This picture was in no way the one I expected to share first with you all, but my first journey to Black Rock City was not what I expected either, so this is pretty fitting. I want to thank all of you who have reached out, eager to hear my stories, see my pictures, and learn about this mysterious city I have been trying to explore for well over half a decade. It has been a dream of mine for quite some time and I finally made it a reality.
The art theme for this year’s Burning Man was “Da Vinci’s Workshop”. Leonardo da Vinci who is easily one of the world’s most talented painters, had concentrations in all forms of art, was a genius inventor, engineer, a Renaissance Man, one of the most creative men in history. His interests were not limited to one thing. People often say if he had concentrated on one of his many talents he would have accomplished far more than he already did. I can relate. I am skilled with so many things, it is hard for me to focus. I’m constantly painting, designing clothes, writing, editing videos, crafting, dabbling in interior design, learning and teaching myself whatever it may be from sewing to web coding, that way I have multiple skills, not just one. I often wish I had 500 of me to accomplish everything I want to do. A lot of times I think about focusing on just one thing, and wonder how successful I’d be with that one attribute, but I can’t, I love it all and want to prosper with it all. I’m determined, why only be good and focus on one thing?
That is why we are the free thinkers.
This portrait of myself in front of the temple is pretty deep, throwing up the symbol of a person who rejects accepted opinions, a pyramid, a sign of the Illuminati. If you’re unaware, The Illuminati refers to several different groups, with various stories and history of their origin and truths, but Da Vinci was considered to be a part of them, a group of “freethinkers.” The name derives from the Latin illuminatur, which means “enlightened.” Burning Man, hands down was the BIGGEST learning experience of my life. You probably won’t believe half the shit I’ll write about, but it for sure, was the most insanely bizarre insights I’ve ever had on life. It was in this moment, this photo frozen in time, that I had become enlightened. I had just walked through this temple, it was one of the most emotional places I have ever been. A structure filled with people’s sorrows, burdens, guilt, broken hearts, tragedy, but most importantly hope. You can see the pain in my eyes after I walked through there. I thought of loved ones I have lost from this life, whether it be by death or by choice. Then I thought about my Grandparents…
My Father’s parents have been gone for quite some time, but my Mother’s are still standing. My Grandpa has easily become one of my best friends. Before I got my job as a flight attendant, he constantly drove me to the airport for all of my adventures. He was the first to know about all the parties and festivals I was going to, and the first to hear the crazy stories once I arrived back home. He has done an extensive amount of research on Burning Man, and taking him with me to BRC is a goal of mine, to share that with him before his time is up on this rock we live on. That is why I went this year, to learn, so I can prepare to bring him next year with me. Interestingly enough, while my Grandpa wants to embrace and enjoy life, he does not tell stories about it all, my Nana has always been the story-teller. She loves to tells stories, and while she enjoys the history of everyone’s life, and loves to talk about it all, for quite some time she has been the complete opposite of my Grandpa. He wants to continue the journey, keep exploring, at 86(?) years old he wants to go to Burning Man! She does not. She doesn’t want to leave the house to go to a family party even, and it’s been that way for quite some time unfortunately; you can tell she’s been miserable the older she gets. So as I left the temple, I had that photo taken. I didn’t leave anything to burn with it, because I felt like I, for one, could already relate to many of others people’s hardships in there, and two, I thought to myself, I am not grieving over anything currently, I’m lucky the only thing I need to burn are my own faults.
Flash forward to this week. I just arrived home two days ago. Before I even got to shower for the first time in over a week, people we’re asking me how it was, where are your pictures, what did you think? I haven’t even been able to glance at my pictures or reflect on the experience until now, as I write this for you. Last night my Nana had to be rushed to the hospital for an emergency procedure. My family and I were at the hospital prior to her surgery. When I walked in I said, “Nana, what are you doing?!” joking around with her. She laughed and said, “I’m dying…” I really didn’t want to believe that this was a possibility or reality. I told her I’d tell her about the desert when she got out of surgery, that is was quite an interesting experience and story. This situation became very surreal, because I remembered as I looked at all the memorials in that structure, I thought about her in that temple, wondering if she’d be around to hear the stories my Grandpa and I will have to tell her of our (preconceived) burn. While Burning Man created this fearless outlook for me, my only fear now is that my Grandpa will suffer from a severe broken heart, from the loss of his one and only sweetheart, and might not make it with me next year. Not only my Grandpa, but what if I don’t make it either? Nothing is permanent in this life, and you never know when it will be your time. I know that if we do make that journey together, we will be in the new temple, burning this sorrow together.
So while you are all interested in knowing about this trip through the dust of mine, I can assure you I will be writing about it 100%. Not just for myself, but especially for my Grandpa to read, as he has been the most eager to learn about this place, more than anyone else I know. I will be sharing for you all to read, in case next year is not promised for either of us, just like telling my Nana about it wasn’t promised. The pictures that I’ve very briefly have gone through are quite magical, I know you will love it all. You will hear about the good times, the bad times, the endeavors and struggles of preparing for life on the Playa, surviving it, post reflection and everything in between, but at this time I must focus my love and energy with my family. This is the first of many blog posts about Burning Man, and yet another unexpected piece to this stories twisted puzzle…
I love you Nana! I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that, I just didn’t want to make it seem like goodbye, and in a strange way it’s not, I’ll be visiting you at that temple next year. I know you are at peace. That pain of growing and being old can now burn eternally.