I'm speaking now as my current self, Daniel-of-2013. For those of you who have just started reading the blog and have not yet read my explanatory notes, I am actually thirty-two years old, married, and about to become a father. I've been writing from the viewpoint I had thirteen years ago, when I was nineteen and new to the school with no name. I'm doing that because I want to take you with me on this journey of mine from when I was more or less a normal American kid to being...whatever it is we who wear the green ring are. It seems the best way I can think of to get you to know and care about this place as we do, which is what I have been asked to do by the others. But I also want to poke in, here and there, with my real, present self, to say hi, as it were, and also to correct some possible misunderstandings that there is no way I can avoid while writing in my nineteen-year-old character.
For example, in describing Kit, I'm concerned that I may have given, or may be about to give, the impression that she behaved seductively with students. That she has never done, although she is a flirt, and flirts even, or even especially, with students. And she was, and remains, a damn sexy woman. I could not have made this distinction when I was nineteen, but I did perceive it, and it was one of the things I always appreciated about her. She was safe.
I certainly would not have used the word "safe," as that would have meant admitting I was scared of women. I was scared of rejection, I was scared of their expectations if one did accept me, and I was scared women would be offended if I even asked. Consequently, I did not ask. I'd had a girlfriend or two in high school, but nothing serious and nothing recent. Of course I thought about sex almost constantly (still do), but I didn't do anything about it. I didn't want to enter that morass of confusion I'd made for myself, and I certainly didn't want to have to decide if I really wanted to end up in bed with a gorgeous professor old enough to be my mother (and married, though I didn't know that part yet). With Kit, I knew the question would never come up, so I could enjoy flirting back with her a little and I could fantasize all I wanted. Kit knew I was attracted to her, and I knew she knew, but there was no awkwardness between us. There still isn't.
So why did Kit flirt with students? I've never asked, but I think she sees it as part of her job. Human sexuality is a big part of her work as a priestess, as an anthropology teacher, and as a dance therapist, and I think she feels a need acknowledge her students' attractions somehow. An ornithologist into whose classroom a bird had flown would do no less.
In writing this blog, I'm using a combination of my memory, the diaries and other records I kept from that time, and the memories and records of other people. Some of the dialogues and other details are reconstructed. I also have begun being a bit free with the days of the week and other details of timing. I mean that I'm ignoring the fact that thirteen years ago the dates fell on different days of the week than they do this year, and that I sometimes write as though events have just happened even though there was obviously no time in the middle for me to sit down and write. I'm going to post about Easter near the day Easter fell in 2000, not the day it falls this year, and I'm going to post about Ostar several days before it actually happens because that works out a bit better for the schedule of blog entries I've written up. So some things are approximate.
Also, I can't avoid using a bit more perspective and self-reflection than I actually had at nineteen. I was pretty much in record-mode, learning everything I could and not processing anything. My diaries were boring, just a long list of events. I remember a lot of things passing by in a blur, or sometimes, as on what I've since called "Tin Whistle Evening," I remember feelings deeply moved and intrigued, but not stopping to understand what had moved me or how or why. My feelings, my motives, were all subterranean. I learned to actually say what I was thinking and feeling from Allen during the group therapy sessions, but only with difficulty and it took a long time. I'm still basically uninterested in myself. Other people and events are still much more interesting, more real, to me. So I'm trying to approximate my younger perspective, but I can't write as I would have written then because it would simply leave too much out.
God, I was such an ass. I remember when Ollie gave me my tour the first day and showed me one of the dorm bedrooms I said something about the beds being too narrow for company, or how do you fit a girl in there, or some other reference to casual sex. Ollie looked at me like I had about five heads on my shoulders, and then his expression cleared and he calmly informed me that "if you want to host sexual partners in your room that is your right, but you should clear over-night guests with your dorm-mates first. And no people from outside the school, at least not for the first couple of months."
"Host sexual partners"? I was shocked--I'd never heard anyone be direct without being crude before. Mostly I'd never heard anyone be direct. Everyone I knew, we were all like the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" character of Monty Python, full of innuendo and crudeness, but we wouldn't call a spade a spade. And of course, I was a virgin at the time (something I would NEVER have put in a blog), but I was sure I was about to become a "typical red-blooded American male" any day now. But I was not as much of an ass as I might have been; when I did actually talk to "girls" (Kit finally got me into saying "women"), I was mostly interested in getting to know them, and I never got around to hosting anybody in my narrow little bed.
When it finally happened, years later, she hosted me in hers.
How did I end up talking mostly about sex this whole post? Whatever. I can't erase this and rewrite it, I haven't got the time. I've got a deadline looming for one of my clients, the landscaping company I do some work for wants more hours, and somehow I've got to find time to wallpaper the little bedroom before the baby comes.
So, I hope you enjoy the second part of my story, from Ostar to Beltane.
[Next Post: March 18th: Ostar]