Come Sit With Me

Warning, this may be the love me or hate me post.

This past weekend, my husband got to go to an event while I could not. This is new to me. As some of you know, I’ve been having issues with the sun and heat, more so the sun. (see the sucks post from July.) Thursday evening, I pulled out some of the things he would need from the sewing room. I sat on the floor pulling his whites out of the dresser. I sulked as I refolded my drawers and chemises back into the drawer and his drawers and shirts into little piles. Friday morning, I took a bit of an emotional whammy at work regarding not being able to go out for the students’ Homecoming Pep-Rally, something I think is important for the kids and something I enjoy. When I pulled in the driveway to see husband packing, the next wave of whammy hit. While he continued to pack, I pretty much ended up laying on the bed trying not to cry, with the occasional saber retrieval from the depths of the closet. After the nice “good-bye, have fun” kiss, I sulked and fell asleep on the couch. When I moved myself to sleep in bed, I was stuck on the “now what?” realization that I Have to figure out what I Am going to be able to do at events.

Shade and Sewing Circles – Shade is the absolute must.  Shade  I need to sit in the shade. I need to look into the shade.Venturing to scenarios, social gatherings, activities in the sun is pretty much out, even if fully veiled and with parasol in hand. I need to not have to venture far in the sun to the outhouse.(Please, don’t even go there with “what if you….”. Please.) Next season, when I give functionality a go again, I’ve decided at events I will do one of two things – Millinery or a sewing circle. That is it. (Actual indoor presentations are another story.) Sewing circles may be Soldiers’ Aide related, domestic sewing related, or even item specific – the ladies, sewing, shade stays the same.  Luckily, I have historic sites nearby with buildings. If I happen to brave a tent, I will be sitting, facing away from the sunny areas. (It is quite possible that by late winter/spring, I will have decided to completely switch eras for the lighter weight of the Regency.) I may still find I need to get my joy from the background stuff, ie gatherings, workshops and such.

Now, with that said…. What I really wanted to talk about….

I caught a discussion thread in one of the FB groups about young women in camp with colorfully dyed hair, one with purple, another with pink and blue. Given that later in the initial post the writer mentions children staying home, I get the impression these young women were teens. The threaded discussion rolls along with comments on inappropriateness, parent shaming and teen shaming. It also has comments on event coordinator standards and unit standards. (yes, I am skipping over how ever they were dressed.)

Something pushed a button.

For years, I’ve emphasized the importance of event standards and written civilian standards for groups. I have a set outlined in the PDF section that I know several, no many, groups have asked to be able to use. I enjoy helping women improve their impressions. I’ll nudge if they like. Yes, I have made women eat their nail polish off on Friday nights.

But, these are teenage girls. These are 21st century teenage girls. They have complex lives. Yes, actually, I do think their lives are far more complex then ours were at their age.

Hearing that they should “stay home” really pisses me off.

There. I said it.

What in the world does that accomplish??????????

Nothing.

You don’t know the situation. You don’t know if she grew up in a reenacting family, but really has other interests. You don’t know if she has a budding interest in history. You don’t know if she wants to learn new skills but didn’t know where to start. You just don’t know.

You won’t know by looking from a distance and getting all huffy about something you don’t like.

Guess what, the teen with the colorful hair may be the prequel to some amazing research.

But, you will never know.

Teens need guidance, information, mentors. Sometimes, they just need someone to talk with.

So, here it is.

You know how I mentioned that I will be doing sewing circles, sticking to the shade? You are welcome to come sit with me, even if you have brightly colored hair. You are Welcome. Come. Sit. Sew. Chat. Learn. Share. At times, we will talk in soft first person. At times, we’ll share our research. If you want help pinning up your hair, just ask.

No, this does not mean I happy to see inaccurate clothing, material culture, behaviour at events. This means, I believe we should take our time with each other, especially with teens, as we learn and grow. I believe we shouldn’t be mean to each other. I believe my research and my work is solid, but that does not put me above anyone else.

Oh, and by the way….. when I started doing living history, my hair was 13 shades of red and purple.

Published in: on September 21, 2015 at 6:00 am  Comments (11)  

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very well said, Anna. I believe in encouraging where ever possible.

  2. Thank you, Linda. I have to admit, I was a little nervous hitting the “publish” button.

  3. This is a very thought provoking comment. Changes happen to use all and it sounds like you are learning to simply shift gears and move on, good for you. My grand daughter has multi color hair..and tattoos, something my generation would have never considered, but she is a lovely young college student. You are so right, look beyond the differences and embrace the person, not the trappings.

  4. I’m sorry you’re not able to attend the events you want to attend, but you have the right attitude of setting up at events where you CAN be comfortable.
    On your concerns about the hair color etc of younger participants, caps and bonnets do a lot toward covering up ‘offending’ bits, and help educate them as well. I have heard too many stories about newbies being turned off by those unwilling to help them participate and adjust to life in the past. They are often willing to learn and can become assets!

  5. Well said, Anna. As an aunt of a niece who has had green hair and then purple hair, I can see where you are coming from. Do I care for it? No, but it’s not my hair! If the interest is there, let’s get them to do some research or just participate to see if it is something they really want to be part of.

  6. Anna, I too, have seen the same posts and I very much agree with you. I sometimes feel, after reading some posts, that one must get the impression 100% correct the first time or don’t bother. People have preconceived ideas that often die hard and it does take a while to understand what period correct is. I also think it is a journey and that you are really competing against yourself and if you catch the bug, you will take it to the next level. Being less than generous will only hurt the hobby and drive people away.

  7. There is a new group called “Polite Society–American Civil War” that aims to welcome folks no matter where they are in their impressions. I hope we can all encourage each other to help young people become more interested in history. Teenagers get enough criticism.

  8. Hi Faye,
    Yes, Karen and I have talked. I did pass on hosting a chapter of the Polite Society here because I am so very busy at different times of year.
    I do try to arrange a couple local gatherings each year. They tend to be mixed time periods, sometimes in period dress, other times to work on projects together.

  9. Big kudos to this post! I didn’t post anything to the original thread yet, but I started in this hobby almost 20 years ago as a teenager with pink hair, and I pretty glad that no one told me to stay at home or discouraged me from participating back then!

  10. I have appreciated very much some of your blogs and the items you make and present, so detailed and exacting, an asset to the reenacting community. But as the author of the post you are discussing here I believe that perhaps you missed the thought I was conveying about the colored hair….perhaps I did not make that part strong enough. I didn’t say ‘stay home’, I said if they couldn’t cover it, they should stay home. It’s such an easy fix, I can’t understand why it wasn’t done…with a fabric wrap, a borrowed slat or other bonnet, the head wrapped in bandages as though wounded, would have made a great story for the public…it was a teachable moment that was wasted. I am a parent and raised 3 daughters, they are a different generation, I get that. At some point as a parent, we have to stand our ground. It comes off as selfish to me and disrespectful to our ancestors and other reenactors who bring their best to the table. It displays an ‘it’s all about me’ attitude, ‘I matter more than the other participants here.’ That is the frustration. I would have covered the situation with my own daughters by an explanation, a little imagination and some humor. No one would have been offended and they would not have hesitated to come back again. I did not suggest in any way to be mean or bullish, that is not the right way to handle it. But people come to see the 1860s, we must have some standards and the colored hair is distracting from the message. By the time the young ladies come back next time the colored hair may be a thing of the past for them anyway…I guess we agree to disagree, thanks.

  11. Thank you, Marilyn. To be honest, this is one of the very few times I have voiced my opinion to this extent. This does mean you introduced a subject that needs to be reflected on. I truly wish you would have gone up to each of those girls, particulary the one in camp, and invited them to an activity giving them the added experience and the chance to think about and potentially ask about their hair.


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