We hadn't even planned on going till a few weeks ago.Our good buddy and Conch, Monique was in town and invited us to crash at her place for the weekend of FF. I don't care who you are, someone offers you a free bed for FF, you go.
This is us and Monique just prior to the parade. She's a very shy and reserved kinda person.
We headed down after work on Friday and made good time getting down there. Which was a pleasant surprise. What with normal Friday night traffic, it being FF, plus the remnants of the Hurricane blowing through off-shore, I figured we'd be in for a looong ride. But we made it in just before 11:00 and hit Duval for Round 1.
We caught the last couple songs of the Niki Barr Band show. She is an absolutely amazing female rocker who should be crazy famous right now. I find that when a lot of chicks sing dude songs, especially hard rock songs, they usually come out kinda "meh." Niki Barr abso-freakin-lutely KILLS whatever songs she plays. From Nine Inch Nails to Black Sabbath. I have a huge girl crush on her, so I was thrilled when after the parade the following night we were able to catch quite bit of the show. I'd post pics, but there were always too many boobs on the floor. Well, not on the floor, that would be weird. And there's nothing weird about FF.
Afterwards we people watched and wandered and then had the most amazing Coconut Curry wings I have ever had in my life at Wing Masters. Which we thought was open 24 hours, but as it turns out, closes at 4:00am. Which we found out at 4:10am the next day. Nooooooooooo!!!
Anywings, got up mid-morning Saturday and decided if I was going to have the confidence to pull off Saturday night's post-parade costume I needed to go for a run. Our friend lives about 3 miles away from the Southermost Point so I jogged down there and walked back. It happens so rarely to me anymore, (not complaining, just saying) but there is something so priceless about going for a solo walk in a foreign-ish town/city. Don't know why, but I just love it.
You wouldn't believe the line to get a pic right next to the dang marker. So I just skipped it and did the self-portrait thing. Managed not to duck-face.
The rest of the afternoon Dave worked on Monique's motorcycle and I did a whole lot of nothing. Which was awesome. Just before 5:00 we costumed up.
Yup, I went there.
The theme was Aconchalypse, so we were going for a Mad Max-ish look. Both of our costumes were made from either everyday clothes, or steampunk pieces we already had. Dave's pants and boots are part of his motorcycle gear. My top and bottom are a swimsuit.
Then we hopped on the bicycles and headed to the parade. We were invited to walk in it with some friends of Monique's. They were the Four Horsemen of the Aconchalypse, and we were their minions/exterminators. Instead of horses, they were riding things the locals would like to exterminate; white flies, iguanas, roosters.
Super sweet, fun people. We really appreciated them letting us play along.
Our job was to walk along the float and throw out beads. Dave got a little drunk with power.
I didn't expect the bead-throwing to be so much fun, but it really was. A real bucket-list kind of experience. Everyone had a different M.O. regarding who they threw beads too. I gave them to children, (mostly because I felt bad that they had parents with such poor judgement as to bring kids to FANTASY FEST!?!? SERIOUSLY??!!) to women who were costumed or painted and cute guys regardless of costume. For the especially hot ones I would put the beads on them and then smack them on the butt with my flyswatter.
Don't judge. You don't get given that kind of power and not utilize it.
They actually had some on the float, but with a bladder like a 4 year old I figured I'd better wait.
The rest of the night was great music (at the Niki Barr show), awesome dancing at Aqua and just the best people watching anywhere, ever. Honestly, one of the most fun, perfect nights of my life. And Dave says the same.
Seriously. Could the dude look any happier? Sexy as hell, too. Just sayin'.
I know it's horribly touristy and cliche' to have "the best time EVAR!" at FF, but I don't give a rat's patootie. I totes love to just hang out with my friends in our Shop, or hang out in a quiet dive bar, etc. But every once in awhile there's nothing wrong with going to a loud, packed Club, and dance like a maniac and get a little (or a lot) crazy. At FF they specialize in crazy. And we love every minute of it.
Which brings me to the best part of this year's trip to FF. I have a lot of goals and dreams in life. Lots of them are meaningful and important. Some are not. I'm not afraid to admit that in years past while at events like Fantasy Fest or Daytona's Bike Week, I'd see gals in get-ups similar to the one I wore and think about how badly I wished I could rock what they were rockin'. So to finally have the confidence to wear that costume was HUGE. I'll be honest, at the beginning of the night I still only barely had enough gumption to leave Monique's house in it.
Yeah, I knew there were going to be every, and I mean every, body type out there rocking the paint or nothing at all. And there was. But I didn't want to wear something "cool" and know I wouldn't get judged for it. I wanted to rock it!
And you know what?
I was like a Slutty Cinderella. Granted, I have my theories about an outfit like mine actually getting more attention because the girls weren't showing, etc. But the bottom line is that I got more uh, compliments(?) and uh, offers(?) in one night than I have in my entire life. And fine I'm going to say it, they were coming from types I wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers iff'en you know what I'm saying. Annnd I think ya do.
Is that incredibly shallow and immature of me to get such an ego boost from a bunch of unsolicited male attention? If it is, fine, guilty as charged. But dealing with the body image issues I have been dealing with lately...not knowing where I fit-in in the grand scheme of "bodies," knowing I shouldn't care...but still caring. Well dammit, it was pretty freaking awesome to have a bunch of strangers really drive home the point that I actually do clean up pretty good.
The costume itself helped me channel my inner bad-ass as well. Which, if you've been following along at home, you know that molding my body to match the image of the badass inside my head has been the point of this journey all along.
So yeah. For the first time, I really and truly owned it.