First Burning Man Experience 2014

As I reflect back to being out in the desert for one week…I am getting cranky.  This space and place we call default world.  I have forever been changed.  This is the biggest playground that I let my inner-child run in.  Riding my green kid’s bike out on the playa during dusk like it’s no tomorrow.  No one tells me to stop.  For the first time, I can actually let that fourteen year old bike until chasing and riding along sunsets.  We take pictures.  The lights, the art projects are amazing.  I am traveling in a vast world that nothing limits me.

It’s a time of expression.  As being bi-racial, Filipino and Black, I have felt the clouds of both oppression and suppressed messages loom over me.  No more.  The ambient techno that plays in the far distant calm me.  My mind is soaring and I continue to bike.  A few laughs are shared and we interact with various art structures.  Afraid of heights?  Yeah, I just overcame my fear pretty quickly on an art project.  The tears started to form as I walked across a palm tree structure that had wooden planks held by what looked like flimsy rope.  I braved it and realized that I had a cheering section going on as my campmate took pictures.  “Look at the blue monkey.  One foot in front of the other…” someone said in the crowd as those were the words that kept me going.  I did it!

I was tested on many levels.  Can’t run to mom and complain about such and such.  It’s all on me.  I own it.  No playing hot potato on anyone.  There is no one to catch it in the hot desert.  We all have our own shit.  Survival is key as that is utmost thing on one’s mind.  Stimuli and being hit with many things…find a coping mechanism quick!

I had access to my tools that I have learned in my personal work and writing was one of them.  The sunlight would strike my tent and leftover techno music is on repeat and the world’s asleep…I start my day.  It doesn’t take me long to figure out using my spray bottle of water on my towel and lathering soap.  Survival mode kicks in.  I only had been camping once with a friend which was an overnight trip.  The very first time that I can think of camp was when I worked as an Assistant Prep Cook for a summer camp.  I, once again, didn’t enjoy the atmosphere as I was in work mode.

Center Camp was my place to get grounded and charge my own inner battery.  I had a routine down…getting in line and ordering either a hot chocolate and depending on my mood, Chai Latte.  I would bring my journal and find a ‘good spot’ to write.

I realize that people come to Burning Man for various reasons.  Some come for the party aspect, for the art, to be spiritually awaken and some, like myself, to unleash the inner child and know that it is safe to do so without judgment.

Flashback to the 90’s and the inner child was the grown up dealing with other people’s shit and making grown up decisions.  No time to be silly or play.  Serious mode is locked in.

My campmate gifted scrolls that had various messages on them.  I picked one and to our surprise, it was blank.  It wasn’t intended to be that way as she had written messages on all of them.  Symbolic…for sure.  You see, I get to have my own canvas…with whatever medium I decide to draw with.   It is time for me to write my own story and own it.

–Michelle

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