Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
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BootKickingStrumpet
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Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby BootKickingStrumpet » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:31 am

My interest in Burning Man began in 2000 after watching Ian Wright on The Lonely Planet. I watched entranced about this temporary city in the desert and the things that went on there; I knew then that one day I would go. Life went on its path and Burning Man became forethought in my mind for years and it was not until 2012 that my passion to attend was rekindled while attending Desire, where I witnessed watching primal fire-poi spinning for the first time. In this moment I felt the sure feeling that I must attend Burning Man. It would be two more years before I could attend.

In the intervening years I would spend the next twelve years trapped in a abusive co-dependant relationship with my work; that would offer me nothing but systematic colonialism, patriarchy, sizeism, hetronormativity, sexism, oppression, repression, forced abeyance, male privilege and a slow emotional death trying to survive in a system that constantly tried to dismantle and destroy me. I never left because I thought my ex-Marine stepfather was right "If you can't make it in the military, you can't make it any where. You need the structure and discipline, because, you have no self will." So at seven-teen I ran and stayed until twenty-nine. I had no idea what I was getting into or how it would change me.

I would awaken from the concept I was not good enough or could not make it outside of the military oligarchy when I was medically released last year. I thought leaving the Borg collective would free from my depression, when it turns out my first year, as a civilian has been one of the hardest and full of loss. I felt weak, unwanted, unloved, undesirable, unattractive, unhappy, and broken. I was angry and full of resentment.

I let go of a dear personal friend due to to interpersonal and mental health issues from both sides and she cut me out of her life without notice; while I had just returned from going to regionals, my best friend died from metastasized melanoma, six friendships would end due to direct and indirect or different reasons from drama, jealousy, and lies. I would quit attending college as my depression and anxiety became too much, I would gain another friendship by proxy of Burning Man only to find out she too has cancer and has only begun her fight with it. I do not want to write her name on the temple next year, she has so much to live for. I am also currently in flux as I commence a major life change in the coming months.

Burning Man called me. For what reason? I have no clue and still don't, but knew I had to attend and embrace what was offered to me. I could no longer live as I had; I had to begin the emotional process of letting go instead of holding on to rage and anger as well sadness at things that no longer mattered in my life.

In the fall of 2013 as my release from work became imminent my passion for Burning Man began to internally blaze through me. Some days it was the only thing that got me out of bed and gave me something to look forward to other than my depression haunting me. This depression that has been a daily companion since late 2010 followed by its friend, female sexual dysfunction and emotionally freezing over.

I began to scour the internet for articles about the event, watch documentaries (Spark, Taking My Parents to Burning Man, 24 Hours at Burning Man), researching what I would need to survive the event and anything I could think of...trust me there was a lot of that. I beefed up my social-media feed and planned to attend regionals to get a taste of what awaited me on the Playa. I would attend Burner events and the regionals: Otherworld, Burn in the Forest, and Critical Northwest; ample opportunity presented itself to me: The Empress was my first theme camp, the Tiki Tank was my first art-car to ride on, and all these events would present the chance for connections with people whom I now call friends and deepen old bonds.

My goal was to attend Burning Man and embrace what it offered and go with a theme camp that I shared common interests with. They are a well-established camp that embraces all people (above 21).

Sunday night I arrived late to Reno and had a mid-night run to Wal-Mart as I had to repack all my gear for the playa. A majority of my gear was waiting for me on the Playa.

Monday was a bust as it rained on the Playa and no one was allowed to enter Black Rock City, by order of the Bureau of Land Management. I split a hotel room with a woman who was stranger to me but had been burning since 2000 and was waiting to meet her family on the playa.

About mid-morning I boarded Burner Express and a few hours later I jumped over the line drawn in the sand and was no longer a Birgin as I rang the bell and received a hug and 'welcome home'. When the smaller satellite bus dropped me off I encountered people who unexpectedly helped me drag my gear to camp. I showed up not knowing a soul and set out to set up my gear for the coming week, which again help was given to me. I am used to being an island onto myself and not asking for help, it’s an incredibly hard thing for me to ask for.

I would not make it out to the Playa until Wednesday afternoon. The heat during the day kicked my ass and pissing in a jug was no fun and neither were the port-a-potties. I subsisted on Red Bull, Chef Boy-Ar-Dee and Pop-Tarts and a fresh meal provided daily along with clean water and snacks. I waited with a friend in line for ninety minutes for Poutine and it was the best Poutine I have ever tasted and so was the mini-pint of Guinness I had at the Dusty Swann. I encountered people who embraced me wholly and made friendships that span the whole of North America. I met people from Italy, Japan, China, India, England, Israel, and many from California.

Burning Man has forever changed my life. I never realized how a few short days would impact me. This is the singular experience of my life that has smashed my mind and perception of reality to smithereens. In the month since leaving the playa the dust has not settled for me figuratively, in this very moment things are still in flux and changing in ways I cannot define or tell you about. Honestly I expected to attend and see some awesome art, meet interesting people, listen to some great music and go on with life.

My synapses fired and brought about a level of self-actualization I had never experienced before...nor I thought was possible. Walls erected by years of depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, abuse, self-loathing, neglect, and years in the military were swept away in a matter of days. I could not grasp what was happening and I just went with it. I fell in love with myself, and re-discovered amazing things that I had forgotten and the strength I have to endure hardships. I felt truly happy with myself and found the power to begin the process of letting go and gain confidence within myself and to truly no longer give a fuck what the world thinks of me.

I took my work uniform, the Dear Jane letter given to me by my ex along with a pair of her forgotten shoes and the Leather Pride bracelet and took them to the Temple of Grace. There I nailed my uniform to the Temple and laid the ending of a dynamic to rest. There are days I struggle, but I am putting the past to rest the best I can. A person cannot attend the temple and not cry; I just do not see how it’s possible. Never has an out-pour of emotion from a group of people overwhelmed me.

I saw letters written in multitudes of languages letting go of loved ones lost, marriages ended, pets buried, people unpacking a lifetime of pain; and like myself letting go of an era gone past in their life. The temple gave me the grace to open up the floodgates of my heart and cry…and for the first time in years I felt again. All the self-repression during the military stored up a lot of emotions that came crashing down upon me during this time. To truly feel something after years of closing yourself off from the world is some scary shit. It shone a light on things I did not want to look at and the things I did not want to accept. I left the temple that day and never went back until the temple burn on Sunday. Not only was it glorious to watch, but also as the temple toppled I felt free. I am proud to call myself a Burner.

Seeing the ‘Man’ at during the day and at night was an all-encompassing experience. Literally he stood tall and proud and owned every inch of the playa. He took my breath away during the time I watched him burn, to me he represented letting go of one’s past and finding the courage to embrace a new path in life.

I met someone at Burning Man that I never expected to meet. I said to the playa going in on the Burner Express, ‘Dear Playa: It would be nice to get some cock. But not necessarily required’. Well, be careful what you ask of the Playa; because, what you end up with is an experience that will be a catalyst in blowing your world apart wrapped up in the rest of the Burning Man experience.

It had been seven years since I felt mutual attraction and passion that smouldered when it wasn’t burning inside; talk about instantaneous chemistry. To be flirted with and sexually desired for who I am reminded me of my desirability. I’d forgotten the joy of having someone’s hand to hold and the power of a hug. I knew something was going to happen with this person…maybe some casual sex and life would go on as I returned to Defaultia. The time spent with this person was not very long at all.

When I left the playa I was grasping at straws, I could not compute what was going on or what happened. But, as high as I went on this experience I dropped just as deep. And I went on a rollercoaster of oscillating emotions as my heart continued to open up. My world was opening up faster than I could handle. Just like my nervous breakdown in 2010, I was in a sense experiencing the opposite…a break-up in the most beautiful capacity possible! I cried…A LOT! As joyous as this time was it was also very painful, but I believe without the pain it would not have cracked open walls surrounding my heart and spirit. Never have I encountered a culture that is this welcoming and embracing of its people. I have found home again and I want to stay. I was in a safe environment and felt safe and open about things I usually keep locked away, and healthy about being honest and vulnerable. That is continued post Burning Man, if it weren’t I would not be writing this.

The playa gave me a chance to reconnect with myself, something I desperately needed. Many good conversations were had with some amazing people along with good cigars and sips of Bourbon. I also experienced primal-sex and sexual healing as I began to form emotions for this person, which I still carry to an extent. Time I would like to think will let these emotions fade but hopefully not the changes they have brought about. I truly believe this individual was a vehicle to necessitate a part of my Burning Man experience that is opening my heart further and has led to other sexual adventures I never thought possible. I learned to put myself out there with an open heart and let go of expectations. I surrendered and found freedom in the power of letting go.

The friendships I have made have opened up connections and situations have presented themselves to me in ways I never thought I would again experience. The playa is still providing even after a month of leaving it. With the end of my gear cleaning and packing it away as well recently attending Seacompression, it gave me tastes of home and has fanned the embers of Burning Man back into the all consuming fire that it is. I am still changing and parts of me are reshaping themselves for the better. For the first time in years I feel alive.
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker

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Drawingablank
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby Drawingablank » Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:56 am

Well done. I find writing helps a lot during decompression and always like to read about others experiences.
Savannah: I don't know what it is, but no thread here escapes alive. You'll get 1 or 2 real answers at minimum, occasionally 10 or 12, and then we flog it until it's unrecognizable and you can't get your deposit back.

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GreyCoyote
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby GreyCoyote » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:24 am

Welcome to Life 2.0!

It's one heck of a fun ride. :mrgreen:
"To sum up my compassion level, I think we should feed the unwanted animals to the homeless. Or visa versa. Too much attention and money is spent on both."
(A Beautiful Mind)

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Lonesomebri
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby Lonesomebri » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:02 pm

god damn it all, the freaking Burn is lucky to get you !!!!!!

What a great post. Thousands attend without getting out of it what you did. It's not that the Burn changed you to something you were not, but you allowed yourself to be who you really are (with the help of the Burn).
You are wonderful. People like you going to the Burn make it wonderful. Not everyone is touched like you at the event, that's because the wonder is in you, not the event. Rock on.
"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?"
- Voltaire, Candide

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omegared
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby omegared » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:37 pm

Very well written, you make the reader FEEL your transformation.
"Honey you don't want to be in your tent right now. I looks like Burning Man THREW UP in there."

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Madgirl
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby Madgirl » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:43 pm

Your story made ME cry. I wish that everyone could experience what you did at the burn, even just a little piece of it, because that's what it's all about.
The playa isn't "home" to anything or anyone, it's not magic, it's just a goddamm camping trip. A really awesome one. -Captain Goddammit

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BootKickingStrumpet
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby BootKickingStrumpet » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:33 pm

Drawingablank wrote:Well done. I find writing helps a lot during decompression and always like to read about others experiences.


Reading your experience really helped me out the same way and inspired me to eventually write about mine. How is your decompression going?

GreyCoyote wrote:Welcome to Life 2.0!

It's one heck of a fun ride. :mrgreen:


One heck of a ride I never want to get off of. 8)

Lonesomebri wrote:god damn it all, the freaking Burn is lucky to get you !!!!!!

What a great post. Thousands attend without getting out of it what you did. It's not that the Burn changed you to something you were not, but you allowed yourself to be who you really are (with the help of the Burn).
You are wonderful. People like you going to the Burn make it wonderful. Not everyone is touched like you at the event, that's because the wonder is in you, not the event. Rock on.


Wow, your words mean alot to me and touched my heart alot. I wish more people in their own way could experience what I did.

omegared wrote:Very well written, you make the reader FEEL your transformation.


Thanks. I hope this serves other people time in as others writings have helped me to understand what happened to me at Burning Man.

Madgirl wrote:Your story made ME cry. I wish that everyone could experience what you did at the burn, even just a little piece of it, because that's what it's all about.

Hugs...crying can be a good thing. I wish I had gone years earlier, maybe in the end I attended when I needed to and not when I wanted to.
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker

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Drawingablank
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby Drawingablank » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:28 pm

BootKickingStrumpet wrote:
Drawingablank wrote:Well done. I find writing helps a lot during decompression and always like to read about others experiences.


Reading your experience really helped me out the same way and inspired me to eventually write about mine. How is your decompression going?



My decom is going pretty well, but I have discovered that it goes a lot smoother for me if I don't sober up for a long time post burn.

Hitting a regional burn this weekend, and expect to be pretty much fully decompressed in another week or two.
Savannah: I don't know what it is, but no thread here escapes alive. You'll get 1 or 2 real answers at minimum, occasionally 10 or 12, and then we flog it until it's unrecognizable and you can't get your deposit back.

Yet Another Crappy Birgin Guide

ranger magnum
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby ranger magnum » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:54 pm

Wow. Without a doubt, one of the best posts I have ever read.

Thank you for sharing.
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kiboy
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby kiboy » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:34 am

Thanks for sharing your detailed trip report. I really enjoy hearing peoples transformative experiences in BRC. Seems you got the full ride.

Don't believe everything you think.

pink
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby pink » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:14 am

I read it thinking you were in my camp. Poutine? Just maybe....

Life 2.0. I like it! Because if you are a burner, it really isn't the same afterwards.
I'm not a slut, I'm good time floozy!

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BootKickingStrumpet
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby BootKickingStrumpet » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:28 pm

pink wrote:I read it thinking you were in my camp. Poutine? Just maybe....

Life 2.0. I like it! Because if you are a burner, it really isn't the same afterwards.


I would have to say, yes.
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker

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BootKickingStrumpet
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby BootKickingStrumpet » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:36 pm

kiboy wrote:Thanks for sharing your detailed trip report. I really enjoy hearing peoples transformative experiences in BRC. Seems you got the full ride.


It's still a process that is life changing and I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend. I've known people from my home town that have gone, but never really got what it's all about.

Drawingablank wrote:
BootKickingStrumpet wrote:
Drawingablank wrote:Well done. I find writing helps a lot during decompression and always like to read about others experiences.


Reading your experience really helped me out the same way and inspired me to eventually write about mine. How is your decompression going?



My decom is going pretty well, but I have discovered that it goes a lot smoother for me if I don't sober up for a long time post burn.

Hitting a regional burn this weekend, and expect to be pretty much fully decompressed in another week or two.


I hope your regional helps with the Decomp. I look forward to meeting many Eplayans next year at the Meet and Greet. Before I started posting I was just a lurker. BM has given me much needed courage.

ranger magnum wrote:Wow. Without a doubt, one of the best posts I have ever read.

Thank you for sharing.


Your words humble me.
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker

pink
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby pink » Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:24 pm

BootKickingStrumpet wrote:
pink wrote:I read it thinking you were in my camp. Poutine? Just maybe....

Life 2.0. I like it! Because if you are a burner, it really isn't the same afterwards.


I would have to say, yes.


Nice to see another one of us on here. And good to see you've been rebooted. You'll figure it all out; my life has been beyond my wildest dreams since I first hit the playa. But a warning; it's definitely gotten weirder too!
I'm not a slut, I'm good time floozy!

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RosieTahoe
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby RosieTahoe » Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:45 am

Thank you for sharing your story BootKickingStrumpet. You definitely made me cry...all we can ask for in life is experiences that bring us closer to ourselves, there is no question Burningman did that for you. I send you lots of strength, love, and FUN as you begin to integrate what you "learned" on the playa into your regular life.

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BootKickingStrumpet
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Re: Burning Man 2014: Life Reset

Postby BootKickingStrumpet » Mon May 11, 2015 1:52 am

Not only will I be returning to BM this year, but I'll be embracing on my first international regional next week - MidBurn. What an adventure!
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker


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