For people so used to putting thoughts and feelings into words, the aftermath of #BiSC13 seems to have robbed us all of the ability to coherently and accurately depict one long weekend in Vegas. I had designs on a series talking about who I was before and who I am now, and that may still happen, but for now, I hope to relay some of the magic of #BiSC in these short remembrances.
The girl curled into a small ball in the corner of the airport. Not so much trying to disappear, she just wanted the noise of what was around her to recede to a normal decibel level. She was shouting through her borrowed iPhone and across thousands of miles to connect with her husband. Distracted by him, she barely noticed the other girl standing out of the way and surveying the surrounding baggage claim area. Finally, she ended her call and meandered toward this stranger. Eye contact occurred. An awkward smile and two pairs of eyes that darted in different directions. The second girl claimed her bag and turned back to the first. With a simple, “Hi, I’m Kelly,” she eased the first girl’s fears of meeting anyone nice.
I’ve never belonged well. I could take the easy out and blame being homeschooled, but this isn’t about social adaptability. I’m perfectly capable of conversing. I’m just not good at allowing myself to belong. I wrap myself in the mantle of the other. I didn’t expect BiSC to be different.
The mixer party at Serendipity 3 was in full swing. 8 second hugs had been exchanged and a staring contest of epic proportions had ended. The music was loud, but not too loud. The drinks were good and strong. The air vibrated with the nervous energy of 60-some-odd new best friends. She slipped off to the side to make her call. Stood there letting the tears just fall. After saying goodbye, she just wanted to leave. This wasn’t the place for her. He was working his way back toward the party and stopped with a hand on her shoulder. “Are you okay?” was asked and she let herself be gently led back into the folds. Inconsequential small talk never is as inconsequential as it seems. In her heart, a small voice whispered that here, she could belong.
I wonder sometime if that mantle of the outsider isn’t what attracts so many of us to blogging. We know what it is to watch the world through eyes that don’t seem to fit. Is that what it is to be human then? To question and strive and wonder if belonging is ever even possible?
To be honest, it was too early to be at the pool. The ability to hide behind awesome new sunglasses was hindered by the cloudy morning. Her spot was carefully selected on one of the reserved day beds. She was right next to the pool, so she knew that eventually people would come sit with her. She was right next to the rowdy group, so she could share in their vivacity without intruding. Others drifted by her, pulled by the magnetism of fun that was happening right next to her. One friend came directly at her. Asked what she had for breakfast. Forced her to relax and belong. Later when she danced in the pool, belting the lyrics to “Call Me Maybe” she knew. Knew that without that little kindness she’d be hiding in her room by now. Knew that it was time to stop running and to simply belong.
What a terrifying notion. There is a simplicity in being the outsider. You bear your own responsibility. There is no one to rely on or to let down.
Dinner was a respite from the frenzy. Two plates of sushi served as an excellent fortifier. Walking back, she almost forgot that it was okay to belong. She almost turned and ran. When her lifeline went to rest, she almost followed suit. Instead, emboldened by dance lessons in the pool, she asked if she could intrude. If she could crash a smaller, more intimate gathering. She gave them an out, bribed her way in with a straightener. Neither was needed, they were more than willing to fold her into their arms. And they sat, sharing wine, sharing laughter, and sharing souls.
Belonging is scary. Belonging is hard. It bears all of the grace, devastation, beauty, and terrible perfection of humanity. Wrapped within its depths are the desires of millions of strangers. Wars have been started for less than the desire to belong.
There was ease and laughter. Dresses were pulled from racks and thrust from one woman to the other with the kind of ease that speaks of a lifetime of knowing. Smiles were shared as increasingly unlikely options were piled into arms for trying on. One particularly daring choice, prompted the exchange of “But boobs. But Vegas.” That needs to go on twitter she said. Later, she would envelop the girl in a hug. Tell the girl that since she lived the farthest away that they were required to spend all the time together that they could between then and the end.
Words written in front of a computer screen come so much easier than words in person. What wasn’t said then was that this no-holds-barred-you-will-belong mentality has allowed for hope and friendship to bloom in my heart again.
They were a “sea of white people” heading to their Wicked White party. Congratulations came crashing in from all directions. Surely, with 60-some-odd people dressed in white, there must be a wedding happening. In Vegas, everything goes. Cocktails were imbibed. Secrets were shared. Bonds were forged from the steel of having found your people. Lines were cut, laughter was shared. Somewhere between the jarring noise of McCarran Airport and the rooftop at Pure, these disparate strangers had become something more than friends or family. They had found, in the heart of Sin City, people who were their tribe.
What is BiSC? It’s a question we all field. Is it a social media conference? Is it a weekend long party? It is a meeting of hearts and minds. It is a joining of souls. It is a place in a tribe that holds fiercely to its own and gives them the support needed to launch themselves to ever greater heights. There is no proper way to offer enough thanks to those who collaborated on the creation and execution of BiSC. There is only the ability to love fiercely, support unreservedly, and help those around you launch to their full potential.
That is BiSC.
No. We are BiSC.