My last hypno-event was MEEHU, last July in Chicago. It would be accurate to say I was lax about things like eating breakfast and attending classes. It would also be accurate to say that San Francisco once had a pretty bad earthquake; the degree of understatement is the same for both sentences. I was determined not to repeat this behavior at WEEHU. What this means in practice is that I was up and at 'em and in the breakfast area eating my free breakfast* by 8:30am Friday morning. Notable moments at free breakfast that first day include the Amazing Pancake Extracting Machine and discovering that the orange juice was apparently squeezed from a bag of orange-flavored sugar. I was courageous and tried the pancakes (mostly because I wanted to play with the machine) and discovered what a yoga mat must actually taste like. Hint: not good. But, hey, free!
Classes weren't due to start until 2:30, with the first one I wanted to actually attend not starting until 3:30. So there was a little bit of time to kill, and to be honest, I'm not 100% sure of everything I did. One thing I am sure of is that the night before, I'd suggested to the Calico that she'd find her Friday morning volunteer shift very rewarding. As in, feelings of pleasure building up inside her as she welcomed each and every person who passed her station (right by the only elevator, of course), to be stored until a time of my choosing. Because I am nice like that. And I know for sure that when I went back down to the breakfast area, which was now the "check in and get your badge" area, that I made sure to let people know that they needed to let her welcome them, possibly more than once, so that she'd have the best possible experience. Because again, I am nice like that.
I might have taken a nap. I might have put together the goody bags for my "Subjects Safe-Space" class. I probably did both of those things. But my mind was on something else completely.
A Brief Interlude Wherein I Describe My History With Birthdays
I was born in the back half of October. (Why, yes I did just celebrate my Birthday, thanks.) My brother was born, through no fault of his own, three years and 14-ish hours later. Luckily, 2 of those 14 hours were after midnight, so technically it's 3 years and a day, but I like accuracy. My family was always really really great at making sure we A) had separate birthday celebrations and B) didn't have Halloween birthdays every year. The year I turned 9 and he turned 6 we did actually have a combined Halloween birthday costume party (we were both clowns), but that is the one and only time ever that we've done so. My history of only having one close friend at a time not-withstanding, I did have the traditional "invite the girls from your class" birthday parties through about 7th grade, but a school change** caused the available pool of "girls from my class" to go from 12 more or less fun girls to 5 really annoying girls and so I called a halt to large parties. And that was it for parties.
The group of toxic friends that I mentioned in yesterday's post made a huge deal out of their birthdays. And I like planning stuff. So in my adult life I found myself on the organizing side of many parties of varying complexity: from "let's go see a movie" all the way to "let's have a karaoke concert/weekend festival in the country". Somehow through these years the gesture was never reciprocated. And when I tried to organize something for myself, I got excuses as to why people couldn't make it, the best example of which is "I don't want to hang out in my own house on a Friday night, why would I want to hang out in yours?" So...I kind of developed an aversion to birthdays. My friend Kerrie, who was living in another state through this time and would have kicked some serious ass had she realized exactly how asshatty these people were being, can totally testify if asked that my aversion to birthdays, whether my own or someone else's, was extremely well-developed.
End of Interlude
So. Readers of my tumblr and people who hang out in the MEEHU Skype chatroom will be aware that I have what I call a "Braintwin". Starting right before MEEHU DJ Pynchon and I discovered that our minds seem to work in weird and identical ways.*** So we started to play the "what would you do" and "what do you like" games, and somehow we got to talking about birthdays. And discovered that we shared one. Which is the capstone of all the weird Braintwin stuff. So we toyed with the idea of having a mutual birthday party, but when Pynch heard about my experiences with birthdays past, he decided that I was for fuck's sake going to have a goddamn birthday party at WEEHU that was all about me. (Swearing is all mine. Because Pynch is a gentleman and would never talk like that. Ahem.)
He enlisted Lee Allure to help organize it.
And I started to get a little anxious.
She wanted to know what kind of cake I liked. (Carrot. Without nuts in. She called me a heathen.)
She wanted to know my favorite color. (Blue. What shade of blue? That deep shade of blue that winter skies sometimes get when it's clear but quite cold, also found in still Caribbean waters and some Maxfield Parrish paintings. So cerulean but deeper. More or less.)
And I started to get a little bit more anxious.
Remember how I was exiled to the adjoining room on Thursday night? It was so Pynch could unpack birthday things and stow them away where they'd not be seen. And I got more anxious. I mentioned being relegated to that room a lot between Thursday night and Friday afternoon, and it was all because of me feeling anxious. I was starting to annoy myself with it, but it kept slipping out.
So. At 1:30 I was in my room putting on my birthday party outfit while the final preparations were being made in the other room. They'd gone to so much trouble and I wanted to acknowledge that by taking as much trouble myself. So special party outfit. Special party make-up. Special party jewelry. And at 2-ish I got led across the hallway for my first real birthday party in decades.
They made me a fairyland. They made me a magical place with balloons that had twinkling lights inside, and streamers, and stripy hats, and things that made noise (I think) and mimosas and cake (really fine cake) and they sang "Happy Birthday" - twice, and I stood there and clutched myself and tried and tried to not be over-whelmed. (I failed.) It helped some when the Calico got to experience her reward for all that welcoming, trembling and quivering at my feet. It helped some that I got many many hugs from people who didn't seem to think that being anxious over a birthday party was weird in a bad way. And then there were presents. Thoughtful presents. And so many people that I can now call friends! And some who I didn't know at all, yet.**** And we played Pictionary, with both of the birthday people as team captains (that being the only acknowledgement of our mutual birthday-ness that Pynch accepted.) And my team SMOKED his. His never got to roll. It was marvelous! (It is possible that I am not a gracious winner. I tried, though.)
And then it was 3:30 and time for the first class I wanted to attend.
Class the First: Mutual Hypnosis Workshop with Wiseguy and Lee Allure
I was a little bit late due to changing out of my birthday party outfit and into my going to class outfit. (An entire large suitcase filled with clothes, remember!) Wiseguy and Lee were already in the middle of talking about some famous examples of mutual trance, and then they demonstrated how easy it was for two people to talk each other into trance as a conversation. Then we split up into groups, mostly of two, but five of us in the back corner ended up doing it together. I'm really glad there were so many of us; it was an experience that I haven't had in quite that way. The other four were @HypnoSophist (aka Rob), the Calico, a gentleman who I will always remember as "other Rob", and a gentleman who was new to the EEHUs whose name I sadly cannot recall. I feel like I didn't contribute as much as I might have; I dropped almost immediately, but with my eyes open and still able to do a little bit of talking, especially to other Rob. I'd like to try this again sometime and try to develop it as a skill; I think everyone else involved enjoyed it as well.
Class the Second: New Subjects Safe Space for Questions with ME!
One of the things that I've gotten increasingly passionate about as I've continued my hypnosis journey is introducing new people to erotic hypnosis and trying to give them the tools they need to safely navigate what can be a really confusing terrain. There is already a "100 level" course series taught by Wiseguy (101) and DJ Pynchon (102 and 103); what I was trying to provide was more along the lines of the campus visit you make before you decide which school to attend. I was hoping that there'd be a pretty good turnout; the WEEHU organizers had gotten green ribbons for new attendees to affix to their badges, so I knew they were out there.
I got three new people, but hey, that's a start, right? I also had 8 or 9 veterans from both sides of the watch, so we did get to have a nicely casual and yet still informative conversation, and hopefully those three new people were a little bit more comfortable than they'd otherwise have been had they not attended. And next year we might have a "question corner" or some sort rather than a time-limited class; you'll have to come to WEEHU4 to know for certain!
Class the Third: Touch Me! Hypnotic Workshop with ZanyM
Heh. I will always remember this class fondly as the catalyst for my friendship with Lizzidoll. (More on that in a moment.)
So this class was, as the label on the tin says, about the power of touch. Zany had a bag of items which she had people reach into blindly, then describe using their sense of touch. I think the best part of that was when Kat took a turn and pulled out a standard phone charging cable, and described it thusly: "It's a cable of some sort...it seems to, yes it's a usb on one end and...a small...yes a micro-usb on the other end." (Quoth Zany, "I would have accepted 'wire'.") Then we got to explore the power of touch with a partner. Or in my case, partners. I was sitting next to Pynch, with Lizzidoll on his opposite side. It seemed pretty natural for us to work together, which somehow translated into Liz and I staying seated and Pynch kneeling at our feet. We didn't mind. And I think it's safe to say that we explored the power of touch pretty thoroughly, to the point that when the class broke up we were all still caught up in it, dazed and concentrating only on each other, and more than a little turned on. Which leads us to the first highlight of the evening.
The FIRST HIGHLIGHT of the EVENING
We ended up back in Lee's room, with Pynch on the couch and Liz and I sitting on either side of him, but on the floor. And decided to continue what we'd started in the Touch Me class. And that's when Liz and I discovered that we work really well together, especially when we are sufficiently motivated by a stubborn Pynch--who had spent the weeks leading up to WEEHU continually telling us that he was going to be extremely toppy at WEEHU, and to not be disappointed if things worked out that way.
Turns out that Liz and I really REALLY like that kind of challenge. And that's all I'll say about that.*****
And then we went to dinner! I got to have real Indian food for the first time (I liked it a lot.) The restaurant was fantastic; quick and friendly service, excellent food, and when we asked for the check, they brought it to us. (The importance of which will be evident to anyone who ate at the horrible Mexican restaurant at MEEHU. Except for Pynch, who had sushi. A long story, and one which will be covered later on in these recaps.) And I and my sekrit projekt co-conspirators got to do a little bit of plotting, which was quite the feat, seeing as how the person we were plotting about was sitting at the table with us. Which brings us to the second highlight of the evening.
The SECOND HIGHLIGHT of the EVENING
So, back to birthdays for a moment. You may recall that, in order to give me a wonderful birthday experience, Pynch took himself and his birthday out of the equation. I was GOOD. I didn't hijack his efforts and make it about him. I waited until later, when he wouldn't suspect anything.
I wrote a thing. A song-thing. Well, I wrote a three minute long singing confusion induction. A three minute long singing confusion induction for four female voices. A couple of weeks before WEEHU I recorded the different parts and sent them off to Lee Allure, Lizzidoll, and ZanyM in the hopes that we could all learn it well enough by WEEHU to sing if for Pynch for his birthday. We got to practice for the tiniest bit of time on Thursday, we got to practice for the tiniest little bit more time after dinner on Friday. The plan was, we'd sneak into the back of the Orientation: Intro to *EEHU class being taught by Mephki and Pynch in the conference room, and spring it on him "flashmob" style, with the Calico as our accomplice to make sure that Pynch was seated and paying attention at the appropriate time.
The class got out earlier than we expected.
We were standing in the hallway on the third floor in front of the elevators and decided what the hell, we'd do it right there. All we needed was for Mephki to delay the icebreakers that were supposed to be starting right that moment, and for Pynch to actually be available. So of course he came up the elevator and made a beeline for his room, barely acknowledging anyone trying to get his attention. Shit! Had he figured out what was going on? He's pretty smart, after all. So we sent the Calico to look for him. And then we sent Lizzidoll to look for them. You can see where this is going right? Then Lee went and rounded them all up, and Calico sat Pynch down in a chair in the middle of a crowd of WEEHU attendees and told him to listen carefully.
Listen carefully, I have a story to tell.
"Once Upon a Time"; words that I think you know well.
Repeating the notes like the peal of a bell.
If you concentrate you may find that you fall
down, down, down, down...
We each came in at a different time, with a different part of the song, so that the only time we ever sang the same thing together was on the words "down, down, down, down." I'd been worried that we'd mess up the words, that we'd mess up the notes, that it would be too cacophonous to work, that Pynch would just look at us with pity in his eyes and thank us gently for trying, because it's the thought that counts, after all.
It worked. It worked exactly the way I hoped, and more. It was wonderful and marvelous and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to be singing it with!
And the acoustics in that hallway? SO MUCH BETTER than they would have been anywhere else! (As we discovered later on, but that's another day's story...)
A Slight Tangent
I have spent the time since WEEHU ended being sick, to the point of calling into work multiple times and basically just sleeping all day and/or sitting in a darkened room because my eyes hurt. So these recaps didn't get written as immediately as they might have been, and some of the details of some of the things I got to do over the weekend have blurred together. Which is secret code for I don't always remember what I did on which evening. But I think I'm fairly accurate. However, if you were a participant in anything I did and I have the day wrong, please point it out! I probably won't correct the post, but I'll reblog and acknowledge the mistake. Thanks!
Friday night after the singing...I received another birthday present. I got to have my first experience with rope, courtesy of Lizzidoll, who will have to describe it for me at some point, since my input is basically "I liked it a lot." I liked it more than a lot actually, although I'm not sure if that was because of what was happening or because of who it was happening with. Either way, it was fantastic!
Then we had a brief interlude that, I think, was supposed to lead into an "Objectification Party" that never really happened. Kat and I have "freeze in place like statues" triggers courtesy of Carneggy, and there was a little statuing going on for awhile, until I got really impatient with it for reasons that don't need to be discussed here, and Liz and I headed back over to my room so that she could rehearse the tie she was going to do for Pynch for his birthday. It started out as just a practice run; as she described it this tie was going to be much more planned and formal than the sort of "free-form" tie she'd done for me. So she fiddled with angles and such, then asked me if I minded being blind-folded, as that is how it would be with Pynch. I am no fool; of course I said yes, but carefully pointed out that once the blindfold was on my input was going to drop dramatically. (Drop is the key word in that sentence.) So I got to experience the whole thing that she had planned, and IT WAS PHENOMENAL. It involved singing and movements tied into that singing (did you see what I just did there, people? Did you?) and pretty much cemented in my mind that Liz can tie me up any old time she desires.
And then it was bedtime.
Another Slight Tangent
My friends and room-mates for WEEHU were Kat and Carneggy, both of whom were getting over a nasty bout of bronchitis, and Kat basically relapsed at the beginning of the weekend. She'd get up and go to classes, then return to the room to try and sleep and destress. And Carneggy was very attentive of her while she was feeling so poorly and took great care of her. I felt like the best thing I could do was to take my noisy, needy self out of the way as much as possible, which is why there isn't as much mention of either of them as there should be. I am really really looking forward to our next event together, when we are all healthy at the same time and can have the loads and loads of fun that we wanted to have at WEEHU.
And that's it for WEEHU - Day 2!
*Funniest thing I heard all weekend long: Tuesday morning after WEEHU had officially ended, while eating free breakfast..."There was breakfast? And it was free? All Weekend!?"
**My fifth grade year I developed a little bit of a social life and got in trouble for talking in class. A lot. my mother decided I was turning into a hoodlum and the next year put me into a private school that one of her friends recommended, which is how A) I discovered the books of Anne McCaffrey (which kept me from going crazy with loneliness) and B) Ruined my education in basic mathematics. You may be familiar from viral posts on Facebook/tumblr et al of something called the P.A.C.E. system of home-schooling workbooks? The ones that assert that cave men and dinosaurs lived side by side...3 thousand years ago? Yeah. We used those. Viva la ignorance!
***We write alike, we sound alike, we have the same fandoms, we once simultaneously posted the same cartoon to the MEEHU chatroom, we even kind of look alike. Quoth my friend Kerrie: "You two even look alike, it's too weird, I have to leave now." And NO, we are not related. Trust me, we worked that out first thing.
****Here is the list of people who I know/think were at the party: Lee, Pynch, Calico, Carneggy, Kat, Zany, MrDream, Liz, Wiseguy, Dani, Felix, Jcheldi, DylanG, W, Banny, Switchette, Ais, Panavatar, GirlFriday, Max, Lily, Lorelei, Dancecode...I think at this point I am just listing off the names of people who I know were in the building. But in my head now, you were ALL there. And thank you!
*****There is a participants' version. Oh yes. And this is where my favorite quote from the weekend comes from: "Saying it would be the right thing to do, and we know how much you love being right..."
******The singing confusion induction titled "Listen Carefully" will be recorded and mixed sometime in the future (after I can again take a deep breath without coughing) and released publically for the listening pleasure of anyone who wants to download it.