Two years ago this month, I was honored to become a Peer, a Pelican in the Kingdom of Meridies. It was one of those things that I had hoped would happen one day. I have spent the last two years exploring what it is to be a Peer and, depending on whom you ask, the answer can be as varied as the stars in the sky. I would like to give you my feelings on the matter as some of you are well on the road to the recognition that you so well deserve.
Let me tell you….
To be a Peer is to be an example to others. Others will look to you on everything from how to act to how to speak. When you become a Peer, most of what you say and do will be scrutinized because you are expected to be an example (NOTE: this most wholeheartedly and DEFINITELY does not apply to the wearing of spectacularly fabulous, partially somewhat out-of-period fabrics and fashions). Believe me, people whom you barely know will come to you for advice on any number of subjects ranging from the SCA-related to interpersonal relations. To be a Peer is to have a voice and with that, comes the responsibility of using it well and for the benefit of others.
To be a Peer is to share responsibility of helping to keep the dream alive for yourself and others. It means taking an active role, if you already don’t, in local and Kingdom offices, committees, and activities (although it is this sort of thing that gets you pegged / marked to begin with). It means taking the initiative to meet the “newbies” and spend some time getting to know them. It means taking the lead on special projects and putting forth the façade that you actually know what you are doing. Yeah…being a Peer is a little of that as well.
To be a Peer is to be a leader…whether you want to be one or not! In keeping with the last two paragraphs, it means assuming an active leadership role in some shape, form, or fashion. Believe me, people will expect it out of you whether you want do it or not.
Also, to be a Peer means taking the “high road” in public because what you say and do reflect on the other members of your Peerage and the crown. It means, for the most part, suppressing a natural urge to “fend for yourself” and doing what you can for the benefit of others or the group. It also means having to put a filter on your pie hole. I have been witness to what happens to Peers when they let their personal feelings wrest control of their mouth in public..and it isn’t pretty.
This is by no means a comprehensive list. This is just my interpretation and insight into some of the aspects that comes with being recognized as a Laurel, Pelican, or Knight. I’m sure that if you ask other Peers, they may give you similar, and different, versions. I have been very fortunate to have exceptional friends who were Peers who have taught me much. Please feel free to approach any of the Peers, especially here locally, to get their take on the matter.
Lastly, let me say this; it is not the end of the journey…but neither is it the beginning. It is one of those transitions that you make. It is a bend in the road that takes you forward toward an unseen destination. You cannot see around the bend but you know that the road continues. Regrettably, some new Peers see this as the end of the road and take the exit ramp while others use it as a “fillin’ station” and refuel and keep going with a renewed sense of purpose. Should you ever “make it to the party” as Sir Alexander Britehelston says, make sure you are of the latter sort. Use the energy that you tapped in becoming recognized as a Peer, refocus it, and return to be a guide to those who need guidance and a light to those who cannot see their path.