Any experience is what you make it and Burning man is no exception.
Visually speaking, Burning Man is like a movie that no studio can afford to make. It’s like a smart guy said at the hand sanitizer station “without the people that come and what they bring to it, Burning Man would be nothing but a desert and porta-potties.”
But Black Rock City is the result of the creativity and dedication of thousands of people, 70,000 of them this year.
A speaker at one of the workshops in the festival said that ‘There is no truth. Truth is limited by the constructs of a world that we create and that world is limited by our own beliefs’. The speaker reminded me that we have the power to create. Suddenly, everything that was happening felt like a script that I was writing in which thoughts turned into words on a page and every page turned into a moment that I was living.Before I headed to Nevada, I refused to believe that I was going to Burning Man to look for something specific. Expecting for a festival to provide more than an excuse to have fun for days, seemed unnecessary. But shortly after setting up camp, I let myself be open to putting meaning behind my Burn. My interest wasn’t piqued by the tired conversations of tech money, the orgy dome, or EDM. It seemed like figuring out who was paying for the art, how many people one could have sex with, or how to party the longest, were interesting topics that were missing a much bigger conversation. For me, Burning Man was about connection.
At Burning Man, you can be whoever you want to be and act however you want at any given moment. Total freedom can be an overwhelming luxury even for the strongest person, partnership, or group. An un-ruled world can be chaotic and scary, specially if you face it alone. Fortunately, we have people to share the journey with and together, we can acknowledge that life is exciting, messy and something worth noticing.There are countless wild tales to tell too: the man that can provingly give himself fellatio, the fights in the thunderdome cage, the installation that turns into a hug tunnel, the leashed man being walked by his master and all the people, art, drugs, sex, lights, fire, color and music that you can think of.
It turns out that in addition to the unexpectedly colorful sunsets and the surreal sunrises, I was looking to feel free and loved. For many years, I’ve believed that love and freedom cannot coexist. Now, I am considering the possibility that not only the two can happen simultaneously, but that perhaps they are one of the same.
So, no matter what you are looking for, or if you decide not to look for anything at all, La Playa will provide. And it won’t be because of the man, the temple or other people, it’ll be because of you.
Photo credits: Stunning medusa head and roller skating rink shots by Tasha Jacobs. Thanks to Gabrielius Glemža for all the Polaroid photos and for being infinitely awesome. The photo of the gorgeous girls spinning fire was taken by photographer Grant Palmer. Thanks to the internet for everything else.