There are several topics my Birka blog entry that I had contemplated taking out that I can’t even attend to each of them separately in my mind. I have decided to keep them in, but will ask my readers to not draw any implications from them. I have done my best to leave my personal life out of this blog and have only alluded to it vaguely. This has resulted in people thinking I have issues with my master-at-arms (which is very far from the truth) and various other notions that are just as incorrect. I am still not sure if this is the correct decision, but I am going to publish this blog as is. I will state that the only things alluded to were to protect the privacy of other individuals and not myself. I rarely hold grudges for any reason, so nobody should have any reason to think that any statement is a retaliation for anything. As I was discussing this dilemma with a good friend, he suggested a disclaimer. He wrote one for me and I copied it verbatim. It’s a bit harsh, but gets the job done.
***Attention*** For those of you that might take this politically or personal or in any other way it’s not intended, SHUT THE FUCK UP NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU! For those of you that will read this as it’s intended, I look forward to your feedback. ***
And now on to my actual blog entry:
For a few weeks, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to attend Birka. My (now) ex-boyfriend and I had reserved a room in September with the intention of sharing it. Then we broke up. Thankfully, he was kind enough to let me share it with him anyway, so I was able to go!
I always forget how much I enjoy Birka. I get to see so many of my southern friends, but I get to see my northern friends too! I wish Birka lasted longer because I never get to spend enough time with everyone I want to spend time with! Someone I ran into aptly called it a “drive-by hugging” event. There is a lot of truth to that notion.
Because I was so unsure about even being able to attend this event and because I’ve been pretty damn absent in SCA activities for a while now, I really came into the tournament with no goals or any plan whatsoever. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to fight lefty or righty. I brought both shields, just in case. I ended up fighting righty. I got on my armor and went to hook my sword under the chin strap of my helmet to help me carry it when the leather on the chin strap broke. As soon as I got down to the room with the tournament, a battlefield court was called and Tiberius Rufus (I feel so bad that I can’t remember his full SCA name!) was called into a vigil to become a pelican and I wanted to be there to see it, so I had to wait. Syr Marcus was very kind in offering his services or that of any of his house if he could help. Unfortunately, they couldn’t in this matter. Then the tournament was about to start. I asked Ivan if he could help me or knew anyone who could. Then he came up with this genius McGyver-type idea that fixed it quickly and I was able to use it throughout the tournament!
When I got on line for the tournament, I was oddly calm. It almost felt like I was in a meditative state. I just went out there, fought, lost, and reported it. Wash, rinse, repeat. By my third fight, I had already done better than I did the previous year, because I won a fight. I ended up killing Talon with a face thrust. He wasn’t the only one. I had five kills and one double kill. The weird part was that I stopped. Because the webbing holding my McGyvered chin strap in slid slowly out over the course of the tournament, I had to stop to take off my helmet to reposition it a few times. Then I thought it would be stupid if I didn’t stop and drink water while my helmet is off. I no longer had this weird misplaced pride about having such awesome stamina (my only real glory when it comes to fighting at Birka). Those drinks of water REALLY helped give me energy. In the past, I kept going by sheer force of will. I practically had to force myself to keep going by various threats, mantras, and whatnot inside my head. This time I kept going because I could. I had a totally different outlook on it. I’ve been trying to grow a lot as a person recently and this seems to be proof. I really enjoyed this tournament this year.
As always, there were some fights that stood out in my mind. I fought someone who used a pole arm to face-thrust me. After that fight, Sir Oscad took me aside to show me a guard that prevented pole arms from doing that. My next fight ended up being a different pole arm, so I used it and it worked! I got to fight several people I knew. My reputation as a lefty really threw some of them off because I was fighting righty. There were also several people I didn’t know but kept fighting them many times.
There were a few things that I noticed about my fights today. If I decide to continue fighting righty again I will need a different shield. I liked the length of this one, but I kept blinding myself with the top of it. I also have not decided whether or not to continue as lefty or switch to righty again, nor have I discussed it with Omega yet. I also realized that I’m a more aggressive fighter as a righty. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more confident as a righty. Or maybe there’s a weird left brain/right brain difference in my fighting styles? I don’t know, but it seemed interesting to me. Another thing that happened that surprised me was that there were at least a few people who told me what a good fight it was. Or that I was a good fight. I rarely get compliments like that, so I was excited.
After that was the usual — hanging out, court, and the party. Several people I know got awards that (in my opinion) were well overdue. Dalla Olafskona was inducted into the order of the Maunche. Tiberius Rufus and Sir Gareth were inducted into the order of the Pelican. I was very happy for them!
Fionn and I had a long conversation about the fact that I’m overemotional. He was more on the side of “it’s who you are” and I was more favoring wanting to change who I am. I still see no way to do that, even though my life is steadily improving. My life bottomed out about a year and a half ago and because of that I made several stupid decisions. I am still reaping the consequences of those choices now as some people in my life thought what I did was not right and have yet to get over some of the things I chose to do. Actions are not without consequences, but it often surprises me the ways in which the consequences manifested. In several cases, they were right about my decisions being stupid. I have been steadily working to improve my life and myself since then and have finally forgiven myself for those things. It’s tough that they haven’t. Fionn was really insightful and always manages to make me feel better about myself by the end of our conversations.
I had a long conversation with Trentus about line tactics and command. I remember discussing that nobody had listened to me a number of years ago when I had first attempted command. He mentioned that I hadn’t made my commands seem urgent. I told him that I didn’t want to pull out my teacher voice because I didn’t want it to sound like I was demeaning them (which is how I assume my teacher voice sounds when I use it on an adult). He said that I should use it to covey urgency. I told him that it was a moot point anyway. Serpentius is so big there are plenty of capable people to command. And I’m unsure if that’s a place I should be in right now. As far as the tactics conversations, I felt like he had a lot of good points that could be implemented into War this year, which is why I’m not sharing them.
I also had a good conversation with Duke Konrad. I feel like he had given me some good pointers about fighting. Unfortunately, I had imbibed a fair amount of alcohol at that point and honestly don’t remember what the pointers were. I’m actually pretty upset about that because I recall him having good advice the last time I talked with him. I do remember he had encouraged me to return to his fight practice.
I also had told Ivan I would stop by his practice as well. I do intend to keep my word, but it may not be for a while. I was unemployed for a year and underemployed for another six months. I have a lot of debts and other things to make up for. Both my body and my car haven’t been attended to in quite some time and that needs to be rectified. What little extra money I do have will go towards making it to SCA events to support my master-at-arms in his reign. The only reason I was able to attend Birka because of the kindness of Bjorvig.
I was considering trying to sell some embroidery in order to get more money to attend things. I probably wouldn’t get paid for the time I put into it, but more money is definitely more money. It will still be a while before I can even do that. I have a big project to finish. I wanted to embroider Omega something nice because he has done a lot for me over the years. Since he is now Prince, it seemed like the perfect time. I consulted his Princess who came up with an AWESOME idea! I was very much looking forward to creating it for him. Then this weekend, I was told it was going to be for his Coronation tunic. Needless to say, I’ll be busy for a while!
For those of you who hadn’t seen, here are the results for the tournament at Birka: http://www.northernarmy.org/results/market-day-at-birka/market-day-at-birka-2015. I was in 53rd place with 5 kills, 1 double kill, and 42 losses.