Once upon a time we had friends who spent their free time in a land of chivalry and make-believe. They put on costumes, went by different names, and pretended to be a part of times long past.
I found the whole thing highly amusing, and politely said this wasn’t my thing but my inner voice was screaming
Then there came a boy who was my beloved son, and he dreamed dreams of becoming a fearless knight. While boys his age were discovering girls and cars, he imagined grand adventures, and wrote tales of dragons and daring, princesses and how best to save them.
Two years of public school bullying had left him questioning who he was and what he wanted that to look like.
“Go find friends,” we urged him. “You need people.” And we pushed him towards the places where he could find people like the rest of us. The “normal” ones.
God bless him, he never complained, trying track, Crossfit, church youth group, and hanging around the local coffee shop. No matter where we sent him, he found no brother knights. He found only ordinary people.
During a late night scroll through Facebook, I stumbled once again across the citizens of the Ansteorran Kingdom.
I sighed, admitting to myself that he would be who he would be. Turning to the boy-man sitting nearby, I asked, “Have you ever heard of the SCA?”
“No. What is it?”
“The Society for Creative Anachronism. It’s this club for Renaissance Faire type of people. They study history, fight with swords, wear costumes…they basically live in their own nerd world every chance they get.”
His eyes grew wide, and he said, “Really? That sounds amazing? How long have you known that this was a thing?…nevermind….it doesn’t matter…..really? A whole nerd world?” And for the first time in a long time, he smiled.
We went to his first sword fighting class last week and again this past Tuesday. He’s clearly in his element. For the first time in a while he’s not the weird kid, he’s actually one of the cool ones.
As I watched him fighting last night with a rapier in one hand and a dagger in the other, the joy on his face told me he’d come home. The rest of us may live our lives in the “real world,” but for this son at least, the vibrant world of Ansteorra is where he’s meant to be.
Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire. – St Catherine of Siena
all photos are property of Paul Mitchell aka Galen of Bristol and are used with permission
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