I thought I might do a better job at recalling all the details, but as I reflected back writing this I know I missed a lot. Without a lot of unnecessary jabber, there were good days and bad days. The bad ones were intensely hard and did my head in, in spite of some of the great things that happened.
Would I go back to Burning Man again? I am less confident than ever right now. I have 2 ideas about the future. Either bring CMonster (aka Kimchee) with me in a camping situation with a camper or RV? Or, stick to regionals and more basic, local community events.
So, the future is unclear.
Day 1: Leaving the Bay Area – Friday, August 27th
It seemed like nothing was going to go right. I left Oakland before 11am and drove out. Traffic was okay and I stopped for food, some last minute supplies and then out to Burning Man. It was a real struggle, but nothing to keep me from moving ahead.
- Going to Walmart was an abject failure. In the past the company really stocked up on stuff Burners needed but they really dropped the ball.
- Reno: out of almost everything I needed.
- Fernley: Had a bike I could buy but not much more outside of food. The folks in Fernley, NV are so nice.
Day 2: Arriving on Playa in Black Rock City – Saturday, August 28th
Got through the gates in 2 hours (a miracle) and got to my camp by 2am. The gate team was really rocking it out. I was camping with Scooter (Coffee Cup) and Kickstand (Propeller) + his bf Theo whom I barely got to know through the week. I was in a tent, Scooter slept in his Honda and Kickstand + Theo slept in their very comfy, a/c filled RV.
Day 3: Sunday
I was genuinely anticipating this day like crazy, because I was working to get certified as a Black Rock City Ranger – and I was successful. I was elated, thrilled, and felt very blessed. I honestly did not think I would make it, but they welcomed me in. It was a 10+ hour shift working with 3 mentors walking through the city and just being there to help people
What is a Black Rock City Ranger? They are a representative of the city that essentially works like a host at a party to keep people happy. Not cops. Not authorities. But, given the wrong circumstances there is problem solving techniques that have authority. I hope to never employ those, because I really enjoyed answering questions from people and helping them help themselves.
- Certified as a Black Rock City Ranger after a 10+ hour shift with 3 mentors!
- Went out after and had a great evening with my L.A. Boys
Day 4: Monday
Hard, hot day, which was going to be the theme for the rest of the week.
Got to catch up with a lot of people this day, which I really needed. Still, missed a lot of people I wanted to see.
Caught up with Raul and Dago after they arrived and visited them over at Comfort & Joy for a while
- Santa & Zebra at the HOTD which filled me with joy
- Matt, the rest of Land of Monkey – meeting up and hanging out for a while
- The guys from Dickstracted Camp – Estaban & Leo
- Over to Beardhaus to see Fireball and saw Migelitoo (a one time serious crush)
- Jill and Ron at Orphan Endorphin
- Megan at Spanky’s (never saw Jonathan at any time I went by)
Day 5: Tuesday
Planned a day with Raul and Dago which did not go as planned. There were a few things that went really verkakte and I might have 2 full blown anxiety attacks over it. It was rough… like rough. It was my first night feeling overwhelmingly defeated and to the point in my head that was truly dark. It was going to happen again later in the week, but I did not handle it well and made some really bad decisions with where and how I spent my time. This might have been a huge breaking point for me.
Day 6: Wednesday – my favorite night
My schedule for Wednesday was super booked. I went over to my old camp (Land of Monkey) to hang out, and as I started out I realized the boots I was wearing were cutting into my foot. So I turned around to change shoes. Ignoring how sore my feet were to begin with, I changed and went on.
By later afternoon my feet were screaming at me for several reasons. The cut, the soreness of my bottom of my feet, and my knee kept going out. I walked back from Monkey in spite of it.
However I had plans with the boys that evening. My bike had broken down. My feet were all I had. But I was bemoaning how sore I was and the lovely Ra (Raul and Dago) along with Rico managed to get a gold cart that 9 of us could ride on and tour the playa together enhanced to the max and have a great evening. This was the best night I have known in so long. I was so happy, filled with love, filled with pure joy. I sore feet.
Because I was working the next day (starting at 6pm), I bowed out on the kids at 2am and went to bed and got a good night sleep.
Day 7: Thursday
My first duty night as a Black Rock City Ranger with a 6+ hour shift. I was sooooo worried I was going to end up with some kind of jerk, homophobe, agro-jerk that I had to prepare myself for anything. I did get partnered with a person named Ranger Group Hug. If a Care Bear and a Rastafarian had a baby you might recognize “Group Hug”. She was super amazing.
On the other hand, my feet hurt so bad I was dissolving on the inside. I was not 100% there, but I pushed through it because I really wanted “Group Hug” to see me as someone fun and a good partner. She was infectious. When I got off my shift, had to walk back to camp at a super slow pace. I ate something and went right to bed.
Day 8: Friday – when it spiraled out
I was taking a day off between Thursday and Friday because I wanted to. I considered working another day, but I was at Burning Man to have more fun than work. Maybe that was where I was going wrong, because I woke up with the weight of the world on my shoulders. The pain from the previous 3 days was breaking me inside.
Bonus! I was given a meal on the commissary from Burning Man for my Thursday work-shift. So, Scooter and I went down and I had real food – with meat in it! I ate chicken, I’m not that into meat but I did it. And it was tasty. With lots of veggies and iced tea!!! Yeah!!!!!
On the way over, Scooter managed to get my bike “functioning”, but it was a problem most of the way. I had to step 5x to catch my breath. I was unable to control my breathing. It was crushing. SO, I told him at lunch I was thinking about leaving. It was the last straw and I was dying inside.
To tell you I was in a dark place in my head, would be an understatement.
If I drove directly home I would have arrived about 1am, and I was already flamed out. So, I stopped at the Circus Circus after using Hotels.Com to find a place… ended up in a 1 bedroom suite that cost a pretty penny. Fuck. Ate at a buger place and slept like a baby in a large king sized bed alone.
Day 9: Saturday -Circus Circus Hotel and driving home
The night before, I washed some of my clothes in the sink at the hotel because I could not find anything in the car after I parked. I got up, bailed on Reno, and went home to my honey-bunny.
I have to learn about what brings me joy and what brings me down – in more ways than one. It would seem as plain as the nose on my face, but the mind, heart and id all seem to speak different languages.
My own personal health issues took over at some point, be they mental or physical. I was not taking care of myself very good and I made it impossible for anyone around me to see how much I was struggling. Anyone who is reading this, any friend of mine who might dismiss this as drama, please unfriend me now and move on. I was in a deep, dark, bad place.
Friends of mine from Orphan Endorphin were dealing with a loss of a campmate, and that impact kept playing over and over in my head. I would never want to leave people I cared about in a wake of pain. Mostly, and seriously CMonster who matters to me a lot.
I was right there. I could understand why he chose to leave. They… because there were others too. I heard about 2 people that week that planned their end and I was seriously trying to figure out if it was my turn.
But that did not happen. I chose to leave BM because of the choices I made that were wrong for me. To find myself a better place to ponder my future… I left.