Here I am again. After a year without writting anything. A year full of new experience, as our little Gorgon came into our lives and change them forever. The path to motherhood hasn’t been easy. At least to my identity.
In my social media I used to describe myself as “Historian. PhD in Archaeology. Larp designer.” Being a larp designer and a larper was a huge part of my identity, of how I see myself. But from the moment I got pregnant I could only play a couple of larps (if you’re interested in my experience I wrote about it here), and I couldn’t organise any.
I had a really rough pregnancy. The morning sickness stayed with me until the morning I gave birth. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t do anything. I felt as I was a total fake, half a person. I really wanted to create, it was important to me, but it was impossible.
And the little Gorgon didn’t make it easier when he arrived to us last November. Don’t get me wrong. I love my little one, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me, but it isn’t easy to be a new mother, leaving in a country in which you don’t have any family or social support. And it’s even worst when you have high expectations of yourself, and you want to do things, but you spend your days cluster-feeding the little one.
Luckily, I haven’t suffered from post-natal depression. I have been more active. But I have to be clear. In this 8 months, I only had time for one thing: taking care of the baby. No archaeological digs, no published articles, no larps, no larp writting. Anything. And in those moments, you don’t feel like a human-being, you feel like a milk-cow. A machine make to fulfill your kindred’s needs. Nothing more. And life should be more than that.
I have tried to write a larp for months, I have the ideas. But I haven’t got the energy to transform those ideas into reality. But it’s time to change that. Now I’m a little stronger, I have change the way I think about it, so I set little objectives.
And the first one is… being able to larp with the little one!
I’m still breastfeeding him, and I intent to do it for a while. So… he has to be with me all the time. And that’s a challenge. But with the help of the community I can do it or I hope to.
The first step has been to play two on-line larp scenes from the amazing larp “Nobilis” created by the talented Marina Peonía and her team. She was the one that believe that I coudl larp from England and with a baby. She adapted everything to it. And I’m so grateful. Those two scenes made me confident to try what I’m trying to do next weekend: playing two larps with the little one there.
Hey! I have good news! Our little Gorgona’s family it’s increasing! A little Gorgon it’s to be born in November, and that has given myself, the mum-to-be, a new perspective about the problems of larping and gender.
I’ve been talking about this issue for a while with some friends and in some general groups of feminist larpers, but I want to share my own and new experience 😉
OMG! I’m pregnant and I have a larp this week!
I think that was the first thing I thought when I new it. I had to take a plane in two hours, that would begin a journey of 10 days, visiting three different countries, with an amazing ending, my first College of Wizardry experience.
My head was full of doubts. I was in so early state that I almost has no symptoms (luckily!!) but I was more tired than usual. In addition, it was before the three months barrier, so the risk of miscarriages it’s huge. My mind was spinning with questions, but I was decided to not let the pregnancy avoid the developing of my normal life.
So there we went. Fortunately I was travelling with my husband and we had been assigned to a double room, so I could rest if necessary. My first question, once arrived was if I should inform the organisation and my co-players (the closest ones). Finally, I decided to tell it only to the organisation, so they could know of my condition in case of a medical emergency. That’s what I would love to happen in my larps, and so I did. I didn’t talk with my co-players but one, as it was too early and I didn’t want the news to spread, just in case something got wrong…
As it was a no-contact larp, the risks about an accident were minimal. The only problem was getting too into the character that you forget that you need to drink and eat periodically. And, well, of course, that I was so tired that climbing the stairs from one part of the castle to the other was really hard. And I had to forget also staying late at night, including the afterparty.
All in all, it was an amazing experience. I loved the larp. I would have written a review in the moment, but I didn’t know how to separate it from my new maternity discovery… so I had to wait until now 😉
In the meanwhile… the sickness
I had a horrible first three months of pregnancy. Luckily they worst was just in between the two larps I had planned before knowing the news. Sickness, tiredness, lack of energy… So I was really worried about being part of Harem, the next larp I had planned.
So I talked to Muriel, the organizer of the larp, and she told me not to worry. I could be part of the larp without problem (I wasn’t the first pregnant women in taking part of it), and I could rest as much as I needed. Even though, I was feeling really bad and I kept praying for being better for that moment (I would be 14 weeks pregnant, so it was supposed to get better…).
One funny thing about being pregnant if you’re a larper is that the first people to know about your pregnancy are your organizers. It had happened to me when I was an organizer (some pregnant friend having to tell me it before the others friends), and I did the same when my time came. Priorities, I guess 😉
And now… Harem son Saat
Luckily, I got better the week before Harem. We had a trip planned to Paris and I was able to enjoy it. I should take it easy, but I could do the basic things, and I was strong enough for going to the larp.
Before hand, I was worried about my character. In the casting process, I had asked for a dramatic character, that suffers the death of her son and has a bad relation with her daughter. So mother-child issues was the main issue of my game. But it wasn’t the same being pregnant myself. I had to be careful with the bleed of the character.
Surprisingly, I was able to play it a lot better than I thought. My character was sad all the larp, and her ending was quite tragic (It’s the first time ever I decided to kill my character in a larp due to her desperation). In fact, Aysel taught me a lot about maternity. When the larp has ended I was more confident about myself. I guess it’s difficult to be worst mother than she was 😉
Other of the most beautiful things about this larp was that, for the first time, as the three first months were finished, I was able to be open in public about the pregnancy. I told it during the workshops, so all the players and NPCs knew about it and they could act in consequence. It was a marvelous experience. I was never more supported as a player. They took care of me, asked me if I was ok, and organisers/NPCs drove me between the two locations if I was too tired to walk. People, you were so great! You made me feel welcome and protected, and that’s amazing when you’re in a vulnerable position.
In addition, the larp made me realise another big thing about me and the baby. I’m an amateur belly dancer but I haven’t dance for a while when the larp began. But, as I was feeling so sad (well, my character was, but you know, the bleed 😉 )and oriental music was playing, I had the urgent need to express the grief through dancing. And it was a marvelous therapy both for me and the character. I finally even danced in public (improvising, that it’s always a difficult thing for me), and I was so happy with the results. I felt so connected with my baby through the dancing that I decided to keep dancing out of the larp, everyday.
Dancing during the larp Harem son Saat. Photography: Jerome Verdier
Dancing during the larp Harem son Saat. Photography: Jerome Verdier
All in all, Harem son Saat was, maybe, the best larp I’ve ever played. And being pregnant in it was a marvelous experience that I will repeat again. I’m sorry for not writing a more traditional review about it, but there are some really good ones that you can read as Mo’s, (I will try to have time and write a little about the similarities/differences with our style of larp).
Writing about “Flesh” is, maybe, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Flesh is designed by Frederik Berg, Rebecka Eriksson and Tobias Wringstad, and it became the strongest experience of the weekend. It was, even, a life-changing one for most of us. Therefore, trying to make a review without telling personal histories is not easy.
First of all, Flesh it’s not a larp. It’s most like a therapy. And it’s only for women (trans or cis). At least in the way that we played it. It requires a private space and certain grade of reliability between the players. We weren’t sure about how to play it exactly (if we have to do it all together, the times of each action…).
And that’s why we adapted the game in a way we think it could work. Maybe, when you read it, you realised we were totally wrong about it. Yes, we admit that.
We played it in turns. Each of us chose a song, which really meant something to her, so they can, literally, nude their bodies and souls. When we did that, we wrote in our bodies the problems we have with them, and our strengths. We objectify ourselves until the point of being nothing but a body. And after, the other players erase it for us –while explaining why it is not important-, letting us be only flesh.
It was wonderful, and terrifying. We discovered things about ourselves that we had never realised before. We open our souls, and let the others be inside. We broke, but we manage to rebuild us in a new, strong way.
Writing about 6066 after Flesh, it’s hard, because they are two totally oposed experiences. 6066 is a comedy larp written by Elin Nilsen. We played it on Sunday morning, one some guys and other girls had come also. Even if it’s supposed to be from 3 to 6 players, we were 11. I think it is a larp that could be escalated, but I didn’t recommend to be more than 8 (we were too many people for some of the actions).
I have to admit that it was one of the most appealing larps for me. As being a doctor in Archaeology, I’m personally interested in how you can know a society by the things they left behind. In that way, using a soap opera was really an amazing way to point the gender roles problems that we are leaving behind.
On the other hand, it was hilarious to play. We were inspired by the south american soap operas (the most common in Spain) and we translated the title as: “Amor, Lujuria y Desconfianza”. One of our friends invented the entire song of the credit lines, and we were singing it for days.
I have to confess that we played it for nearly two hours, but it was so much fun. The mechanic of changing between the soap opera and the students seeing it, and being able to stop, pause and rewinding was so well designed. Totally recommended.
We found all the games of #feminism that we played very interesting. It was a pitty not having more time on Sunday to play more of them (we wanted to test with the guys the games “Catcalling” and “A Friend in Need”). So we have decided two important things. The first of all is that we have to do them another day. The second one, it’s that the girls will meet once a year, alone, for enjoying that amazing experience. We hope to design our own games next time.
It was an incredible experience for ours (the girls who passed all the weekend). After it, we are like sisters, we have share too much for not having a real liaison, something special. And that’s something that you cannot pay with money.