On Perspective: Waltham, MA

So this past weekend we packed up the Strawberry (my very tiny, very bright red, Nissan Versa), and we traveled up to Waltham, MA for the first Steampunk Festival of the season.

Jordan and I are good at a great many things. We are excellent at knowing all the lyrics to every Twenty-One Pilots song, we are supreme at finding food trucks with tofu options, and we are super skilled at reading text messages and not replying. We are NOT very good at being organized. Generally by the last show in the season we have finally gotten to a glimmer of organization, then we promptly lose it before we have another show. It’s a fun game.

Jordan is a naturally more together person than I am. She weighs the options, plans, books hotels in advance, thinks about her budget. In contrast, we like to say that I “am not very good at many things, but I make up for it with a blind sense of optimism.” I don’t deny it. My most common used words are “it’s gonna be fine.” In my defense, things are usually eventually fine. I like to believe that there is magic out there and it will take care of me. Sometimes it works.

We were hoping to get a head start on thursday, stop and sleep, and roll into Massachusetts friday night for the saturday morning show. This of course did not happen. We left town friday afternoon, drove steadily, and rolled into MA at 7:30am for our 7:00am check in time.

So far we were off to a good start.

I will say here, sleeping in the car is mostly impossible because everything is packed in so tight, movement is not easy. We are taking donations for a camper van. Seriously tho!

In my usual fashion, I forgot the tent weights (one show last year, I forgot the entire tent! everyday is an improvement). We unloaded, I started setting up, and Jordan was whisked off to the store.

At this point, we were about 24 hours into being awake. No big deal. I set up the booth, shakily and sleepily.

It starts to rain. A lot. It starts to get really windy, too. I’m almost finished setting out all the pots when the tent catches a burst of wind and flies up in the air. I catch it somehow before it soars away forever, and manage to pull it back into place without killing the entire inventory. And as I’m actively holding the tent down, I call Jordan and ask her politely where the FUCK she is with my tent weights.

Jordan is stuck at the store fighting with the clerk about getting cash back. It’s almost time for the event to begin. It is cold and rainy, and it is shaping up to be a great day. Let me tell you!

PS- The tent breaks in the process of me trying to catch it.

When Jordan arrives back (she made really good time!), no sooner do we weigh the legs down and step away to get into costume, than a huge burst of wind knocks over a self in my booth and shatters everything on the shelf.

At this point we are cold, we have been up for 30 something hours, we are starving, it is raining, all my shit was breaking, Jordan and I were snapping at each other, we weren’t even close to being in costume, and I will fully admit that I was 100% ready to go home. I mean on a scale of one through a white girl with a messed up latte, I just couldn’t even anymore. I needed a minute.

I am naturally a bit negative. I have (like I said above), a blind sense of optimism and in unison an outlook that leans towards the worst (this is what happens when you have years of trauma). Jordan is the same way. We know we have to walk away or we will join hands and skip down the doom and destruction trail. And so, I took a break. I changed clothes. I had a minute of mindfulness. I reset for a second to realize that this was the life I worked hard for- to travel and make and explore and experience.

We both took a minute so we could see clearly. Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes you have a bad 5 minutes that you milk all day. We didn’t want either.

Self awareness is so crucial as part of a mindful lifestyle. When we learn about ourselves, we learn the bad places in our minds. We can then steer our thoughts towards better narratives. This is also the key in cognitive therapy, but I won’t get all teacher on you guys.

And GUYS!!!!! It was a FANTASTIC day. Yes, it was cold. Yes, it never stopped raining. Yes, we were still exhausted. But also, the people were amazing and braved the cold and the weather, and came out! They came out in masses. Seriously, there were SO MANY PEOPLE!!

The festival was like always, filled with weirdos who make my heart feel excited and peaceful and other worldly and at home. It’s a weird feeling living the vendor life in a festival, because for several hours, you are not you, you are an alter ego. Everyone is an alter ego. Everything is not what it seems and yet perfectly genuine. I’m so lucky that this is a part of my life.

ALSO----I love New England. I love it because it smells like home and feels old and nestled. I love the people of that region (outside of the driving, I mean COME ON!). I love that I can strike up a political conversation with everyone who walks by, and everytime I go up there dozens of people ask us to move there (I would, but it is cold). I love that there is coffee everywhere and that they have vegan burgers at their drive throughs. And I don’t know if it is because of the fresh air or historical sites, but no one can love on your soul like the folks from New England. Those are some good people.

Waltham was maybe my favorite festival yet. It could have been a misery.

Everything is exactly as miserable or exactly as magical as you make it.

Jaime Peterson