Good morrow m'lords and ladies! Me and my kin are fresh from a wondrous day at Ye Olde Renaissance Faire where we had'st much excitement!
I have always had a romantic interest in the medieval era. I went to a Renaissance fair when I was 7 and was in awe of the place. The costumes, the shows, the toys - it was so different than anything else I had ever experienced! Maybe it was because of that event, or maybe it was already innate within me, but the rest of my childhood I perked up at the thought of the Renaissance period. I read books about King Arthur and yearned for pretty dresses with sleeves that touched the ground. At 13 I was absolutely thrilled when my mom rented a peasant costume for my last hurrah trick or treating.
My love for castle dwelling knights and ladies, pristine European landscapes and peasant-chic fashion has always been there, but it has been subtle. I read through all of Game of Thrones and continue to watch the show as much for hints at the medieval-esque lifestyle as I do for the dramatic deaths of my favorite characters. While I half-plan elegant princess dresses that never materialize, and wistfully remember my one Renaissance fair adventure, I rarely give voice to my Middle Ages fascination. I find little opportunity in real life to be whimsical and pretend I am anywhere but the present. Until it dawned on me last month that - to steal the phrase from a magnet I gave Randi last Christmas - "I'm a grown-ass lady and I can do what I want!"
I know, duh, right? But for me there was power in that revelation. What was stopping me from doing something that I eagerly wished to do? Here were the things:
1) Companionship. What if no one wanted to go with me? I've got a weird group of friends, but what if this was too out there?
2) Intimidation. I wanted to embark into territory that had a very definitive fan base and I didn't know how exclusive the club would be to 29 year old outsiders. WHAT IF THEY DON'T LIKE ME?!
3) Knowledge. I didn't have any information on Renaissance Fair's or if they even came to my part of the world.
This is what the newly empowered Shannon had to say:
1. (Companionship) Friends? I've got Roman now! He has truly changed me in this way. I used to be too nervous to do things on my own. Although we have yet to have an outing at his request, we have Mama-Son trips where we go out and eat and do things that I would have never ventured to do on my own (no matter how mundane they seem, like trying the small sub shop by our house). If no one else wanted to come the Renaissance Fair would be another one of those things. Luckily my bestie, Randi, didn't disappoint with her enthusiasm and ultimately I was able to convince Troy to go too!
2. (Intimidation) I reasoned that if the Renaissance crowd was at all unwelcoming or surly I could leave and never go back. I didn't have to stay and feel awkward if it turned out to be a bad experience. Then I would know it was a place I wasn't meant to be after all! FINE, I DON'T LIKE YOU EITHER.
3. (Knowledge). Google. Turned out there was a Renaissance Fair a month away at fairgrounds about 45 minutes from my house. Easy peasy.
With all that sorted out I bought my tickets 3 weeks in advance to make sure I would not talk myself out of it This was something I wanted to do, and I was going to do it!
I'm fain I did'st! [Shakespearean translator tells me that means "I'm glad I did"]. For me it was honestly exhilarating! We traipsed up and down the fairgrounds marveling at the gorgeous costumes, watched the hilarious Broon, rooted for England during the jousting competition (what we could see of it anyway, this was the one time where Roman did not appreciate the noise level as he was trying to nap). We refreshed our gullets with wizard's potion, and overheard the merry banter between the frozen fruit juice stand and the pickle stand [Juice Stand: "JUICE FLAVORS: STRAWBERRY, ORANGE, MANGO, AND LEMON." Pickle Stand: "CUCUMBER FLAVORS: VINEGAR." Juice Stand: "...You need to work on your branding."]
We met Mary, Queen of Scotland, where Roman was quite bashful towards Her Majesty. We spoke with vendors, and admired the wares. Troy bought a fine sword, and I, giddy with the freedom of adulthood, went to spend my hard earned money frivolously on a perfect faire dress.
I was hesitant to try it on, even surrounded by costumes of all types I was worried that when I wore it it would somehow be silly. The shopkeepers were extraordinarily kind and helpful when I admitted that I had no clue how to put together a Renaissance dress. One of them assessed my face and picked out dress pieces in the perfect hues - a beautiful blue bodice and light green chemise [I hereby decree going to a fashion college was NOT a waste after all]. I put them on, was laced up, and timidly stepped into the mirror. I loved everything about it. The weight of the material, the hand dyed colors, the way it made me feel like I was in the fantasy dream land I always wanted to visit. Even so, I was STILL reluctant to say out loud how much I liked it. I needed reassurance... and I got it from a fellow fair goer. A beautiful raven-haired woman with dark, intelligent eyes (I'm channeling my inner Patrick Rothfuss, can you tell?). Clearly one of the cool kids. She said I looked incredible, and that if I am able to I should totally get it. My heart pretty much burst at that point. Not only was I having so much fun, but this really was a community of friendly people! People who didn't care how hardcore you are, if you were new to the scene, or a roadie; they are just happy to share a common thread.
Obviously I bought the dress.
To wrap up a bizarrely long post - I didn't realize so many feelings were going to reveal themselves, I thought I was just going to write about my day- 'twas a magical day indeed! Troy and I drove home both feeling creatively inspired and working on plans to attend the next fair in August a mere 3 hours away. You can absolutely thank the Spirit of the Faire for enabling me to find my blogging motivation. I hope this experience serves as a reminder to never doubt myself. If there is an adventure calling my name, I best answer.
Dear strang'r, hast thee done aught of interest lately?