Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Biker Boy and Hot Dog Girls: Sturgis Part 3

Returning from my cross country road trip has been a difficult transition.  I can't help imagining myself back on the open roads.  It helps to know my daughter is out there, living her life largely and brightly and having great fun.   I can’t help but smile about Sturgis.  As though it is some sort of trophy, a feather in my cap, a notch in my belt… And in so many ways it was. It will be immortalized as this time and place that I felt such freedom and lightness, following a long spell of heaviness and restrictiveness.  Prior to my trip cross country I spent three hellish years struggling through a divorce that was orchestrated in madness and tied up in combative one-sided vengeance, as opposed to my fairy princess unicorn sparkled vision of being able to part with mutual respect and some level of reciprocal appreciation that the end was about five years beyond its lease terms.   

I embarked on my road trip 3 months post facial reconstruction surgery resulting from 2 forms of invasive skin cancer.  Conscientious of my face, my not quite familiar self, and the reality of being scarred and feeling unattractive did not exactly lead me to believe anything special was going to occur.   It was also two months passed my 50th birthday.   And if that wasn't enough, I was less than one month away from becoming the solo inhabitant of an empty nest. It was to be a marking of time and a releasing of circumstances beyond my control. It was to be an opportunity to be alone and free. 

I have no need to go into all of the details of my night in Sturgis. The last words I heard were incredibly sweet and certainly helped my ego and made me smile.  I regretted not staying longer,  in and out of three days after.   The first day out of Sturgis I considered turning back…and even still it is sweet to wonder about.  We did not exchange numbers, or even last names, but we laughed and talked and walked through Sturgis in comfort and companionship, a spirited, playful, comradery, and well, after that,  I’ll just say, what happened in Sturgis…..happened and I am a better woman for it, happier, and a bit freer and suddenly open to risk taking and more trusting of myself, so that I might trust others. It seems being alone has it’s perks from time to time and a few more times at that.  

As I pulled onto US 16 making my way towards Mount Rushmore I began reconsidering the tattoo idea, the third marriage, the need for plans, and timelines and expectations.  What if’s.  Why not’s?  How? When? If onlys… I decided I don’t need to wait until I’m married to get a tattoo. I don’t even need a third husband.  I guess I hadn’t needed a tattoo married or otherwise and I might at some point want a third husband, or meet someone that I want to share my tent with, or home, or maybe an afternoon here or there.  

The poignancy about Sturgis was, it revealed to me that I had quite a few leashes and chains and self-imposed protective coverings of my own, at least figuratively speaking.  Prior to Sturgis, I was in fact practically expecting or hoping for, and waiting for some grim faced man to show up and lead me around, or show me off, or let me know when I could go out and when I could howl at the moon, even though I was quite capable of walking and howling and I'm pretty certain I would be adept at twirling a lasso if I put my mind to it.  I am quite able to confidently lead all by my big girl self, but I sometimes lose sight of this.

During that night I met two young women.  They were sweet and playful and enjoying the festivities.  As I was walking around town, with my newly acquired tattooed biker boy, we stopped for hot dogs.   One of the young women was working on adorning her dog with such remarkable attention to detail.  Ketchup and mustard emblazoned in carefully spaced ribbons of brightness.  I had to laugh.  I had to know.  So, I asked, because suddenly I do, I can, let it all flow with laughter and lightness.  “That is one spectacular display of detail and care …you must really enjoy hot dogs.”  Snicker snicker wink wink  I push..."Wait, No, don’t tell me…you have experience in the food industry….Ice cream?  Am I right?”  She smiles widely,  she playfully denotes great pride.  Through laughter she states, “Well as a matter of fact, Yes! and I am very proud of my work."  We all laugh.  Biker boy and I move on through the night as a crowd has gathered to watch the hot dog being well, I won’t go as far as devoured but it is certainly enjoyed.  There is this mood in Sturgis.  We are all there for fun and independent spiritedness and freedom.  Sparkle and Roar.  It is palpable.  And it is freeing to be a part of, so my demeanor is lighter, and the barbed wire encased personal bubble I have fashioned over the past few years between and amidst some attempts at making connections has all but dissolved.  And so people are able to get closer and they do.  I welcome it in fact.

There is innuendo and all out in your face bold sexuality.  Body painted babes, tight jeaned muscle baring men, pasties, chaps, chains, spikes, hot metallic shine.  Vibrating torqued up engines. And there are the questions that come later.  
You? Sturgis?  How?  Why?   
I can’t believe you would go there.  
I can’t believe you left so soon.   
I never thought you had it in you.  
I always saw you as a biker chick.   
A feminist, weren’t you outraged?   
I was not, exactly.  I was initially stunned a bit. But it was hard to stay this way with that shit eating grin I had pasted on me.  I did question why a couple of the women would want to be treated in such a repressive way….I still don’t quite understand how I allowed myself to be treated worse.

Who would have expected a night in Sturgis at the 73rd Motorcycle Rally might force me to face some of my own self imposed gender based beliefs and restrictions?  Who knew I had a few that were keeping a strong hold on me?   Chains and leashes come in many different forms, and I would have been better off to have seen mine in plain sight so that I could come to terms with them a bit sooner, and decide whether or not I wished to partake in the use of them.  I would not have. I had to believe some of the women that I saw at Sturgis were at least knowing participants and maybe had a firm understanding and were getting something they enjoyed and agreed upon from the otherwise oppressive seeming relationships.

 Earlier in the summer  as I was hiking solo, closer to home, I overheard an interesting conversation about submission and domination, romance, and modern day ease with right out there sexuality.   As I was making my descent, I met up with two young couples deep in conversation about that very same book, 50 Shades of Grey.  As I got closer they apologized for the discussion and laughed.  They did not realize I had been able to hear quite a bit of the conversation as I was approaching.  It did not phase me in the least.  I laughed, and shared, “Oh, no apologies needed, I have actually made several friends as a result of discussing that book,” I paused and smiled at this reality.  “Several very good friends in fact, and I didn’t even read the book.”  Well not all of it anyway.  Their conversation was rich and they had, between them a depth of knowledge about romantic literature.  They were talking about books that were written a century or two ago that offered more intriguing and believable romance and titillation.   I smiled, happy to hear this discussion.  I was mostly happy because the conversation was thoughtful and probing.

Being in Sturgis from the outside might be like 50 Shades of Grey, all in your face and not open to much interpretation.  But being in Sturgis for me meant, I was free to explore within my own comfort zone.  It meant I could be light and playful and determine how much to partake, how far to go, and when to leave.  It meant I was able to step back and observe without judgment, or apply some over the top amount of righteous indignation.  It freed me up in a few other ways as well.  It certainly made me feel absolutely hot and sexy, and it certainly changed the course of my trip.  

And so what if I am looking into getting my motorcycle permit, and think Jade at Evol Street Ink in Poughkeepsie is an amazing artist? I'm free to have those thoughts and a few more at least.  

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