Balloons

Cloud Nine Balloons

I’ll admit: never in my life did I think I’d attend a festival for hot air balloons. But thanks to Nikki and our friends, that happened.

Planning

Nikki texted me a few weeks back saying that she was going to take a girls’ weekend trip. I’d say an easy ninety-nine times out of one-hundred, this would never bother me. Both of us support each other having different friends, hobbies, interests, wacky tastes in anime, etc. We’re very much used to giving a heads up and an acknowledgement when one of us is going off somewhere alone. In this particular case, a little and normally rare sensitivity of mine was tripped. I opened up to her and told her about it, and as I was texting her she was already in the works to invite me too.

So here I am, dumping my heart out in worries of that I’ll never be. Or that if I were I’d be fake. And she sends simultaneously, “You’re coming too!” Haha. Going from crying in my own pity-party to crying out of joy is a flip I’m not used to expressing.

Farmland

On the Road to Virid–

A mental image of Nikki slaps my face before I finish this section’s title. Basically the whole road we took was farmland, as you can sort of see in the picture. I didn’t take much on the road, but I suppose that happens when you’re used to these sights. One thing I honestly wasn’t expecting were the plethora of Amish people on the road. I’ve not been quite that rural in a very long time–so this was an experience.

Things we learned along the way there and back include:

  • Public bathrooms out in rural areas are either lacking in supplies or covered in shit, depending.
  • You can still find blocked-bathroom examples of racism out there.
  • Siri can and will drive you into a ditch if given the chance.

Once we arrived, we were redirected to park at a nearby nature park. This wasn’t so bad–but the walk uphill was fierce for someone like me who basically never walks at all. I wound up busting my calves out to where the left one is bruised a little even now. Whoops! A firm reminder that I should actually work to get in shape, though. Or at least to get healthy!

Cat’s Out of the Balloon

One of the key strengths in the transition process is having people you can trust, be they friends, family, whatever. I’ve known almost for as long as I’ve been totally sure of it myself the few people I would tell offline–and this trip provided me the opportunity to confess to another one of them. It’s always really a daunting process because you never know how people will react. I’d say an essential for deciding who you’d out yourself to, if anyone, is making sure they’re people you inherently trust. That even if they don’t agree with you, they won’t start the snowball process by screaming it to others.

This friend’s reaction went even better than I’d hoped for, although I didn’t get to express it very well given we were regularly in public places. As much as I wanted to grin like a goof and jump for joy when Nikki mentioned, “I guess we can call you her now”–Cracker Barrel is absolutely not the safest place to discuss my preferred pronoun. Once I can tip the aesthetic scale and my voice is comfortable then sure, I’d love that in public for sure. But for now… yeah just privately. ^_^; Although that can get confusing swapping between and I don’t want to bother people nor make it feel risky, so I say, “use whatever you’re comfortable with!”

But I can’t deny that hearing she/her/etc. gets me all warm and fuzzy inside. Like being wrapped in blankets fresh out of the dryer–you just feel right. Like anything wrong in the world doesn’t matter as much for a bit because you’re finally being acknowledged the way you’ve known deep down should’ve always been.

Festivities!

Honestly, I just laid down in our tent and rested for the entire festival. My calves were searing in pain and I didn’t want my groaning to down anyone’s fun more than the walk there did. Only one of us rode in the hot air balloons but that seemed to be exactly what we all wanted. She was totally geeking out about the whole experience–which is always fun to watch a friend do. Even just seeming them rise and fall from our tent was enough for me, as I had never seen them active in person.

Arguably better still was getting to razz on her about her “girlfriend”. They’re not official yet but her excitement about it all was adorable. She was taking advice from all of us and she’s a smart cookie so I’ve few worries. And at the very least, it’s a great experience in her opening up to a truth about herself she didn’t quite understand before. So I suppose in many ways, this vacation was a start to rising up to even better and brighter days ahead!

Happy adventuring!

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