Troy and I got to take the girls to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire the other weekend. I love the Faire and have wanted to take Maya since before she was born.
I was thrilled to discover that both Maya and Charley loved it, too. They got to meet the Queen and have their picture taken with her, pet a unicorn, eat humongous turkey legs, crack open a dragon egg and win a prize, and cheer for the jousting event. They were running around the children's garden with flower crowns in the hair, having the time of their lives.
While I was wandering around being harassed by a Faire employee on stilts, I realized why I love the place so much: it's because when you go, everyone is encouraged to be themselves.
You want to go there dressed in a kilt with a sword on your hip, drinking beer out of a stein, and speaking with a brogue? As a man? Go for it!
You prefer wearing a dress with a corset with your boobs hanging out for the world to see? This is the place to do so.
The visitors get so into dressing the part that sometimes it's hard to figure out who is an employee and who isn't.
I think you spend so much of your adolescence trying to fit in, and squashing your true self so as not to be singled out. But, at places like the Renaissance Faire, you get to let your freak flag fly - and to me, that is a beautiful thing.
Museums, the city of New Orleans, a beach in Delaware, my garden, on my yoga mat, with my family - these are all places I feel most like myself.
I know the Faire isn't for everyone, but I believe that everyone should have somewhere that they feel this comfortable.
For the record, I don't dress up, but I love seeing everyone's costumes. I prefer to be in the herb garden or in the hippie shops with their homemade soaps and oils, or listening to the musicians, or seeing a show.
We spent 6 hours at the Faire that day and we had to practically drag the girls out of there. Before we got to the car, Maya was asking when we can come back again. Turns out she must be like her mama, and likes to be herself, too.