haggis: (Celtic)
[personal profile] haggis
Drove down with Jen.  Got a bit lost on campus (this turned out to be one theme of the weekend.  Jacq and I went out for curry to celebrate our 7 year anniversary :)  My room had a nice big bed.  Had an early night to conserve spoons.

The route to the main venue was long, confusing and poorly signposted but we made it eventually.

Went to Introduction To Diversity which was run by Sam Rankin of the Equality Network.  You can tell a lot about what sort of a bisexual I am by the fact that I chose this over "Flirting with Women For Women" ;)  Good thoughtprovoking session.  Pics of flip chart pics from session here -> https://www.facebook.com/groups/bicon2015/permalink/879291568826059/

Next session was my Bi Carers Meetup.  Really good group of people - small enough to feel safe, large enough that conversation flowed, lots of different perspectives and experiences.

Plenary/Lunch - Food was ok for me but I know a lot of people had problems due to the venue fuckup.  Had to get stuff for my next workshop which took most of lunch time so I chilled out in the quiet room and missed the next session.  Met up with the lovely @1ngi for coffee.  I can get unexpectedly shy around people I know well online but we hit it off immediately :D

Mid afternoon workshop was Setting and Maintaining Boundaries.  This was a difficult subject made manageable by talking about it in terms of making/offering cups of tea.  Some pennies dropped with an audible clunk for me in that session.  Key things I want to remember

  • if I am feeling discomfort/resentful - this can be a sign that my boundaries are being pushed or crossed and at this point it can be useful to reassert your boundaries.  My normal behaviour is to argue myself out of having boundaries or discomfort or or or until I squash myself down so much I explode.

  • I have not had many experiences of people deliberately pushing my boundaries but I do have trouble believing I have the right to have them.

  • As someone who has a lot invested in my image of themself as easygoing, generous, thoughtful, non-demanding etc - it is really scary to contemplate asserting boundaries but my sky-falling-in fears are fears, not predictions.

That session was a bit emotional but I had to rush straight into running Fitting and Misfitting in the Bi Community with Nye.  I had not had chance to run through the script this year so it felt less slick than normal but it all worked fine and lots of people said they found it useful.  I have run this for several years now because I think it is really useful to open conversations about the diversity of the community, help new people feel less alone and start conversations about how we can be more inclusive as a community.

Went for food and spent about an hour waiting for the queue to die down and then another 40 minutes standing in the queue.  Given the size of the dining hall, I was astounded at how bad the staff were at dealing with large scale catering.  There were two choices (curry or baked potatoes) and my choice (chicken curry) was pretty nasty.  Some simple things like splitting the queue into chicken or potato and letting people see the menu while they were waiting would have helped but fundamentally they needed a lot more staff and lot more range of food available.

I spent the evening in Games Room, playing Mascarade (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/139030/mascarade) and Love Letter (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/129622/love-letter). ; They were both a mix of strategy and randomness with beautifully illustrated cards.  I was sad to miss the comedy and magic show downstairs but a chilled evening was just what I needed.

Overslept and missed the first session.  Got halfway to venue and realised I'd left the clothes to the fat femme clothes swap so I went back to my room and then practiced for my workshop instead.

Second session was the History of Bi's of Colour session which was really encouraging.  I can remember the angry discussions at '09 which sparked the Bis of Colour workshop in '10 and I have witnessed (by speaking to attendees after the session) what a big difference that session makes to Bis of Colour.  The LGBT scene, including bi stuff is very white and can be really unwelcoming, sometimes because of deliberate racism but sometimes unintentionally.  Jacq talked about the first session in 2010, which was all about racism at BiCon and how much of a relief it was to be with people who understood and didn't dismiss or gaslight racist behaviour.  This session, they talked about other stuff because racism at BiCon has reduced and the organisers are much better at handling it when it happens.

Jacq also talked about the Bis of Colour History project and how people could support Bis of Colour.  One of the big issues is money (see here http://www.gofundme.com/bochistory) and people donated £150 at that workshop which just brilliant.  Currently there is nothing else like this in the world and it would be heartbreaking to see bis of colour written out of history a la Stonewall.

Lunch was mostly the Fat Femme Clothes Swap.  I gave away two things (a dress and a top) and picked up two really cute tops, one of which was described as 'really emphasising my breasts' but in a subtle way rather than a corset-ish way :D.  I shall be wearing them out more and look out for more tops in this style .

I went to Sanji's bellydancing session which I found interesting but a bit difficult.  I found the movements quite hard to get the hang of and I felt unfit and unco-ordinated and argh.  This is no criticism of Sanji who facilitated it really well - v encouraging and helpful in suggesting ways to adapt the moves for different people.  I slipped out 15 min before the end to get a drink and prepare for my last workshop.

Last workshop of the day was my Fat Positivity one which went really well.  I will be putting the workshop plan up online with some comments on how it went and how to improve it but people made really useful comments and we got a range of different views.  My co-facilitator was really helpful in running a complex session and I am proud of how it went.

After clearing up, I'd missed the start of the DMP so skipped that in favour of chilling with Jacq and friends in the cafe.  We went out for dinner (another curry!) instead of risking the food again.  It was nice to chat with Calum and Puzzle, who I'd seen around BiCons but never got to know.

Back home and decided not to try and fit my curry-filled belly into a corset.  Meandered around the ball, chatting to lovely people but mostly stuck to the quieter areas.  I was amused by Jen's cardboard box 'Gingerbread House' costume and there were also some gorgeous ones such as Hessie's ladybird and Lucy's Grecian goddess.

I woke up reasonably early on Sunday but failed to get out of bed until the last minute.  (Bethan and I were exchanging texts about the 'sudden gust of gravity' that kept us both pinned to the bed.)  Went along to Purple Prose in a generally supportive manner and have identified some of my FB rants/discussions that may be relevant so I will be passing them onto Katy for inclusion/ignoring as she sees fit.

Next was the closing plenary, where they announced the teams which had stepped forward to run 2016, 2017 and 2018.  The team for 2017 is currently made up of 3 bis of colour and David Matthewman.  I am just delighted to see (see above comments about BiCon being a very white-dominated space that has been working to be more inclusive.  2016 will be the same core team that ran 2014 and I am really looking forward to it already.

Then we all gathered in the foyer for the photo (here https://www.flickr.com/photos/99353270@N08/20025656044/in/dateposted/!) and started the obligatory hug marathon, saying goodbye to lots of people, including quite a few that I had not had time to properly interact with.  I took Jacq to the station and dropped Bethan off in Birmingham before stopping into the BBB to meet up with Jules and Jennifer.  It was a lovely way to extend BiCon and get some extra flirting in.  The journey home was a bit of a trek but it was well worth it :)
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June 2017

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