summer art school

Summer art school was a great learning experience.  I had a lot of firsts there, and I want to tell you.

Queer stuff, sexuality, law breaking, silliness.  I was 16 years old, curious, and wild.  Here are ten things I did for the first time at summer art school.

1. smoking

Smoking tobacco cigarettes was something I did age 16 to 24.  Thank goodness I quit when I did.  I hope my body is healed from that bad idea!  I love you, lungs!  And heart, and all my systems.  Hope you’re ok in there.

2. smoking weed

Smoking weed was not legal.  Two friends were going to do it–an advanced hippie, and a neophyte like me.  The neophyte was a friend I loved very much.  She was trying weed for the first time, so my initiation was fun to share with her.

Our hippie friend planned it out for us, to smoke weed in this field by the school.  We called the weed smoking “nature walks.”  Other students at the summer art school called getting high in the field nature walks also.

First the advanced hippie taught us how to smoke on cigarettes.  Then she taught us how to smoke weed from a pipe.  Yes, I have only used a pipe or a bong or eaten it.  I’ve never smoked from a joint.

She had bought some chewable vitamin c for us to try as we were high.  Good idea!  I remember the intense orange flavor.  I remember looking up at the leaves of a tree.  They seemed more distinct and vibrant than usual, rustling in the branches, so full of life.

I can’t remember if the weed worked for my dear friend, her first time.  But it worked well for me.

A week or so later, those two friends were sitting outside drinking alcohol, and I was not interested.  Alcohol was my dad’s drug of choice, and the drug of choice of both my grandpas.  I had endured much violence as a result of it, and it had no appeal.

3.  had to pretend to my mom that I was not high

My mom made me call her every day from summer art school, so I had to call her high a couple times.  Yes, there were at least two times I got high, that summer.  She said nothing about suspecting I was high.  But it felt dirty.

4.  kissed a girl

Summer art school is where I got to know my first girlfriend.  She and I kissed, and kissed, and had some sex.  There was another girl I kissed also, at the end of the program.  She was a thin, white, blond girl who seemed very sensitive and maybe fragile.

“Can I kiss you?” I asked.  She said yes, and kissing her was a thrill.  I liked her, but we never spoke after the program was over.

Then the person who was my roommate at the program–the following year, I went to visit her and stayed a night or two at her house.  We ended up kissing also and having sex, that summer I was 17.

So I guess I have only kissed four girls / women in my life, in a sexy way.  My first girlfriend, the thin white girl at summer art school, my second girlfriend, and my previous roommate.  Hmm, is that it?

Well, I have kissed nonbinary people also, and had sex with nonbinary people.  So it’s not like I only did it with a bunch of dudes.

5.  stole a salt shaker

I stole a salt shaker from the cafeteria of that art school, impulsively.  Theft is not my favorite activity.  I kept the salt shaker for a long time.  It had a blue banana sticker on it.

Who knows what ever happened to it.  Luckily I have stolen very few things in my life and don’t enjoy it.

6. broke up with someone via payphone

Oops, sounds pretty rude, huh.  I was dumping my first real boyfriend.  It was important to let him know as soon as possible that I was done with him so he could make other plans.  Summer was a time of transition, and I’m glad I let him know as soon as I could.

7.  ate a fig

I found a fig tree behind the dorms I was staying in.  Somehow I knew those fruits were figs.  I ate some.  Felt fun to discover on my own.

8.  did graffiti

Yeah, the whole basement was graffiti-ed up.  It was a thing to do there, safe.  Thank you for that, summer art school.

9.  bdsm

That first girlfriend bit me really hard.  The bruises were a testament.

10.  cut my hands on film

Not sure if all film is sharp, or just this film was sharp.  There were gobs of it, in the basement one time.  I picked up a handful and dropped it fast.  Ouch.


Are these things you did, the summer you were 16?  I’m grateful for the freedom I had at summer art school, and grateful I was brave enough to defy my upbringing, childhood religion, and in some ways the society I was a product of.

I’m also grateful my first drug use was beautiful with friends.  Grateful I didn’t enjoy theft, and that I dumped that first real boyfriend.

Grateful my relative chipped in two or three thousand bucks so I could attend this lovely summer art school for rich kids, and I could learn all of this.

By Nest

Curious, disabled Earth Goddess, telling the truth.

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