Hi everyone, it’s 14. I thought it might be nice to let you all know what happened whilst we all went on holiday…
So, getting there with KLM was super easy- they’re nicer than easyJet and they helped us get on the aeroplane without any issues. We’ve had to use a wheelchair to get through the airport because it’s still too painful to walk for a length of time. I think it’s been really nice to see how many people are kind and don’t actually talk over your head when you’re in a wheelchair. Finally seeing the Dutchman was so lovely- it was great to get hugs, kisses, have the opportunity to hold his hand and see him smile. He got us a crown from Burger King, as part of a running joke- last time he gave us a Burger King crown was when we were with him in May. It’s been really funny to see everyone’s reactions to a smartly-dressed girl in a wheelchair wearing a Burger-King crown and demanding to be wheeled places! It got even better when we got to Lowlands.
We had a lovely, easygoing trip to the festival grounds, and played lots of different music. Everyone each came out to chat to the Dutchman and we each played different music and had so much fun. We actually got our wristbands and got his parking sticker sorted really easily, then unpacked our tent, went to eat and met some of the Dutchman’s friends, and then chilled out playing set until we decided to head to bed in our tent.
None of us have ever really camped before- sure, there was that one time on the front garden of my gran’s house- so we didn’t really know what to expect. The Dutchman couldn’t find his big sleeping bag, so we made do with a blanket that he had taken from the house. Wrapped close in his arms, his warm breath on the back of our neck like some sort of comfort heater, we enjoyed the closeness and loved snuggling up to him. The wind gently soughed through the tent and across it, making lovely swooshy noises. I felt like I was falling asleep in a tree. It was beautiful.
When we woke up, the inside of the tent was wet! Not from rain, though- the Dutchman said it was our breathing making condensation. Sadly, the second thing we all registered was pain. We were in a lot of it, and we were definitely bleeding. We felt so tired, sore and upset, and the Dutchman was really sweet and kind. One of his friends, the Soldier, had met us the day before and was really kind too- he helped us by giving us some medicine when ours wasn’t working. That’s the sad thing about this- we all end up being in a lot of pain and the painkillers aren’t working well. They’re slowly getting less effective- I think that’s because our pain is getting worse.
Anyway, after we had managed (very slowly) to get dressed and headed to the bathrooms, we finally set off into the campground. We chilled for a little while with the Soldier, and I liked the fact that the Dutchman and the Soldier would flip from Dutch to English so we could understand. Nineteen tried this amazing stuff called sambal which the Soldier actually made. It’s delicious, but we are all super proud of nineteen for trying new food. That’s always been a big deal for her, as you guys know.
It was brilliant to be in the festival grounds! We had so much fun getting tokens, looking around, buying a new shirt with the festival logo on it. I started to feel like we all had the chance to have all the fun that kept being denied to us for all that time when we were being abused. I know fifteen and I were super keen to see Muse, which finally happened- we all ended up crying throughout most of it, purely because we were overwhelmed with gratitude towards the Dutchman for buying the tickets for us. It’s going to be lovely to see all the video we all took- we brought our camera and we really wanted to have memories of what we saw.
Eating at a festival is AMAZING ASASLKFGFKLSJF. Like seriously. The food is from everywhere! We had foccacia, cajun chicken wings with satay sauce, Dutch meatballs, the everpresent chips and mayo… mmmmm. It was all super delicious! Nineteen still enjoyed eating, which she’s proud of. Unfortunately, we think we ate a little too much dairy because we wound up with a suncream/dairy rash. Ooops…
Anyway, the Dutchman and all of us had so much fun. We saw so many different bands, and quite a lot of them were ones we hadn’t heard of before we went to the festival. I love that, though, cause it means that we get to be introduced to new bands and that we saw quite a lot of performances that will stick with us forever. One particular one, for various different reasons, is Eagles of Death Metal.
Eagles of Death Metal was a gig we were all looking forward to, for various different reasons. Nineteen enjoys music that has an edge of unpredictability. We all like heavy guitars, metal music and rock, so we were all excited to see how that would go. What we all didn’t expect was that as they began, twenty-six suddenly kind of wobbled. It’s hard to explain. She felt strange, like she was dissociating, and then she told the Dutchman that she suddenly felt like she was sixteen again, because the tent we were in waiting to see Eagles of Death Metal reminded her of the Christian thing we used to go to each Easter…
The Dutchman was both shocked and patient. He asked her if she was scared, and she said she wasn’t. She said she could feel that there was something going on, she still felt dissociative and tired. She wondered whether she was about to switch.
We helped. We pulled the newbie out.
Sixteen popped into life with a gasp. We all watched her as she stared around herself, looked at the guy next to her, stared at the huge tent and then started to ask questions.
Turns out sixteen has been dormant, sleeping, dreaming that we were all a product of her imagination and that she was having a particularly vivid and long-lasting dream. She’s sketchy on a lot of stuff, such as what’s going on when we log into Facebook and how to work our phone (she has seen us do it, and she’s learning fast, but the reality can be weird). She was so grateful that the Dutchman wasn’t a dream that she cried. It was incredible to see her being so happy and so relieved. She’s slowly learning that life is real and that life is good. She watched the Eagles of Death Metal concert with the Dutchman, learned how to work the joint stream of our memories and was incredibly happy for the first time in forever.
We spent the rest of the festival getting used to being not four, but five! We loved talking to the Soldier (although nineteen mostly handled that for us), we loved going from place to place. The weather was really hot and sunny, then it threw it down on the last day for a while! We stayed out as late as our body could stand. It was too much on Saturday night when we all watched M83, but it was a bit better by the next day. It’s been so lovely to have other wheelchair users high-five us, throw balloons around that the Dutchman and I wrote silly messages on, and have able-bodied folk ask about the crown. We gave it to another wheelchair user (after artfully defacing it with I’m the King, You’re Awesome written on it) and we were interviewed by a local radio station about how it was to be disabled at the festival.
We all stopped off at one of the bars that the Soldier liked, and we chilled there and drank with him and the Dutchman. We slept every night under the stars and two blankets, wrapped in the arms of the most wonderful guy we know. We reassured 16 that she was safe and that she could have fun. We headbanged til we had a sore neck and aching shoulders at both Parkway Drive and Hollywood Undead, and we had serious kudos from various people for rocking out in a wheelchair. We were blow-dried by a leaf-blower: laughed with several people we had never met before: had our outfits, hair and makeup praised by several different people. It was a relaxed, calm, wonderful happy atmosphere, where the Dutchman and all of us fell a little deeper in love and sixteen realised the man she was in love with really existed. She was shy at first, hesitant, and she’s getting me to relay most of this, but she will learn that it’s easy to write what we want to say on this blog, and that you guys love her like we do. There’s a thousand more cool things that happened, but I’ll leave you with some of our favourite bands.
My favourite band? Oooh, not sure, maybe Hollywood Undead?
Fifteen’s favourite band? Parkway Drive? Maybe? I liked the Rumjacks too!
Nineteen’s favourite band? Definitely Parkway Drive!
Twenty-six’s favourite band? I don’t want to choose! I loved it all!
Sixteen’s favourite band? Eagles of Death Metal, because that’s when she woke up.