Tonight I played, and I had a grand time.

So, the Matrix.  I loved the first movie.  I loved the idea of choosing raw, real Life over manipulated, manufactured experience.  I loved all of the wild bodily contortions and utter defiance of the “laws” of gravity and physics.  I loved the strong woman character who didn’t have long flowing hair and enormous breasts.  I cringed at the extreme violence, and the rest outweighed it.

I first saw the movie here on the commune a few years ago, with a whole group of Matrix-loving communards.  One of those was Valerie, a close friend of mine with whom I’ve had several exciting adventures (including an 18 hour roadtrip to Iowa — yeehaw!).  She and I have a similar love for feminism, dancing, chocolate, Madonna, and cultural revolution (not in that order).  We also love the Matrix.  We recently realized that neither of us had seen the third movie, so we decided to make a date to watch it together.  We both had seen the second one, and neither of us were particularly thrilled with it (one of the reasons why we hadn’t yet bothered to watch the third).  We figured it was time to complete the Matrix experience, so we set aside tonight to be the night and Valerie put in a TOR (a request to the daily “town tripper” to run any errand) for the DVD.

We planned on borrowing someone’s laptop to watch it  (we have several — 3? — actual DVD players hooked up to tv’s, but they were all signed out for the night).  Last night, I mentioned my  upcoming date to one of my lovers, an ex-member who lives in the nearby city of Charlottesville , and he suggested bringing the movie over to his place and watching it on the (gasp) wide screen television!  This morning I proposed it to Valerie, and we studied the vehicle log and found that someone else already had a car going in to Cville tonight and was planning to stay late.  We checked in with her and decided to carpool (it’s about a 45 min drive).

About 10 minutes before we had arranged to leave, I had a stroke of brilliance.  I ran up to Commie Clothes (our free thrift store) and found tight black pants and a tight black strappy tank top and a (gasp again!) long black leather jacket.  I grabbed them all, strode over to the office, grabbed Valerie and dragged her back up to “Commie” to find a similar outfit for her.  She’s very thin, and we were despairing about finding pants to fit her when suddenly I reached into the rack of pants and pulled out the perfect stretchy tight sexy black pants (how many times can I use the word “pants in one sentence?  What else can you call them?), which fit her deliciously.  And believe it or not, we found another long black leather jacket.  Commie Clothes is a treasure trove for creative costumes.

While we were wating for the other carpoolers to gather, we practiced our Matrix moves in the parking lot, jumping and spinning and cocking our arms at weird Fosse angles, swirling our leather jackets around dramatically.  When the other carpoolers showed up, we rolled over the hood of the car and jumped into the backseat.

The rest of the evening was more of the same.  When we showed up at Free’s place (yes, his name is Free), we Matrixed up to the front door and put on a show for him to let him know what he was in for.  We jumped around the living room and demonstrated how we could cut up the broccoli for dinner by throwing it in the air and chopping with many knives all at once.

Then we watched the movie, which wasn’t nearly as exciting as all the playing we were doing.  It was cheesy and violent and a too much of an extrapolation on the original concept of the first movie.  And still, we had a great time — lots of strong female characters, lots of non-white leading roles, and lots of wild body gymnastics.  And when the movie was over, we jumped and danced around some more to the music that played during the credits.

And then our ride came to pick us up, and we all drove back home (Valerie and I agreed that neither of us should drive, though, because of all the things we might attempt to do with the car).  We showed off our costumes to some people who were up late in the courtyard (who didn’t really get it), and then said goodnight.  I’m getting ready to head to bed, and I wanted to document my excitement before it diffused into the dreamworld.

All through the night, I felt a kind of freedom in the silliness of our costumes and antics.  Before we started the movie, we took Free’s car to the nearby grocery store to buy ice cream and popcorn.  I felt a relaxed excitement about going out in public in costume, and I loved that feeling of  “I’m living my life, having fun, being silly” without the fear or worry of other people thinking I’m weird.  That fear has played fairly big for me at other times in my life, and I think it’s really been my time at Twin Oaks that’s helped me to relax out of it.   I guess that by choosing to live on the commune, I have the experience of doing something that I really believe in despite the judgement of other people, and I’ve discovered that that’s okay.  I can handle that judgement; I can handle being thought of as weird.  So, I can give myself even more flexibility in that and dress up in costume and go to the grocery store and delight in dancing in the parking lot.  Another piece of it, I think, is that on the commune I have the experience of being honored as a whole, complex person.  When people know so much of Who I Am, doing “weird” things doesn’t automatically give me a “weird” label or devalue who I am; it just adds to the complexity that people already know.  And as a person  who has throughout my life highly valued what other people think of me (too much, oftentimes), I find abundant freedom in feeling known for more than just labels attributed in fleeting interactions.  I stop worrying constantly about what people think of me because of the look I just gave them or what I’m wearing, and I begin to focus more on the larger question of Who I Am, who I want to be, and how I want to engage with other people.

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I’m hoping to get back into more regular posts.  It’s a bit difficult to find time to sit in front of a computer for very long lately, and I’m not complaining about that.  I have a whole queue of topics I want to write about… perhaps tomorrow (which is already today)….

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