Who doesn’t want go into the backwoods of Ohio and sleep in a tiny bunk? This year I decided to join a bunch of adults and go back to camp . Not just any camp but one thrown by the incomparable Brittany Gibbons. *Side note* Her book Fat Girl Walking is out and it’s RIDICULOUSLY good. BUY IT HERE!!!! It all started last year when I didn’t go. It was the inaugural year and I gave myself a list of reasons why not to go (money, kids, house blah blah blah) As soon as it happened I was bitterly disappointed in myself. Why did I let talk myself out of something I really wanted to do. Wasn’t this the NEW me? Didn’t I live my life with joy. Didn’t I have this amazing new life where I came from a place of “Yes”. This was obviously something I had to do. So right after camp last year I bought a Camp Throwback t-shirt and coffee mug as a reminder and a promise that in 2015 I would NOT miss it. The tickets went on sale and I purchased ONE ticket. That’s right, not only was I going but I was going alone. I patiently waited for the months to pass, not really nervous but determined. Pretty much everyone I told would look at me with a strange “well isn’t she weird” look, well not others would look at me and ask ‘what do you MEAN adult camp?”. What I mean is camp. Camp camp. Like kids camp but with CPAP machines and vodka.
Camp was….wait a minute, let me type exactly what Camp throwback was for me….Camp THROWBACK was life changing. I don’t say that lightly. You see when I was growing up I learnt many things. I learnt how to change a tire, how to balance a cheque book, how to french kiss a boy and that people in groups are mean, cliquey and bitchy….especially girls. In grade 8 we had a club that was called the “we hate so and so” club. The name changed week to week but the club remained for most of grade 8. We just switched which girl we directed our hate at and crossed our mess gloved covered fingers that it wasn’t our week. It doesn’t change much as you get older. The snide comments, the body shaming….we keep it going, we’re just more subtle about how we direct our hate. We even have names for it “Mommy Wars”. We can divide ourselves over anything! Mostly things that legitimately have no effect on us whatsoever. When you take your clothes off at the end of the day and crawl into your own bed, you roll over and say goodnight to the person you’ve chosen to spend your life with and they say ‘damn my day sucked’ and you cuddle and go to sleep. The gender of that person affects me how? But there are fucking WARS over this. Protests, rallies…people pulling kids out of school. People taking the time to find poster board and write their hate for the other side down on it. It’s jaw dropping to me. But it’s normal. It’s what we do. Judge one another in every aspect of our lives. What is she DOING wearing those pants? Oh my god I can’t believe he is NOT WORKING and staying home with the kids while she works? Lady you should be ordering a SALAD? Judgement fucking everywhere. Do you want to know where it isn’t. Camp Throwback.
I found the one place on the planet where there is LEGIT no judgement. It’s a place of friendship bracelets and archery. A place to meet new friends and sing really loudly on 80’s night. It’s a place of corn dogs and Chili Dan’s bloody marys. It’s a place with hangover yoga and 3-legged races. It’s a place of hugging, deep conversations and ridiculous hashtags. It’s a place in the middle of Ohio that for 4 glorious days there is no judgement, just love.
And vodka…lots and lots of vodka.
Here’s to my 100 new friends. May you recover quickly and get a good case of camp amnesia…it’s not about the bugs or the bunks or the mysterious bruises that showed up a couple days later. It’s not even about the raccoon or the fact that my ass has a legit bench shaped divot in it from sitting at the picnic tables. It’s about the fact that my voice is still not quite back from singing Oh BABY YOU!!!! YOU GOT WHAT I NEEEEEEED!! YOU SAY HE’S JUST A FRIEND. And I am in awe that in the little corner of Ohio for four days in May there is my little piece of heaven. I will see you there next year. I owe the first dance to Chili Dan (because, well it’s Dan), the first hug to Sara (because I left without one last hug) and the first shot to Meredith (because “angel pee”).