HSS Week 11
As the final weeks of the program were before us, Sara Siegler (Lost Valley’s Executive Director) and Colin Doyle, approached me to see if I was interested in working as the part-time Communications Manager for Lost Valley Education and Event Center. I accepted the position knowing I could put my marketing skillset to use and help Lost Valley move forward with their marketing and outreach. I was even given my own office space that I overhauled and organized for myself, and anyone else who needed public space to work.
The final Wednesday before our PDC project presentations was designing for other bioregions and disaster zones. Brian’s international experience was as a child living with his missionary parents in Southeast Asia, so he spoke to the tropical bioregions pretty well, and covered the basics of arid and cold bioregions.
Brian also recommended the following permaculturists for international examples:
That Friday, we all presented our Social & Economic Projects to the community and a group of guest students on a gap-year traveling via bus to various communities within the US (wish I knew about that as an undecided high school graduate!)
The other groups did really well, especially the “Go Greener, to Save Green” group, who touched on alternative energy solutions, DIY retrofit hacks, and conducting an energy audit with the utility company for reimbursements or grants.
However, I’m gonna brag a little bit, because I felt like my presentation was the best – even though my PowerPoint presentation failed, I was still prepared with a backup plan! I printed out several copies of the tie-dye business plan I developed for Sam and passed those out, and I had printed out my slide show in color just in case (‘fail to plan, plan to fail’) and used that as a visual while I presented. Once I finished my presentation, I knocked all the questions right out of the park – even the ones that tried to be witty or stump me. I received many impressed compliments, and even Rich said he’d hire me in a heartbeat because of my calm confidence presenting and control of the audience. I admittedly enjoy presenting and public speaking, because I’ve had a lot of experience and practice at it, and know how to ‘perform’ and make it compelling – when I actually know what I’m talking about.
We then had our final check-out, a ‘talking stick’ circle where everyone got to share their thoughts and feelings uninterrupted. And after we had a full-house at dinner, I got to have some one-on-one time with Sarah Siegler and really connected with her on a deeper level since we came from professional backgrounds into communal living.
That night, resident Virginia Ashe, invited a few of us to her loft above the Art Barn for a Jam session to celebrate our presentation day. “Nicholas,” Caitie, Ashley, Rich and I went over to Virginia’s tiny loft and got settled in. On the walk over, I noticed Ashley flirting with Rich, which I had seen slightly before, but it was very apparent with how they were interacting in the loft that they hand something going. And that deeply hurt and stoked my jealousy, because I cared deeply for Ashley – even though I knew it wasn’t reciprocated. Seeing that, combined with hearing Caitie (over the weeks, whatever she said or did seemed to always push my buttons), and the music from “Nicholas” and Virginia put me on the razor’s edge of keeping myself together.
Rich had started massaging Ashley, and she asked me if I wanted to join their massage train in front of her. (I don’t think I mentioned this before, but one of the things I was working on at Lost Valley was ‘personal touch’ and boundaries – because personal touch in this environment was more free, casual, and in my personal view ‘polyamorous-ish’ compared to what I was used to.) So I pushed my boundaries and said yes. And after 5 minutes, I had enough and was pushed off the razor’s edge with everything that was overwhelming me in that small space!! I stood up abruptly and left the loft as the tears started to run. I entered the chill silence of the Meadow and sat on the stage processing my feelings…