“Rainn, what are your thoughts on the McRib?”
Last night was another standing-room-only open mic. I shouldn’t be shocked each time, or shocked at doing well as a host, but I am.
We lit the stage brighter this time, going for clearer photos instead of the moody blues and purples. My friend, who would be the featured poet for the night, arrived with a small solar system on top of a crate. There are moments in time where you just pinpoint how people make you feel, and this was one. Her whimsy, her fantastical-ness is something that I admire. I’ve always wanted to be friends with someone like her. Like Claudia from the Babysitters club. I wanted to be here and be her friend so badly.
I don’t know exactly what “healing my inner child” is, but it feels good to acknowledge these deeper wants that have always been there. Maybe that’s it.
We placed neon lights around the venue, and I sat out a bowl of stickers. 30 minutes before the doors, people started to arrive. The signup list filled in an instant, and before I knew it, we were starting.
I never know what I’m going to say at the mic, but I tend to do best under pressure and with little planning.
“Art is not quiet. It’s a living breathing thing. So let's be loud and clap everyone up to the stage and away.”
It flew by in an instant. Again another round of internet friends came up to me and thanked me for posting the event. Some even said that my hosting skills were great.
“Thank you, I just find whatever the awkward thing is and make a joke out of it.”
Afterward, we went to a bar. I felt so in my element, my zone. To hear people use my chosen name, to be asked my opinion on things, and to have my company be desired: it was all the things I sorely needed after a very tiring week. While I’m still building friendships with this group, it also feels like it’s naturally occurring. Like I can take my time with deepening connections.
I am putting my efforts into the few friendship seeds I’ve sown that seem to be taking off. I shot for the moon and luckily landed somewhere comfy. I’m not making any plans with these new connections right when I get back, but I’ll try to once I’m ready.
I’m looking at this vacation as a reset. A time to write and nap and lounge and read. To recenter the best way I know how while on a family vacation. Inviting a partner on a family vacation feels like a weird phenomena to me. I like the opportunity of course, but it still feels strange. I luckily won’t be the only person of color there, but still.
Getting most of my packing and cleaning done tonight so I can leave Friday free for whatever comes my way. I really put myself out there this week, and I think I pulled back right when I needed to. I want to get better at that: this balance of challenging myself and pulling back when I need to.
When I was feeling really burned out earlier this month, but still wanting to show up for people, I found a way that was sustainable: I made food. It was hard to say, “hey, I want to drop this off to you, but do you mind if I get going right after?” But I did it and it helped. It’s almost like making a menu of what I can and can’t do and feel good about. I used to over extend to my own detriment: I felt like I had to climb mountains for anyone who asked in order to not be abandoned.
But I’ve learned that isn’t true. That people who care about me won’t demand mountains of me, because I can trust them. And vice versa. I think the skill I most want to develop is offering versus asking because that gives me more control and is actually useful to someone. Like, “You want to send me voice notes about it? I can respond later today” or, “can I send you a McDonald’s or Starbucks gift card so you can have a lil’ treat?”
It’s all just learning and communication. I think about me this time last year and I was still STILL so bad at communicating. Lots of wanting my friends and partners to read my mind. But, it gets better with time.
I get a booster shot today, and depending on how I feel, I may just lay around and complain afterward which is my favorite. I actually love watching the needle go in because it’s grounding in a way. I think that’s my relation to enjoying some pain in a ~sexual way. Like proof im alive. Yesterday and today and this whole year has been proof of that, and I’m so grateful.