My world changed about 2am Sunday August 24, 2003. I was asleep in the front seat of the van, Ranger Twinkie was driving and CC Sally was asleep in the back seat. Twinkie woke me up to read the welcoming signs... welcoming me home to Black Rock City. We arrived at the greeters station and they asked us all out, next thing I know they were bringing me up to the shelter less porta-potty, to ring the bell. I was a virgin, I rang the bell to announce I was home at last,and then I walked back to the van and got a spanking to boot... the most welcome site was of Greg n Shelly from the Space Virgins, at the greeter's station. I knew I was ok when I saw familiar faces among all the welcoming spirits. The next stop was to try to find my camp; right... we eventually found ranger Twinkies camp and decided to bunk there for the night. I got out of the van and was welcomed onto the playa by a parade of stars and a peek of a moon, and mars opening its arms for a hug... I kissed the playa... I was home... the man wasn't lit up yet, set- up was going on though. I looked to my right, or was it my left?, anyway, and there was this dome lit up blue... that's right, blue house was set up to welcome us to the playa... I walked in and immediately was surrounded by music,couches, and laughter, friends from Seattle, and new friends were relaxing after a long day, and in walks JT, hot as a GQ model, and a hug awaited... then he flew off to Center Camp, I was freezing, so I headed back to the van to snuggle under covers. I was almost asleep when Ranger Twinkie and CC Sally decided to go to bed, freezing bodies taking all the faeries warmth... Welcome to Black Rock City. After about 4 hours sleep, the heat refused me anymore sleep... I got up to go explore... I rode a bike to where comfort was supposed to be, it wasn't there... (I never did find out why it was not where it was listed, oh well) I rode back to the van, then headed over to blue house, then over to Airid... I wanted to say hi to Madame and Jackass... I was flying; I went and looked for Comfort again, didn't find it till later in the afternoon.
I rushed to get my tent up and decorate and get dressed because I had plans that evening to explore the city with Jackass... I froze that night... but I had a blast. I rode art cars, I danced under the stars, I hula hooped, I kissed the sexiest man on the playa, and truly felt alive. I felt like I walked hand in hand with beauty, not that I was beauty, but that I co- existed with it. I fell asleep listening to the heartbeat I have come to honor. Monday dawned early and I headed back to camp to shower and get ready for my day. There was so much to do, so many areas I could work. I headed to center camp, I volunteered for the cafe, for the afternoon shift making iced mocha's and stuff. I went further along the path to explore for a bit, I went to the greeters station, and met ToplessDeb, I had my project with me, so I sat down and shared with her my journey to burning man, she also shared her journey, she is undergoing a mastectomy soon, and she was there, like me, to heal. We shared some tears, then I headed to work....The cafe fucking rocked. I was cashier for the first two hours, and then I went and cleaned center camp for the next two. I loved meeting the people that came there, each for their own reasons, each diligently following their path,
stopping to share a smile... then I headed back to Comfort to change and help out there. I helped put up the shade structure and hung out a little bit, then I got ready for the evening and went exploring the town. I went to the playa cruisers camp and rode out exploring there.
We played a little and went in a group of four to explore the city, we hula hooped in this psychedelic light, we went to Airid and danced a bit, then we all crashed at the camp. I slept in Twinkies van again. Tuesday morning dawned at 6 am for me; I realized that I had a
couple of major projects in front of me. I had a bike at Comfort, I borrowed a bike the night before and left it at Airid and I was at Playa Cruisers I needed to retrieve a bike and get my bike and they were far apart from each other. If you imagine a clock, Comfort is at
4:30 Airid is at 10pm and back; the only reason this was a dilemma is because I had bruises on my toosh from riding my bike everywhere for two days. No worries, Captain saved me, and gave me a ride on the Jitney to both places. At this point I had already decided that I couldn't camp with Comfort. I felt like a stranger there, and I wasn't sure how to fit in. I was not comfortable confronting my issues with my sexuality. At Comfort it would have been inevitable. I decided it was late enough in the day that I grabbed a shower and changed and headed to work at the café again. I ran over to Airid before that to see if Jackass wanted to hang out that night and we made plans. I went to work, and then got off early because there were a lot of volunteers and center camp was real slow, others needed the volunteer time for tickets and things. I told Kayla I would check back later, and headed to Airid. Madame and the crew were dressing up to go work greeters by the time I got there, so I decided to head out with them. I got sick when we got to greeters, but after a bit,everything was all better. Jackass rocked on the decks of the worm,
the greeters all welcomed family home. We danced for hours it seemed. Then we went out and watched the sunrise on the playa, jackass brought the day in with the most beautiful melodies, and we all had a memory shared and intimate to our own heart. The worm headed home to Airid. I headed back to Comfort, by way of the playa cruisers. When I got to the playa cruisers, M was in a bad mood and got upset with me when I asked for water for my camelback, since my water was at
Comfort and I needed some for the trip. She yelled at me in front of a group of strangers and told me I needed to be prepared for this. As if… anyway, I didn't let her see my tears, I had goggles on, I left and headed to Comfort to pack up my tent so that I could move it, and
when I got there, three of my 2 ½ gallon containers had busted in my tent. Wednesday sucked. I got my tent cleaned up, then headed over to Airid's to lay in the sandworm shade structure and write in my journal. I fell asleep there, and then it was dark, I heard loud music, so I headed to Jackass' tent to sleep; he had offered me a safe refuge when my air mattress refused to inflate. I slept until 9am Thursday morning. I woke up just as Jackass fell deep asleep, and went to the playa cruisers. Captain took me to get my tent. Then I worked bike messenger, and hung out with Big Al all day. That evening we all rode the worm and then Al and I went walking, and hung out at my tent for a while. It was a beautiful night. No moon, only mars, and unfortunately trance. Friday was a big day. Critical Tits marathon was taking place, so I had to get body painted to participate. I went to the painting site right behind my camp site and had hot pink painted as my shirt, and blue flames on my nipples and a burning man symbol in between my breasts. I realized then that I don't have a problem with my body; I have a problem turning others on. After the rape I became really self-conscious of the shape of my body and that if I turn someone on, then I might not be able to get them off me. Even though this isn't the case at burning man, and my room mate that raped me is sick, I still put it on my shoulders to not let it happen again. I called Jackass on the radio and gave him some of my prose I chose for just him, and let him read about my dream about burning man from last June. I sprayed bikers and walkers with lavender mist, and then headed to the man to meet for the critical tits run. At the man I walked on glass and broke an arrow with my throat, Rain, another camp mate took pictures. I then joined the couple thousand women for the critical tits run across the playa. At the end of the run there was this woman holding a couple of sashes, one was Miss Understood, another was Miss Diagnosed. She placed the Miss Diagnosed on my neck, she did not know about my leukemia, or my current battle with leukemic infiltration. I raced my bike back to camp, and then went over to Airid to tell everyone, I was high as a kite on life, not substance. I shared my story with everyone, and claimed the name as my own. I went back to the Critical Tits camp to party that night. I met the most wonderful people, Heather and Paul. I went riding out on the playa with a bunch of them in hopes to find a good place to dance, but got separated close to the Airid camp, so after looking for them for a couple of hours, I settled with my family at Airid, I danced, I watched Jackass spin, I felt like I flew. I then settled in for a few hours sleep. Saturday was crazy… I rode out to the temple on the worm with some of my friends from the camp. I hadn't been there yet, I was afraid to go alone. It was the temple of honor. My friends honored their friend that died last year by writing a saying on their cheek that she was
remembered saying. I felt her spirit blessing all of us. I got there to the temple and I started hearing John LaBuers voice in my head. Everyone I have loved pictures' popped into my minds eye. I started crying so I went and sat out on the playa and cried alone for a bit. I sat facing away from everyone for I knew that I needed the tears in seclusion. All the sudden the Faerie Goddess from the Man came up and put a medallion on my neck, removed her face covering, and kissed me. She said one word, Fly. That is what John use to say to me. I cried some more then got into the worm. I went back to camp after that, helped with dinner and dishes, then got ready for the burn. I headed over to Airid just as they were packing up and we all went out to the man. The burn was beautiful, but it was a signal to me that all this was coming to a close. I felt the sadness and willed it away. I took pictures of my family loving each other, and then headed out to dance. We headed to the playa cruisers, there Glory was hoping with my hoops, I got out of the worm and shared my other hoops. I had some fermented chai tea and offered some to friends and family from Airid,and then after Diem finished rocking the worm, we got in and headed to center camp. There Jackass came and played for the masses. We headed back to Airid, and I went to sleep about 4 am. Sunday dawned early and I saw the sunrise. This was the day of the temple burn. I was sad; I knew that the time for leaving was approaching. Sunday was a hard day on the playa; we had white out conditions for most of the day. I worked helping breakdown the shade structure on the worm, and pushed my body, I knew this was the last day of my vacation. Then I settled in for a nap, I woke up just was everyone was leaving for the temple burn, I got in the sandworm and went to the burn. I cried silent tears, I felt distance from the one person in my family I
wanted to escape into, but that was ok, we were all on our own cloud. I drank a half bottle of wine, and after we watched the house of cards fall I snuck into his tent and fell asleep. Later he came in
and slept and I laid my head on his chest and fell back into dreamland. Monday dawned early, I saw the sun come up, I hung out with friends, I helped wash the kitchen up. At noon I had to go pack up and leave. It was hard. I didn't want to leave; I tried to find someone that was leaving later to ride with, but no avail. I got into the van and headed back to Seattle. I arrived in Seattle about 3 am and called my best friend John and he headed over and we hung out a couple of hours…. I haven't yet done my labs, but I got a call a couple of hours ago from Nancy, my docs nurse demanding that I come in tomorrow for blood work. Welcome home (irony). Tonight I am going to go to Conner Burns and lose myself in the memory of the playa by
hooping till I drop….
Faerie Tawnee Lynne
PS I really need a job with burning man, possibly year round. My doctors say I am too sick to work, and disability isn't enough. I can work, I can live, leukemia or not, I survived and flew at burning man.
Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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I loved your account of your experience at burningman. Sadly My family and I could not make it this year due to a new addition and one on the way. I have been going since 95' and it has been truely transformational in my life. Speaking of which you might want to seek out Bill Mitchell ND or Jeremy Ross LAc both have extensive experience treating cancer also check out Bastyr Naturapthic school another incredible resource in your area. Check with your regional contact, that's a good place to start for working for the man.