Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why is it so hard?

OK, it's Confessional Time.

When I was a brand spanking new 18 year old freshman in college, I got involved with costuming a student musical. I got "hired" on as the principal costume designer, and my deputy was an older woman of 20 or so, named Stacy. Stacy was a member of the SCA and an invaluable help in researching and sewing costumes. I really liked Stacy, she was a real role model for me. She too was a math major, and she talked me through the trouble I had when I flunked multivariable calculus. If Stacy hadn't been there for me, I probably would have changed majors or dropped out of college. It was through her that I first found out about the SCA.

Long story short, I have always wanted to join the SCA, if for no other reason than I'd get to research and make cool medieval costumes. And this year I finally carried out my dream. I got my membership and made some really keen garb, for both myself and my family... and now I can't bring myself to participate.

I tried last year, but it was kind of a disaster from some points of view. It quickly became apparent that I was not going to be able to make this a family activity. My Aspies didn't do too well at events, and I spent so much time shepherding them around that I didn't get to enjoy the event the way I'd wanted to, so long as they were there. I feel selfish, though, for wanting to attend events by myself. At the same time, I know that I need to do SOMETHING by myself, for myself, or else I'll go insane. And at the moment, the SCA is what I've got.

Now add to that mix the fact that I've never been able to participate well in group activities, especially group activities where there's a strong "insider" current or where intelligence is valued. I used to watch my friends play cards and Risk when I was in high school. They would always invite me to play with them, of course, and I did play a few times, but the strain of doing so was so intense that I couldn't keep it up. Was I afraid of losing? Not losing, so much as not playing correctly. That's not an adequate description, but it's the best I can do. I really don't understand it myself. And it wasn't just games, either. My parents, friend, and teacher had to peel me out of the ladies' room when I went to the awards banquet for the Rockwell competition, where my group project won an award. I think I probably left some fingernail marks on the doorframe.

Now I want to get involved-- scratch that, need to get involved-- with the SCA. I really have nothing else that can fill that hole I have in my life for pampering myself quite the way that wearing handmade medieval clothes and entering Arts and Sciences competitions and generally fulfilling my 15+ year dream can. But I just can't bring myself to even so much as write an email to the Artemisia mailing list. What's wrong with me? Why is this so difficult?