Creating Ourselves in the SCA
Greetings unto the Populace of these Mighty Outlands,
As I write this I am still your Crown Princess, and am eagerly preparing for Coronation in a few days – yet by the time this is published, I will be your Queen. This is intended to be the first of five monthly diary entries that I wish to share with you throughout My reign in order to let you into My thoughts and share some of My experiences with you. I hope these publications find each of you healthy and fully enjoying these Current Middle Ages. I also hope that these diary entries cause you to pause and re-examine your own experience and understanding of the SCA.
In mundane times of yore I earned my full academic regalia via a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology by studying the American belly dance phenomenon. What interests me most about the belly dance community is the way each woman is encouraged to create an ideal version of herself – a persona – and a stage name. She then costumes herself as that exotic person, performs to an audience, and is celebrated as a beautiful dancer by her fellow belly dancers. I have found that the sense of community created through this process does amazing things to the self-confidence and wellbeing of the women who belly dance. The community created by these women with and for each other is strong and allows each dancer to develop into her own ideal version of herself.
To me the SCA seems to empower us all in a similar way. As soon as each of us began playing this game, we were encouraged to imagine ourselves from any place and time before 1600 A.D.. We were helped to name ourselves and develop a personal device proclaiming ourselves to the world; and we have all spent countless hours clothing ourselves in our best approximation of the person we wish to become.
This Society is based on earned equality – where we are all given the opportunity to achieve recognition and advancement based on the skills and character traits we develop to better ourselves. We are rewarded for pursuing our own talents and interests, and for helping our neighbors do the same.
Many of us came to the SCA from the awkward margins of society. Growing up we were the bookish introverts, the nonconformists, the square pegs in amongst the “normal” kids. As adults we have yearned to escape a society in which so many of our coworkers cannot even imagine who they want to become – much less take the steps to become them. We each made our way here to find each other, and we have agreed to construct a haven in which to explore and improve ourselves amongst likeminded friends.
So with this all in perspective, I am incredibly excited as We approach Our coronation this week. I look forward to helping create an ideal day for The Outlands to experience together, and I am very excited to look out and see the people who are living in that moment with me. But most of all I look forward to My beloved husband – the King of The Outlands – putting the crown on My head and kissing Me. And that’s because in My ideal world, there is most certainly a handsome king... and lots of kissing!