I went to Opencon Catalonia a about a month and a half back. What with the aforementioned overwhelm with things to write about, I haven’t mentioned anything until now, but I’m going to feel bad if I don’t give it at least a token post because it was such an intense, memorable, people-connecting, and growth-inducing experience.
Opencon is a polyamory convention, originally from England but copied for this region of Spain (Catalonia) for the first time this year. Go click on that link if you need reminding what polyamory is.
One of the attendees later wrote online “polyamory is just an excuse for meeting amazing people” and it almost seems so. We did workshops, learnt stuff, experienced stuff, but most of all we connected, and I don’t think there was a single person who wasn’t amazing in some way. I made a load of great friends who I expect to remain friends for quite a while. I want to visit them when I can, especially in the UK and Italy where most of them seem to have come from.
I went as Sophia, despite having only been Sophia for about a month, and yet I felt totally accepted as I was. I was still not quite comfortable in my new identity, and stressing out about getting my voice right or micromanaging every little gesture or movement to make sure I wasn’t totally fucking up my gender presentation. Like, I might have gotten awkward about saying “fucking up my gender presentation” because I wasn’t sure if I needed to sound more delicate or something.
Fuck. Haha. That felt good.
So, yeah, I was still in a really awkward moment, but I found a real vibe of acceptance there and bit by bit let myself relax a little. People seemed to appreciate me both as Sophia and just as me, without the labels. I actually ran a gender workshop in two parts, making use of all the perspective I’ve gained in recent times. I think people got a lot of value out of it.
The other workshop I helped to organise was a speed dating event (technically “speed friending”, as we wanted to keep the pressure off by maintaining a platonic focus), something which I’d always wanted to experience. That was a heck of a lot of fun and I also got to blend that with a performance of my famous hybrid animal noises (TM) including crazy turkey, dog-duck and dog-cockerel.
I was helped in both of these workshops by the amazing Ludi Valentine, who is actually one of the organisers of the UK Opencon. I really, really enjoyed connecting with her, pink hair, friendship bracelets and all.
Other workshops included more or less loosely organised discussions on different things: The one I remember clearest was a discussion on relationship labels. We talked about different terms such as “primary”, “secondary”, “metamour” and so on related to polyamorous relationships, and how the different words and labels worked for us and how they could interfere with how we relate.
We also did a little Esperanto class, run by a beautiful boy called Gavan probably because I kept insisting he did it. Then there was a biodanza dance session, where for some reason I started orgasming uncontrollably when anyone touched me, and I had to go lie down. (This spontaneous orgasming thing is something that’s happened to me every so often since my experience with MDMA, which I still have to write about, I know. I’m not sure why biodanza triggered it, as I’ve done biodanza again since and it hasn’t done that, but I wonder if it had to do with the number of really sexy people all in the same place. I got really turned on while dancing with a boy, in fact, though that was a little while before the orgasm thing started. I had to retire from the dance a couple of minutes as my cock was pinning my skirt up like a tent pole, which was rather unladylike).
It wasn’t all “official” workshops though. We blended it with some spontaneous stuff, like doing some yoga, spinning hula hoops, and lounging about the pool naked while Nomad, our resident particle astrophysicist, gave us a talk about why the Higgs Boson actually matters. [Note: this was before the news of just a few days ago that the Higgs Boson has been more or less officially discovered].
I don’t know why, but there is something quintessentially “polyamory” about this image for me: a group of people hanging around a pool, naked, listening to an informal talk on particle physics. If I could choose an image to sum up the polyamory scene, this would be it. You know, the swinging scene is more like wild parties and stuff, the sort of thing people imagine the polyamory scene to be when they haven’t experienced it. The polyamory scene is more geeky, more relaxed, and somehow essentially cool in a way that you just can’t get by trying. For me that’s summed up in naked particle physics. I just can’t explain it better than that.
The last night involved some beautiful poetry and short story reading, some singing, some youtube videos, and plenty of socialising as always. Slowly the number of people awake dwindled like Uranium atoms (sorry) until we were just a few stragglers having a miniature cuddle party. Loth as I normally am to lose out on sleep, I fought my tiredness with the ferocity of a wild cat. Somehow I managed to override my lassitude quite well and I wrung out every last drop of the weekend I could and didn’t even feel very sleepy during the days. I paid with a massive energetic hangover the Monday after and you know, it was worth it.
For all the fun events, it’s the people I take away from Opencon. Happily I made a couple of friends closer to home, but I want to get back to England especially for the Opencon there and to go see the guys in Italy again. As I said there were very few people who *weren’t* amazing. I would so love to spend more time with almost every one of the Opencon Catalonia attendants. As we say in polyamory, love is infinite, but time is not.
But I’ll try my best 🙂