I’m currently listening to a band of travelers (literally, a band, that travels) decide what type* of animal costumes they’re going to wear for their gig tonight.
*When I say “type,” I don’t mean “bear, pig, dog.”
I mean what specific style of clothing the animal they’ve chosen will be dressed in. Seriously.
I’m trying to act as if the conversation is normal.
In fact, it IS normal, because I’m in a place that’s meant to be weird.
My hostel is intended for jugglers – actual people who actually juggle – or would-be’s, anyway, and definitely not for the likes of me.
I am a girl who organizes her bag using carefully selected packing cubes (this is a real thing), and my quick-dry pants cost more than I’d like to admit, especially to these guys.
I work and pay bills and worry about the accrual of interest while my student loans are deferred.
I put moisturizer on my face twice a day, SPF35.
I am wholly out of place among this gaggle of kids with their dreadlocks and homemade tattoos and recreational drug use.
I haven’t even re-named myself, y’all.
As much as I’d like to fit here, I’m too something… old, stodgy, citied, schooled, raised-in-the-suburbs-whitebread-American… can’t figure out what exactly I’m too much of, but there’s definitely something.
Except this is a magical place.
It’s a place where you can do whatever suits you, or doesn’t, and be whoever you are, or aren’t, or would maybe like to be.
You can swing these things around with surprising grace…
…or nearly figure out how to juggle…
…or be taught how to walk a slackline by that guy who calls himself Rainbow…
…or tackle your neighbor to the ground without warning, monkey sounds and all.
You can make endless jokes about balls and everyone laughs, every time.
You can listen to this for hours and hours…
…and swing in a hammock with a Swedish man-boy who will fart on you without apology, but who is a total gentleman, until you don’t want him to be.
In this place, even I can do these things.
That said, I’m not fooling anyone. I will not be tattoo’d this week, or stop washing my hair, and I will only be the slightest bit reckless with the Swedish man-boy*.
*Settle down, Harry knows.
We have an arrangement.
I will not take a weird nature-name or become a fire dancer.
I yam what I yam, and that is not me. I will always be a girl who thinks about her posture and colors her greys and wears sensible shoes. I will always, always wear deodorant and meet deadlines and update my resume once a year.
Because this works for me. My life is good – the best – and I’ve made it that way by being all these ways I’ve spent this week wishing I wasn’t.
It’s nice to pretend for a bit – and I’m glad for this wacky space to do it – but really, I’m just fine being the girl I am. Even if I’m pretty sure the Swedish man-boy would pick the girl with the excellent accent and That Hair if it came down to it.
I’ll be a-okay over here, fitting where I fit and not fitting where I don’t.
You can have these balls* and I will happily move on to the next place, where maybe they will have some clipboards I can juggle.
*See what I mean? Hilarious.