My First Burn

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maryanimal
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My First Burn

Post by maryanimal » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:33 pm

Driving out to the playa, I was told to keep my expectations low in case I didn't like the whole BM experience. So, I thought about it a few times during the 19 hours it took me to get there.

I passed the playa a nd ended up in Gerlach, much to my delight! I saw what looked like the beginning of the Burning Man Mall. I went futher in and got lost. Now then, can you picture getting lost in Gerlach? Nuff said. I pulled over to the side of the highway and a man stopped and asked if I needed help. I told him I was going to the burn and asked him if I was going in the right direction. and he pointed to all the trucks, cars, and RV's going the other direction and said all those folks were going to the burn. How on earth could I have missed that?!? nevermind. He then told me that empire was just up the road a ways and that sent a tingle up my back. I thanked that nice man and bid him farewell! He said enjoy the burn, I thought about those low expectations again. I wanted to go to Empire and see the little market there, and I did. I placed my supplies in my already over-stuffed car and headed for the playa.

As I was going through the entrance, I was getting all choked up. Not from the joy of finally being there, but from all the dust the other vehicles were kicking up, racing to the beginning of the entrance exam. After they fisted my belongings in the trunk, they sent me off to the greeters. I was met by a nice man named Sterling. Sterling asked me if I was a virgin and I told him not in the biblical sense but to burning man I was indeed a virgin. Finding out about my bad knees, he said I didn't have to roll in the dirt, which bummed me out. BUT I did get to ring the bell shouting my declaration of no longer being a virgin! I told him I wish it were that easy the first time! Sterling and I shared winks, laughs, and hugs.

As I drove in, I saw some lights off in the distance. It was 3:15 am and I could see that the playa had not yet filled up with people, so I stopped to look around and I thought, "this is really a city, not just a huge campground", and that was the beginning of my experience.

When I got to my camp's location, there were only a few tent's and such. The first burner I met was David across the street. We chatted for a while. He saw I was tired and let me sleep in his supply tent. I thought that was so nice, especially when I woke up and found it was full of food and booze! Lucky I wasn't hungry or that I drank!

Then I met a nice young man named Drew, and his sweet fiancee Mindy. They were from Connecticut. He and another nice young man where staking out the camping spots when I finally got mine...way out in BF Egypt. It felt like I was in the time-out room, but then I was moved forward to another spot because I was in the middle of the access road. Pffft, I said to myself. But in spite of myself I liked it out there! It was quiet and peaceful! And Drew was so kind to me! How could anyone get upset with such a sweet guy?

Then I met Bernie. A very nice guy from Calgary. I tried to help him with his shade canopy and found out he was funny, kind, and easy on the eyes. I asked him what was his success to him being married 30 years. He said he was lucky finding the girl he married. Simple as that.

I also met a group ouf Shangra-playans. Joella, WonderDave, Creston, Max and Sparky. I kept forgetting Sparky's name...poor guy. (Spunky, Skippy, Stinky) He was a very nice guy and uber-intelligent! And very nice group pf people.

As the days progressed I saw how large the city was becoming and how different every space was. No two spaces or burners were alike. I was really liking the vibe I was feeling. But alas, I couldn't bring a bike. So I walked everywhere I went. I got lost on Sunday night and had to keep asking directions to where I lived. I finally made it back and collapsed into the best sleep I've had in ages.

My expectations were higher than when I came in. I started having issues with coming alone though. during the days was ok. I'd explore things myself. But when it came to evening, I was alone. I noticed people who came with others, went out with each other and had fun. I felt like I didn't fit in as I had no one to hang out with. I didn't feel like butting in to others' night out. I cried a few times at night. There I was, surrounded by thousands of people, yet I was alone. I couldn't imagine going to bed at 8:30 or 9 pm at burning man.

I finally caught up with my ex husband at the Eplaya M & G. I felt so special and loved that night. I got to meet everyone I met on Eplaya. I got huge hugs from everyone! And unfortunately I made an ass of myself that night too, but I won't go into that. It was such a fun night! Then it was over and I was alone agian. Being a somewhat shy person, I put myself out there and met people but didn't have anyone to hang with. I thought, "What the fuck is wrong with me?" So the next day I was able to borrow a bike and took off. I saw so much more. But then at night I had no one to share it with.

I sat in my tent and had a pity party. Then it dawned on me...like a big fucking brick fell on my head. I wasn't creating my own burn. An experience only I could do myself. I was starting to get it. You know...IT! I met lots of people in my travels around the playa and had great conversations with them. Then they would hug me, tell me they're glad I made it to the burn and welcome home...it makes me cry just thinking about it. People gifted me their time, love, caring and water with me. Gifting wasn't just about trinkets. Oh my God, I thought. Here I was worrying about the material things I could give to people, but it was the service of myself I could give too. And that I did. It felt so good helping someone, feeding someone, hugging and sharing a laugh with someone.What better gift can a person give, than the gift of one's self. It was at that moment I felt humble and realized how small I was in this big world, but if I could help just one person with the gift of myself...you know what I mean.

When the time came for the man to burn, TamaraKay and Ken asked me to come along with them. They had no idea how that made me feel. It felt good. We sat on the ground, watching the pre-burn activities. My knees couldn't take being folded up like an oragami swan anymore so I had to stand. When people started to tell me to sit down, TamaraKay told them I had bad knees and a nice Australian couple let me stand up near their bicycle and hold on to it while I watched the fireworks start. I was able to record all of the fireworks and the burning of the man. And as I watched him burn, that's when I got it I truly got the reasons behind burning man and why people from all over the world flock to Black Rock City for the yearly pilgramage. I got it. Tears rolled down my dusty cheeks as I watched the man burn, then fall.

As I fell asleep that night, I felt something I've never felt...acceptance, unconditional love and friendship, true kindness, and a giving spirit. And I will have that and take it with me forever. There was not one negative thing about my experience.

Thank you, Fishy, delle (and her sisters), Foxfur, Ygmir, jkisha, Shambala, Jax Dee, Minxy, AntiM, Elloreum, MyDearFriend, graidawg, TamaraKay and Ken, jella, figment, drew and mindy, motskyroonmatick, Mojojita, FIGJAM, BayBridgeSue, Savannah, Trishntek, Doc Pyro, Bounce, lucky420, CapnJoe, swampdog, Sail Man, MisaBlue, Vizhoo and Jack, WildMan, felony arson, CfM, junglesmacks, trilobyte, JStep, moonrise, knowmad, OregonRed, Cheyanne, Eric, TinkerMom, and if I didn't mention you, I apologize. I met so many people that night. I remember some faces but not the eplaya names...Thank you all for making me feel so welcome!
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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Zulegoona
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Re: My First Burn

Post by Zulegoona » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:42 am

Beautiful, thank you for sharing this.

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Sham
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Re: My First Burn

Post by Sham » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:46 am

Hey MA, it was really great to meet you. It sounds like your first burn was awesome. It's time to wash the dust out of your clothes (and everything else you brought) and start packing for next year.

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gerlachedNloaded
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Re: My First Burn

Post by gerlachedNloaded » Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:31 am

ya know MA, i had a nearly identical first burn last year. I went alone as you did and was scared out of my mind and trying to keep expectations low. i am a VERY shy person in unfamiliar, and sometimes very familiar situations, and this was very much an unfamiliar situation for me. I explored during the day by myself, appreciating everything i was seeing and so happy to finally be on the playa , but very much missing being able to share it with someone, and feeling very alone at times. I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out how i could be surrounded by so many people, yet feeling like i didn't or couldn't fit in.. why i ended up in my tent by midnight when i really wanted to be out dancing and exploring even more... why i couldn't let loose and try new things... why i was probably coming off at times to people as arrogant or unapproachable when in reality i was petrified, yet longing to be approached and included...it pissed me off, made me sad, made me determined to drop the wall around myself. i knew it was up to me to make my own burn, and i knew i have a huge fault in needing someone else to break the ice before i could lighten up. in a nutshell, my first burn was very much a bi-polar one. the M and G was the closest i came to connecting with people. i appreciated the randomness and outgoing personality of the people i met, even though i struggled to get a few sentences out of my mouth. i didn't quite shed that armor, and i regret missing out on everything i could have experienced had i just put myself out there... but i will return, hopefully next year, hopefully with a friend or my father, hopefully a little more grown up and able to let it all in finally.
I am HORSE

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Re: My First Burn

Post by WitnessCrew » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:33 am

What an awesome story! Thank you for this.

My first year (several years ago), I went alone as well. I had heard about Burning Man from an acquaintance several years before *that*.

Since I didn't know a soul there, and couldn't really ask anyone what to expect, I read the hell out of the survival guide, built my own dome, sewed my own elaborate costumes, made some of the best art I've ever produced, packed my car, and drove away.

I spent the whole drive down (and the many months of prep) terrified that I would be rejected by the Burning Man community, that they would think my art was stupid, or that my costumes weren't good enough, or what-have-you. I'm normally very outgoing and hyper-social, and also an experienced performance artist, and I'd never had that sort of feeling before. I mean, I was actually worried that the city was going to kick me out or something, that they would rise up as one and eject me.

So, when I see naturally shy people somehow gather the courage to Burn, especially ALONE, it's absolutely inspiring to me. Truly, I applaud you. :)

Welcome Home, friend.

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Elderberry
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Re: My First Burn

Post by Elderberry » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:25 am

Glad you had such a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: My First Burn

Post by wedeliver » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:54 am

Wow, so the writer blossoms. I wish you had been able to stop by here, I would have loved to have met you. Your sharing of your first ttitd is great. Usually we start thinking about how to make next year even better at this point. Although the experience itself cannot be made better, it is what it is. Again, beautiful story. thank you.
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maryanimal
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Re: My First Burn

Post by maryanimal » Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:09 pm

It was very late when I passed by wd. I didn't want to wake anyone up. On the way back, I just wanted to get home. I was tired and missed my kitties Auggy and Max!
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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Savannah
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Re: My First Burn

Post by Savannah » Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:19 pm

Great story, Maryanimal! I'm so glad you made it. :)

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maryanimal
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Re: My First Burn

Post by maryanimal » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:18 pm

Savannah wrote:Great story, Maryanimal! I'm so glad you made it. :)
Thank you Savannah. I'm glad I did too. I'm not the same person I was before I left. The burn left and indelible mark on my spirit. and I'm glad it did.
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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Re: My First Burn

Post by junglesmacks » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:33 pm

It was SO great to see you finally, MA! You got it, you did. So wonderful!

Maybe next year you could join in a camp for some extra fun and stimulation? Sounds like it would fit you nicely..

See you in the dust :D
Savannah wrote:It sounds freaky & wrong, so you need to do it.

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Re: My First Burn

Post by JStep » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:52 pm

maryanimal wrote:Thank you...JStep...
You're so very welcome, and thank YOU for including me in your litany of awesome people on eplaya. I'm afraid I didn't contribute much to your particular enjoyment of the burn, unless the bottle of Absolute I brought was half gone by 7 because of *you*.... But I was warmed by your story and hope to see you next year!
~JStep
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Email: nebraska [at] burningman.com

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Re: My First Burn

Post by brodi wan » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:09 pm

This was my wife and my first burn, and we camped in a small themeish camp with some friends and some of their 'mutual' friends. Everyone was to make one group meal for the camp, and it was great. I ate better grub than I do at home. High Class. My wife and I both discovered that we realy loved the daytime burn. I loved the nightlife but I was always asleep by between 1-3 am and up by a lttle after 8. i think. I didn't look at a watch until Friday. It was really fun exploring the playa as a camp. It reminded me of a school field trip, except no one freaked if someone went missing. We left early A.M. after the Man burned, my wife had a flight to catch and I had issues sending her off in an unfamiliar car without knowledge if she made it to Reno. We stayed in Tahoe for the night with some friends and left at sun up. The drive home was long. 34 hours. And my first shift of work was bizarre, I was in lala land , my brain felt scrambled and nothing seemed normal. I wasn't sure if the event would change the way I percieve life and people as a whole, it has. I saw more fun hearted generosity in 1 short week than I have in years combined. The year of preparation was well worth it. I wish I could thank everyone who i met, but i can't. oh yeah one more thing, I was camped at 430 and f, whilst on a lovely walk around the neighborhood we stumbled upon a developing game of FIZZ BALL, It felt so good to take a beer can apart in one mighty swing. I am ready for next year already.

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Re: My First Burn

Post by wedeliver » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:04 am

maryanimal wrote:It was very late when I passed by wd. I didn't want to wake anyone up. On the way back, I just wanted to get home. I was tired and missed my kitties Auggy and Max!
Other then you drove past BRC and checked out Western Nevada, I didn't notice what time you transited my area. But, even if you had come in the chances are that you would have had to fend for yourself with the other folks who were doing the same thing. We had a couple hundred people stop, get a little rest, check their load, take a SSand shave (last chance for flushing) while I was sleeping on Sunday night. I was out a bit earlier but I was getting drunk, didn't want people who were going to drive to drink so I bailed kinda early. I am really sorry that I missed so many people, I suppose I should have gone to the corner of the hwy and waved as you all went by.

I am going to return to the playa next year if I am able, and to tell the truth I wanna go to Summers lake on the way, it sounds like so much fun.
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Re: My First Burn

Post by OregonRed » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:28 am

MA, it was such a delight to meet you at the M&G! (I always love that moment of putting faces to names and seeing if I was correct in how I pictured them or completely off base! :lol: )

I'm delighted that you shared your first BM experience with us. I look forward to seeing you at many Burns to come!
M*A*S*H 4207 We're not doctors.

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Re: My First Burn

Post by illy dilly » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:22 pm

Mary Animal, You kick ass!
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
Plan for the worst, expect the best. Make the most out of it under any conditions. If you cannot do that you will never enjoy yourself. ~CrispyDave

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maryanimal
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Re: My First Burn

Post by maryanimal » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:43 pm

OregonRed wrote:MA, it was such a delight to meet you at the M&G! (I always love that moment of putting faces to names and seeing if I was correct in how I pictured them or completely off base! :lol: )

I'm delighted that you shared your first BM experience with us. I look forward to seeing you at many Burns to come!

OR, the pleasure was all mine meeting you and everyone else! And I'm always off of what people look like. But just seeing the smiling faces was fantastic!
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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Re: My First Burn

Post by trilobyte » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:57 pm

Sounds like a wonderful adventure, thank you for sharing it and glad to have gotten to meet. :)

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maryanimal
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Re: My First Burn

Post by maryanimal » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:55 pm

illy dilly wrote:Mary Animal, You kick ass!

awwww shucks illy...thank you so much. *blusssshhhhh :oops: *
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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maryanimal
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Re: My First Burn

Post by maryanimal » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:56 pm

trilobyte wrote:Sounds like a wonderful adventure, thank you for sharing it and glad to have gotten to meet. :)
Same here trilobyte! you're a pretty awesome guy!! :D
Sometimes I'm confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn't obvious.

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Re: My First Burn

Post by Frostyfire » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:27 am

my first burn . started with entering the gates . the playa roll i didnt really understand and felt more than a little silly rolling around the playa in my pajamas (toms conditions for early entry) but the second part about intentions and the bell ... wow .. it took me a bit to formulate my true intentions . but it was worth the contemplation. i told the universe to take my hand , tell me what i need to hear , show me what i need to see,teach me what i need to learn and to guide me as i venture fourth into this spirritually charged environment. !!BWOOONGGGG!! goes the bell and so starts my sojourn. the first noght was quiet, and it was when i met / found my plush rabbit Moop Hopp . which incedently went everywhere i went this burn. so sunday morning was comfortable and serene . monday morning however would prove more interesting and set an emotional background tone to all i did . i went to sighn in to fire conclaive when our shen pulled me asside and verbaly attacked me . stating that i wasent spinning in the greate circle and that i was kicked out of the troup (controlled burn of reno) it ended with him screaming "fuck you buddy, fuck you" i walked away at that point wanting nothing further to do with that energy. it was upsetting for all of about 2-3 hours when i let it go, rare for me . but the playa wouldnt let me stay upset . too many people wanting huggs will kill any sadness with a quickness .. being alone out there is truly a sad thing , and something i experienced for my first 3 days there . not understanding how anything works, sourounded by the extreemly hetrosexual comunity for which i have ben inundated with for over a year . and the (sorry all) accurate observation of the over abundance of booze halls and out right breeder bars. (of which i cannot drink booze .. violent drunk . yes i skip the happy /sad part and go right to break yo face in 2-3 shots of liquor ) needless to say i really wanted to leave by tuesday. i had had enough of the same old burner crap that i had experienced up to this point and no real reason to continue to be there (i was tired of being lonely in an environment that was quickly becoming "off limmits") i had had enough of hetrosexual culture being rammed down my throat. i went to the info booth and tryed to look up some some form of gay anything that i could at least be around for a while but to no avail . so after giving up in frustration and soundly deciding to use my reentry pass to secure my passage off playa (call my husband to come fetch me from this wretched streight hell) in popps this lispy fairy homo boy looking for the same thing i was (biker type here .. im gay , but im all guy damnit) he seemed to have better pc skills than i did but his navigation was shit, as where mine was impeccable (no i never got lost out there and i gave a fkton of accurate dirrections to lost burners .. i even lead 4 diferent folks right to there camp) camp comfort and joy ,,, dear gods a gay oasis in this place (thank you universe) and omfg right up the street from my pad . i was @ 6:15 & F.. C&J 7:00 & F. it had ben there the whole time and i didnt know ... it set the tone for everything that followed from there . my days were spent wandering , taking in all the sites that i could but continueing to stay somewhat seperate from it all in a way . how do you aproach a theme camp when they feel like there only for the folks camped there (mash 4207 guilty. espresso bar also guily) yes mash 4207 that tall guy asking where the e playa meet n greet was @.. was me. thank you for the info tho it was much apreciated. yet the stay out energy was also there . so i left the conversation go at that . .. went to the meet n greet later that day (was interesting finding the barbie death camp) i stayed for a little bit . donated the baked beans . had some fabulous boar baccon (thank you so much for that btw) i talked to a few ladies there . helped clean up after a rogue fizzball hit . saw foxfur there for the little bit of time he was there . i ment to say hello , but he left before i had the chance. (universes way of saying not this year) so i left kinda early and didnt really interact all that much . i went home from there feeling somewhat dissconected again. (sorry C & J is good for sex . not companionship) and again i see the universes hand here . my buddy brandon is at my camp and suddenly overjoyed that i strolled in . quickly kidnapping me to go on his adventure .. only to really end up at the 9:00 BRC international post office stuck behind a window taking mail from folks..... which is exactly where i needed to be when i needed to be there for all the right reasons to be there (this is where it takes a while to type ... its hard to see through the tears marching down my face) i touched so many lives those few days that it makes my chest ache from joy. to hear the part of the universe / spirit, speak through me , to use me as its voice to tell people what they need to hear when they needed it the most . weather they realised it or not at the time . i told folks that they needed to wright a letter to someone . or if they had a letter or 2 allready .. that they forgot someone . 9 times out of 10 i would get looks of confusion . untill i told them who they forgot ..... themselves.. the light of understand and the gravity of what i was telling them moved them in ways they never thought possible at that time . or the signiffigance of what they could tell themselves when they got home . because . i told them . that they would not be the same pearson that read the letter from the pearson that sent it . and that that pearson had something very important to tell future them when they got home.... it was amazing . and it changed me and my life in a way i was not expecting , i felt whole and fullfilled .. i went home happy every night after that and couldnt wait to back to work the next morning . knowing that i was going to spread a concept that would affect lives , change them in some cases . .. still lonely . but happy . lonely ended the night of temple . shortly after that i found the companionship i was longing for . it weapped up my burn perfectly . it was like the playa was pleased with what i had done for the citizens of brc and decided to reward me with tender loving care for the last 2 nights i was there . i cant wait till next year .. im going to work the BRCIPO all week . a few hours every day (at least).. so if you would like to meet me sometime .. it will have to be next year . look for or ask for Frosty Bitchgiggles or leave a letter ; il get it . tho performing at the man was unjustly taken from me , i was able to perform unfettered at the trojan horse . the crowd loved brandon and my performance . partner orbitals. it went electric a few times there so i was realy happy about that . i hope theres accessible footage of us .. there should be . it was like being in a strobe from all the camera flashes . so in closeing .
my first burn was something of an experience both high and low .. but ultimately positive for my life
"the universe is as it should be"
"we live , we learn , we grow "

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