The Faire is Over

15 Sep now leaving spain

I’m going on hiatus. This season of CRF will be my last faire season.

I don’t know how long this hiatus will go on. I’ve sworn to wait the entirety of 2016 before I make any decisions, and in the meantime I am trying to focus on the here and now and get healthy.

The last fiveish years have been really difficult. At some point in late 2013 I wrote “I am burned the fuck out” in a post I never finished, and that feeling never went away; it only got worse. I began seeing a therapist after finishing Scarborough this year, and I’ve been diagnosed with depression and general anxiety disorder. I need a break from travel, stage fright, homesickness, post-show depression, worrying about money, being sick, and the physical and emotional demands of performance, the venue, and juggling two or three jobs. I’ve got a full time job that is enjoyable enough and pays well enough to keep at for the foreseeable future. mr. biscuit and I are working on getting our debt paid off, and I’m working on getting healthy.

I attended my first renaissance festival in the fall of 1992 or 1993. My friend’s family took me and my sister. The next 7 or 8 years my family went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival for a weekend every year. I loved it. I would cry when it was time to leave at the end of the day. In 2004, as a college sophomore, I auditioned for and got hired to be on the cast. It was a dream come true, and this is what I said about opening day (courtesy my livejournal):

“Ren Fest was the absolute shit, I’m tired beyond all reason, my poor breasts are sunburned, and I haven’t stopped smiling in about 3 hours.”

I spent six years on the cast of the Georgia Renaissance Festival, and for the most part they were excellent years. How many things happened there? I can’t even begin to tell you. I met mr. biscuit, and any number of my closest friends. I discovered within myself a talent and affinity for this very particular type of performance. I made a lot of people smile. And I had a shit load of fun. Leaving was one of the hardest decisions I had made up to that point, but I left to pursue other opportunities. When I told the entertainment director that I would not be returning for the coming season, I already had plans to go after the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. I got in. And after years of trying, I got into the Carolina Renaissance Festival. And I did really well. I met more dear friends, and developed a funny, tight, high-energy, educational, empowering act that can be as intimate or broad as the situation warrants. And I made money, and I had the time of my life, and I learned how to sew.

Esperanza began as a Spanish pirate who was in England trying to track down King Henry VIII in revenge for the death of her mother. She evolved into a Recruitment Officer for the Spanish Army, building an army on English soil. This is how the costume looked my first year:

Esperanza v 1

And this is how the costume looks now:

Esperanza final version

Things that have not changed: my penchant for making ridiculous faces.

In between, we had this:

Esperanza v 2

And this:

esperanza v 3

And this:


And this:


And this:


And somewhere along the line I wore myself out.

I don’t know where I’m going from here. My goal is to get healthy—to manage my allergies/asthma, my IBS, my increasingly difficult periods, and my anxiety and depression to a better degree than I am currently managing. I just want to have more good days than bad days. We want to get to a better financial place, to pay off our credit card and student loans so that we can take care of our aging cats and get a new car when we need to and afford to move again when our lease is up, and rebuild our retirement savings after the huge hit they’ve taken in the last few years, and maybe save to buy a place. We want to continue the progress we’ve made towards making our living space pleasant, beautiful, and well-organized(ish). I want to celebrate Halloween and Easter in a way that doesn’t mean working.

This decision was mine and mine alone. I consulted my most trusted advisors over and over again, but ultimately the only person I have to thank/blame is myself. It’s hard to walk away from something I worked to get for years. In pursuit of this dream I spent years going all over the country on my own dime to try and convince entertainment directors to hire me. I cried and struggled and swore and panicked and learned to sew, and eventually I succeeded, and then…I stopped. I know I made the right decision—when I sent the emails to my entertainment directors, I felt a huge sense of relief. But if there is one thing that art students hear over and over again, it’s “don’t give up;” it’s hard to feel like I’m not giving up.

Then again, maybe I am. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this. I love this work, but the things that go with it—travel, shitty working conditions, illness, iffy income, anxiety, homesickness—are just so hard to manage. Maybe I’m just not cut out for those things. Maybe the joy of the work—and there is so much joy in it for me, so that I sometimes feel like I’m going to explode from it—is not enough to carry me through the attendant trials and tribulations. Maybe I’ll never do this again.

Then again, maybe it is, and maybe I will.

I don’t know.

And I’m ok with that.

now leaving spain

Liveblogging Reign: A Poll (subtitled WHAT DO I DO)

29 Nov

So the other day I realized I had forgotten to liveblog Reign for something like a million years, and I was like:

ariel is crying

TRUTH: I am like four episodes behind. That’s ~ten hours of my life because I have to watch each episode twice to catch all the Subtle Nuances and locate appropriate gifs. Do I carry on?

Liveblogging Reign – Episodes 2 & 3 + Character Breakdown

6 Nov

Liveblogging the two most recent episodes of this show was full of hardship and despair. While the pilot remains free from various trustworthy sources including Hulu, one must needs pay cash money to access further episodes. I wrestled with my carefully crafted self-image for quite a long time before I finally signed up for a free seven day trial of Hulu Plus, which should get me through episodes two AND three, at which point I will have to seriously re-examine my priorities. EDIT BEFORE FINALLY POSTING: I failed to re-examine my priorities in time and instead am now paying for Hulu Plus. So….I am paying for this show. Somewhere in my life I made a wrong choice.

In addition to all this, mr. biscuit recently came home with the new Tomb Raider game. So while you read this post, remember that while I could have been following the adventures of Lara “Fuck You I’m Awesome” Croft, I was watching Reign.


Continue reading

Liveblogging Reign

18 Oct

I don’t know why, but I watched the premiere episode of Reign. You know, the show on the CW where the Dauphin of France is running around without pants on and Mary Queen of Scots is wearing sleeveless gowns and sparkly headbands? Yes, that Reign. I watched it. And then I liveblogged it.  For you.

I gave up on the costumes almost immediately, because it was really just dynamiting fish in a barrel and I only have so much outrage in my body. Let’s just talk about the plot, and the acting, and the…the everything. On a scale of One to Ten, I rate it a Hot Mess.

Let’s watch it!

Continue reading

DragonCon wrap up. FINALLY.

10 Oct

DragonCon is over.

DragonCon was over like a month+ ago? I KNOW THAT. I was busy…I don’t know, doing something, probably. Working. Watching the BBC on DVD. Getting ready for the opening of the Carolina Renaissance Festival. I AM A BUSY PERSON, DON’T JUDGE ME.

Where do I even start with this wrap up? I guess with a quick review: our costumes went SUPER well.


Glad you dig it, Mr. Seal

We did almost all of our costuming on Sunday, which made for an exhausting but exhilarating day, and also meant I had an excuse to shower twice.

It was AMAZEBALLS. Allow me to show you more…

Continue reading

Rumors of my demise

11 Sep


To recap the last twoish weeks:

I got home from DragonCon on Labor Day, shoveled some food and water into my gaping maw, fell asleep on the couch, woke up, took a shower, and fell asleep in my bed. Then I spent Tuesday stumbling around in a fog. Then I went back to work, and spent the rest of the time between now and then catching up from five days out of the office. I only dozed off in my car once, and it was before I had actually turned it on. Success!

DragonCon, and specifically the costuming created for it, was a huge success. Posts in the works include one with the pictures I took of other people, and one (at least) with pictures of our costumes. And also, a post about what I have to do before CRF starts in…four? weeks. And then a post about how next year I’m starting DragonCon stuff in January, because I am too delicate to handle another summer of this much stress.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, teaser pictures:

dragon_con_2013_20130902_1699129764 RP

DragonCon prep: a montage

21 Aug

When the hour’s approaching to give it your best, and you’ve got to reach your prime

hour approaching

That’s when you need to put yourself to the test


and show us the passage of time

show us the passing of time

We’re gonna need a montage! Ooh, it takes a montage!


Show a lot of things happening at once

Remind everyone of what’s going on!
remind everyone of what's going on

With every shot show a little improvement

To show it all would take too long

to show it all would take too long

That’s called a montage!


Oooh, we want a montage!


In anything, if you want to go from just a beginner


to a pro


You need a montage! Even Rocky had a montage!


Always fade out in a montage…


If you fade out it seems like more time has passed in a montage…




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