Day 4 (Oregon Session 2 ~ by Milla von Tauber)

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photo by Sky

 

Today was a rest day and I’ve got to say I’m glad for it. I woke up late to the the sound of Ani’s lovely voice singing a song I’d never heard but knew could easily become a favorite. Breakfast runs until 11:15 on rest days and as I stepped through the line and poured a considerable portion of sugar into my oatmeal, I once again found myself happy to have the camp equivalent of a “lazy Sunday”. You see, every night so far I’ve gone to bed later and later, not because I necessarily planned to, but because that’s just how it goes. This is the time during the session when shit hits the fan for me. I start to realize that oh wait, it’s almost halfway done and I know that every moment from here on is going to fly past in a blink. This is the point when a lot of aspects of camp start to feel like a commodity; valuable and precious and limited, so I have to spend as much time as I can experiencing anything and everything. In some ways it’s a wonderful feeling, loving something so much that it tears you apart to even think of leaving it behind. But it’s also terrible because you know you will have to anyway and that no matter what you do, there is no way around the heartbreak of letting go.

My biggest intention at camp last year was to perform in the concert this session and I’m happy to report I am well on my way to achieving it. Andy, one of the best staffers ever, spent a good portion of the day hammering out some guitar accompaniment with me for my original pieces for the event. For those of you who don’t know, camp concert is a chance for any musicians here to perform their original work in front of an audience in a safe and comfortable atmosphere. This has been an aspiration of mine for quite some time and I can’t quite explain how lovely it was to see it come to fruition. I sing and write a lot of songs but don’t play any instruments, so being able to hear my songs complete and whole was honestly magical. It felt like listening to the music of my soul in a way, because it was something that was just so utterly mine. It was a beautiful moment of pure creation and I know it will be a highlight of camp for me for years to come.

Once we finished, I made my way over to women’s group for the evening, where we talked about everything from living life with a period to body image to sexism in society. It’s always a wonderful experience to be surrounded by loving, creative minds talking about important things and that’s something that you get a lot of at camp. Some highlights we touched on were topics like “what does it mean to be a woman?”, “what’s the difference between a woman and a girl?” and “what are some things you do to feel feminine in daily life?”. Camp is an interesting place where every gender identity is explored and supported equally in a way that it never truly is in the outside world. It’s a mind opening experience that often leaves you with a completely different outlook on gender and sex and the way those topics are approached in society as a whole. It’s always slightly disappointing to step back into a world where such acceptance doesn’t exist and is instead replaced by hatred and fear.

The day wrapped up with a pajama party movie night where we watched an array of short films campers had created. Snuggling up with everybody watching the creations of our fellow campers was magical and a wonderful look into the minds of those around us. The most amazing aspect of camp by far is the sense of community you are encompassed by while here and every single activity and event just furthers that feeling. We all have passions and dreams and goals that are often very different from each other. In the outside world, those differences sometimes divide us and make us feel as if we can’t connect with each other because of them. But the truth is – who wants to be friends with someone exactly like them? Who wants to be exactly like someone else in the first place? Individuality is a wonderful thing and it’s easy to feel as if you’re losing yours in a world where society’s standards dictate the way we should look, feel, act, and what makes us “successful”. Camp is a place where these standards are thrown away and we are all free to be uniquely ourselves in a way that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else. It is beautiful and magical and special, a candle in the darkness I hope will never go out.

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