Burner Doxie penned these thoughts shortly after returning from her first trip to Black Rock City in 2006.
Finally after three long years of wanting to go, I made it to Burning Man in 2006. Now, mind you, I had camped on the Playa two years earlier, after graduate school one amazing night under a full moon. I even got to enjoy the often-off-limits hot springs. That was — bar none — the most special night of my life, as the Playa is magical whether Black Rock City is there or not.
That said, I just spent the last seven days of my life living in harsh desert conditions, eating a quarter of the food I normally do — and for a hypoglycemic that is a huge feat — showering only twice in seven days and not brushing my hair even once. All the while covered in a fine dust, I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven.
My passion is to experience as much as possible, and normally I can share my adventures with people, but this is something different. Something that each and every one of us will do, see and feel differently. Someone said to me: Imagine trying to explain a rainbow to a blind person and that is exactly how difficult it is to explain Burning Man.
All week long friends kept asking me what I thought and I would deadpan answer, “This place sucks I wanna go home.” Then I would just laugh my ass off at the inane question and go about my playing!
Sure, I can talk to you about the fact that it is the largest leave-no-trace event in the world. That it is about radical self-reliance and self-expression. That it is the largest exhibition of art, living art and performance art that I have ever seen in my whole life and all of it takes place in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. That it is essentially an experimental community of like-minded individuals who refuse to stand by as spectators but instead participate in creating a temporary community to live, love and laugh for one week out of the year. Oh and then they burn an effigy of a man!
Can I tell you more than that? I can try, but I can’t do more than that really. Will it remain this way? I don’t know yet. I wish I could just plug you into my memory bank to hear my stories, feel my experiences and see my image pool.
Essentially since I have returned I feel like I am high, but mostly numb, as if I am on a never-ending trip. You know you hear about people who get high and never really come back, well I wonder if this is what it feels like. I can certainly function, although at a lower capacity than usual. I am fuzzy, groggy and feel almost exhausted by the simplest of thoughts and movements which are made even more intense by the jolting, static almost harsh movement of life around me here in the default world.
Right now I can not seem to handle the speed of this world which I have returned to, I can’t seem to talk, walk or drive at anywhere near the lightning-fast speed of the rest of the world. Nor can I seem to find reasons as to why. Have I drained every bit of serotonin from my brain? Will I ever regain a sense of normalcy, or will I just stare blankly and vacantly through tears from now on? Is this what they mean by decompressing? Is this what it feels like? Because I do feel very compacted inside, like extra pounds of pressure have been forced upon me and are aiming everything inward making it difficult to look up, out or even articulate much less have control over my motor skills. Every movement, every thought, even simple action is a laboriously fraught task. Just writing that sentence was!
Gone are the miles of smiles from strangers, back are the downward glances and insincere gestures. I want back the innumerable hugs and kisses from strangers just for crossing their paths! I want back the glowing demeanor of the tribe I left behind.
Oddly enough all week long people kept saying wholeheartedly to each other, “Welcome home!” But it is not until this very moment do I truly understand what they meant and I finally feel it completely, because this place sucks and I want to go HOME!