell if it was from him or from sweating. I kissed him again, his mouth open and chest heaving, lips swollen as I ran my tongue on them. I brought my left hand up to his jaw and held him there as we kissed deeper, then slid two fingers into his mouth. He sighed and moaned, swallowed them deeper, bent his head back to open his throat, kept them deep, then slid them in and out.
“Oh, that’s good, faggot. Sweet boy, that is so good.” My own muscles shuddered in response throughout my body, thighs contracting, and for a second I thought I’d fall over. I kept my mouth next to his ear. “Touch your clit with your other hand. Come for me again. Will you?”
He nodded, eyes lidded and mostly closed, and he slowly brought his hand between his legs. I could barely see what he was doing but could feel his body respond, tightening, his stomach crunching in as his hips tightened and thrust, just a little.
“Is that good? Does that feel good?” I teased in his ear. He swallowed and I felt his throat contract around my fingers. “I like being deep in your throat like this. You suck cock really well, little fag. Does it feel good to touch down there? Are you going to come for me again?” I kept going, pushing a little with my voice and my fingers, until his body convulsed and he squirted again, falling against me. “Oh that’s nice, good boy,” I murmured, running my hands along his body as he quieted.
“Is that enough, or do you want some more?”
He straightened up and looked at me, a little sly. “I could … take a little more.”
“Oh, you could, huh.” I could hit him, I thought, but I loved how sensitive he is to touch. Loved how he curls in response, gives in, takes it. I loved watching him come. I pushed him down again, on his back this time, pushed his jeans a little further down, and slid my fingers down his cunt again, still dripping and wet everywhere. I slid two fingers in easily and held his chest down with my forearm, then gripped his binder again, pulling at it, leaning my weight into him.
He held my wrist, groaned. “More,” he managed to say, and I slid another finger in, pushed harder in and out, twisted my hand so my thumb was up on his clit and pinky finger was below his hole, and thrust in. I anchored my hand above his shoulder so I could go in harder. He twisted under me but couldn’t move away from my grip, my knees holding his thighs apart.
“Is that what you wanted? More?”
“Say thank you.”
“Thank you, sir,” he whispered, just barely audible, in my ear.
“Thank you, sir!”
“Again,” as I thrust harder inside, fingering his g-spot, felt him tightening.
“Thank you, sir! Thank you, sir thank you … ” He trailed off, coming again, pushing my fingers out, and I didn’t let up, flicked his clit as he continued shuddering, mouth open so I slid my fingers back in, working them in and out, fucking his mouth and feeling his tongue swollen on my knuckles. I cupped my hand around him for a moment, then tapped and started slapping, which got a moan from his mouth and more convulsing from his stomach and hips, so I kept going, slapping, and I felt him squirt again, wetness dripping from my hand. Probably I was saying other dirty things while I touched him, I don’t remember. This time I got to watch more directly, and that’s what I wanted. I watched his muscles ripple and settle, ran my hands up under his shirt, clamored up next to him to feel his body along mine.
“You smell like a boy,” I said, his musky scent so different than what I’m used to. He laughed, and had this smile on his face by then, a grin, ecstatic and giddy, and I wanted to kiss him, slap his face, get him back on his knees. The hunger was still palpable, I wanted more. I also figured he had other plans, didn’t want to take up his whole night, and knew I should check in with Kristen. He sat up, pulled his shirt and tangled binder off. I tugged my jeans up, took my sweater off, my button down shirt underneath totally soaked through with sweat. I gathered the condom and glove, ripped lube packets, brought them over to the other side of the room, and grabbed some wet wipes for the mat. He took them from my hand, “Let me, I made the mess,” with that shy little side smile with the lines, dimples, at the corners of his mouth, and we composed ourselves to go back out into the dark night.
He walked Kristen and I back up to our room and went off to find trouble. It’s been an interesting experiment, for Kristen and I to play with other people, and we have been talking about it openly and being interested and careful with each other about it. That’s kind of another post I have brewing, how we are dealing with our particular version of monogamish openness. And don’t worry, Kristen wasn’t left out—she had her own adventures during Summer Camp weekend.
Have I mentioned that I’ll be at Summer Camp this year?
I’m really excited to go, I’ve heard about it for years and haven’t been able to attend until now. I’ll be doing four workshops, Cock Confidence, D/s Age Play, Gender Theory, and a Porn Writing Intensive, so I’ve been practicing those this summer. Those camp attendees are no spring chickens!
I’ve finally registered and I’m trying to figure out how this whole cabin choosing thing works … have you been? How do I figure out where to bunk? Are you going this year, do you have a cabin you would like to invite me to be in? It feels a bit daunting.
Here’s the details about the event, in case you are interested in attending. I think it’s going to be a blast.
Imagine a vacation that brings together sexuality, spirituality, education, and play in a fun, diverse environment where fantasy becomes reality.
Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp 2011, a journey of sexual exploration for the spiritual and creative sex-positive communities returns for its eigth year. It will be held at a secluded, two hundred acre retreat in Northern Maryland. Our mission is to cross-pollinate ideas and concepts between groups of individuals who desire to explore different areas of alternative sexuality.
The event, from September 14-19, 2011 will feature dynamic workshops taught by top-notch sex educators, relationship experts, SM masters, and spiritual teachers from around the world, including:
Arli * Annie Earl * Artemis Hunter * Bear * Dylan Ryan * Ignacio Rivera * Lee Harrington * Lolita Wolf * The Marine * MojoDaddy * Mollena Williams * Princess Kali * Sam Martin * Sinclair Sexsmith * Sir C * TTT * Wintersong Tashlin
In addition to workshops, Dark Odyssey features creative social activities, nightly special events, erotic rituals, lakeside bonfires, the Sex-O-Rama playspace, and a 10,000 square foot fully equipped dungeon open for play around the clock.
All this happens in a fun camp environment at a retreat with great accommodations: forty cabins with real beds, full bathrooms, hot water showers, electricity and great centrally located swimming pool; plus, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight snack included.
Unlike a typical conference event, where you have to pay for registration fees, hotel room costs, plus meals, Dark Odyssey is an all-inclusive event. Weekend rates range from $350 to $425 depending on when you register, and if you are a member of a participating group. Early registration rates are good through August 1st. Remember that Summer Camp SOLD OUT last year in record time, so sign up today!
Dozens of community organizations have signed on as participating groups in Dark Odyssey, and we add new groups every day. Check the website to see if your group is one of them, and you’ll be entitled to a registration discount. If your group would like to be added to this list, please contact [email protected]
Visit our website, http://www.darkodyssey.com for more details. We hope you will join us for this exciting event!
When you were a teenager, how did you feel about your body? Can you tell a story about coming out as gay to friends or family members when you were younger? Did you ever go to summer camp?—Dora
As a teen, I think I was mostly just confused about my body. I developed breasts early and was curvy, though a bit heavy-set, as I still am. When I hit middle school, suddenly my friend circle shifted away from the ones I’d grown up with, as our different class backgrounds became a problem. They could suddenly afford things I couldn’t, and somehow understood this world of being a girl that I didn’t. I was a reader, on my own, a little bit of a loner, and started hanging out with more and more marginalized crowds, like the girls who also developed early and then, later, the drama kids and the smokers.
It was around then I started getting made fun of for my clothes and lack of “style,” I started getting bullied a little, I started getting made fun of extensively for my breast size. So I got a little obsessed with girl culture, whatever there was of it in the early 1990s, which certainly looked different than it does today. I subscribed to YM and Sassy and then Seventeen, obsessing over makeup and style and shoes, always completely unsure of what I was doing.
It’s only recently I’ve been revisioning this part in my own history a bit, seeing it anew. I kind of figured that was a typical process, this obsession with femininity, these attempts to fit in, the obsession with shoes, the way I hoarded makeup so I could claim to have an extensive collection and know all about it but never used it, my extensive dangling earring collection. Recently, a friend said to me something like, “That makes sense: you’ve always been dapper, even if it wasn’t as masculine.” And I think there might be some truth to that.
I think, too, there is truth to the outsider complex I felt around femininity, especially as a teen. I was terrified of what my life would be as a grown “woman.” I remember having panic attacks when I considered what my life after high school would be like. Not that I loved high school—I just couldn’t understand what was next. That was why I ended up in a very stereotypical hetero relationship, one where we both reproduced everything on TV we thought we were supposed to, which was very comforting: at least I knew what was expected of me.
But that’s a different story.
After a certain about of obsession over clothes and hair and makeup and femininity, and after the teasing and bullying just kept getting worse, I kind of just gave up. I cut my wardrobe down to black, and that was basically it. Black turtlenecks, black jeans. Which I wore year-round. Which I could do, in Southeast Alaska, where it’s mid-60s and 70s in the summer.
The new solid black wardrobe was a bit of a hit, and I fell in with the drama crowd, with more nerdy outsiders like myself, with the folks who were interested in sex and psychology.
I started feeling better about my body. Perhaps because I was covering it up, perhaps because I was getting a bit older (fourteen! fifteen! so different than twelve) and things were evening out, I didn’t feel quite so awkward in my own skin. But I did, of course, and continued to, for years really, until finally arriving at this gender identity, and getting rid of my dresses, moving on from undies that never quite fit my ass, non-apologetically donating my (few) pairs of heels.
I think most teens have awkward relationships to their bodies. Most of us don’t know what to do with ourselves for a while, and need time to grow into the changes. I certainly was no exception. I wonder if I’d stumbled on butch earlier, if I would have been happier.
It’s strange, I don’t really have any specific coming out stories. I definitely told my crew as early as middle school that I was pretty sure I was bisexual, and I don’t remember it being a big deal. We didn’t talk about it, but they knew, and sometimes I would talk about kissing a girl or other classmates who were known to be bisexual. Some of my teachers were gay, a few different women I can think of, though no men that I know of. My band teacher for three years had a flat-top haircut and never wore skirts. (I wonder if she was out, happy, partnered. I don’t know anything about her personal life.) There was a lesbian couple who lived across the street from me, and another down the street. There was quite a bit of gayness around, I guess.
I came home one winter holiday and wore a rainbow necklace with two intertwined woman symbols—you know the kind. I remember my mom asking, “Are you trying to tell us something?” I laughed and said no. It was just what I wore, every day, constantly, at that time. But I guess I was telling them something … perhaps I thought it wouldn’t really matter to my parents, so I didn’t need to make a big deal out of telling them. So I didn’t. I probably should have. It was probably a way to avoid confrontation, even if I didn’t expect it to be negative.
Not as though it was a secret—I told them as soon as I was dating someone new, my mom and I especially remained quite close and knew a lot about my life and what I was doing. We started having elaborate, extensive conversations about feminism and women’s history as I worked on my Women Studies degree.
I feel like I should have some better coming out stories than that! I’ll keep thinking. But I think that was the extent of it: I never made a big deal out of it, and nobody else did, either.
Well, somebody did: my ex-boyfriend, Mike. Late in our six-year relationship he became a bit obsessed that I was going to leave him so I could come out, and, well, I did. I don’t recall any specific conversations about my sexuality, but once I did leave him, he and I both knew I was coming out.
Yes, I attended fine arts camp for a few different summers, maybe three, which isn’t quite what most folks think of as “summer camp” but is the closest I’ve got. It wasn’t residential, and was at the high school, so it isn’t quite what most people’s sense of summer camp is. I studied writing, art music, singing, drama, and dance, and attended a couple different summers. In other summers I took a theater intensive only, then later started working at my dad’s store during the summers.
I don’t remember a lot of kids going to summer camp—perhaps it was the isolated nature of my hometown, which is land-locked and only accessible by boat or plane, or perhaps my friends, especially later in high school, were from families who weren’t particularly well off financially—but I (and other kids) did attend the Methodist Camp that was out the road. I never attended it through religious organizations, it was rentable by others and the only time I was there was through school.
Camping is just The Thing people do in the summers in Alaska, especially in my hometown, so I spent a lot of time hiking with friends, camping out, renting cabins for the weekends, building fires on the beach, and much of those other campfire summer camp activities that it seems are common for you lower-48-ers.
And what about you all? Did you go to summer camp? How did you feel about your body as a teen? What was it like to come out to friends or family or both?