These first two pictures are by my friend Julian. I'm hoping we'll be able to hook up with him and his partner Jackie this year but one never knows. Sometimes when you get out there things just take on their own shape and plans have to be set aside.
Oh man everyone, I am starting to spin out from the stress of trying to prepare for Burning Man. I have such a weird phobia of traveling, or of preparing to travel, and I love to travel. I would love to be a nomad as long as I had a well oiled home base to return to. It's just that I am such a crippled perfectionist, (seriously, I have been doing so much work on this in therapy and now, at this late age, I think I am finally getting a handle on this, not that the anxiety has lifted or anything but understanding the psychological mechanics of it is helping me), that when I have to get anything done, rather than take it one step at a time and tackle it bit by bit until it gets done, I tend to wait until the last second and do a rushed, panicked, not as good as it could have been if I'd had more time, kind of job. That way I don't have to get mad at myself for forgetting to bring or do something I feel that I should have done.
Getting ready for something as massive an undertaking as Burning Man really brings this out in me. It's all about survival and then comes the art. First there are the basics, getting a motor home, making sure you have enough food and water, blankets, sheets, pillows, towels, food and meals, your basic medications and extra meds for emergencies that might come up when you're out in the middle of nowhere, sunscreen, and aloe in case you burn, face cream, Blistex for your lips, plenty of socks to prevent playa foot which can be super painful, and clothes, clothes for the burning heat of the day, and warm clothes for the cold nights, and costumes that tell the world who you really are on the inside because this is one of the only places on earth where you really can be your true self and be loved for it, umbrellas for sun and rain, goggles for dust storms, and dust masks so you can breathe when they come up. Then there are all of the electronic things you don't want to be without, a laptop with extra batteries, cameras and camcorders and film, flashlights, headlights, wood, matches, gasoline, flame throwers, plastique, (heh, just kidding, just wanted to see if you were listening), did I mention extra batteries, radios and CD players that will record the Burning Man radio stations you will want to listen to when you leave and are aching for the playa, bikes, bikes and more bikes and things for your bikes, things to give away, things to make and give away, shwag to trade, hats and hair and makeup, jewelry and paint. Beyond that there is the "What am I going to bring contribute to our community?" question. We try to make condom bracelets to pass out and sometimes we pull it off, but sometimes we wind up having to make them out there. Which reminds me I need to call APLA and a few local orgs to see if I can get anyone to donate some condoms to our cause. I need condoms, strips of tulle and bits of fabric, glue, guns, glue sticks, the little papers we wrap them in, and staples.
Isn't this woman lovely? I LOVE her body paint job, the whole garden thing is so inspiring to me, I'm going to let it carry me across the playa this year; daisies, bees, and gardens, yep. Thank you beautiful blonde muse woman.
It's never ending and we still have sooo much of this to sort out and do. I've got my babydoll costumes, my tulle skirts and ruffled panties, slip dresses and things, but I'm still working on bras. I bought some gypsy belly dancing beaded tops and G-strings that were supposed to be large sized but on me are just a joke. I mean the fabric in the middle barely covers my nipples and my breasts just spill out on either side. I'm going to give these to Atra's daughters and hope their parents don't freak out. I guess I'll just have to take some basic bras, dye them, and add embroidery, sequins, rhinestones and yarn, unless Atra can knit up a couple of tops for me by next Wednesday.
Hair-wise I'm going for the usual dread pigtails but I'm still undecided about the color. One year I dyed my hair shades of turquoise, light blue, and green and other years I've gone with my favorite reds, berries, and fuschia Manic Panic sorts of colors. This year I'm leaning towards natural blondish colored dreads with yarn ties, pom poms and bits of tulle and silk tied throughout. At least that way I won't have to thrash my hair trying to dye it back when I take it all out.
I love that I'm thinner, stronger, and healthier, but I hate that my body is sagging so badly. I was less shy about being nude in public when I was a hundred and thirty pounds fatter than I am now because of my skin, oh well, that's what clothes are for.
This is Ian Wood. Isn't he pretty? I love naked people, love, love, love them and I swear I do not get why people are so uptight about nudity as if nudity = sex when it simply doesn't.
Moving on to heavier or maybe not so heavy things;
A friend of mine, who I love, and who I think is one of the best people on the planet in every way, is or was really hurting and did something dramatic, and it is so hard to just let in be, in a lovely, Beatles sense of the word. My big, fat, black buzzy bee of an ego, (nothing against big or black or fat or bees, that's just how I see it, like one of those big wood eating bees that buzz around and scare people, they mean no harm they're just kind of super big, loud and scary), wants to jump into hyper-fix-it drive, cuddle her up, and make it all better, and she more than likely doesn't need this at all. She's so smart and wonderful and is always miles ahead of me so what could I do to help her out anyway? It's just that I hate to see anyone in pain. I hate to have to step back respectfully and let people walk their own paths. She is totally capable of doing whatever it is she does to deal with her pain and move on from there. I'm sure she doesn't need me to come in, reflect on things and offer to save her, while my own boat is constantly under threat of sinking because it's always so full of leaks that need plugging.
I talked about this in therapy yesterday and the feedback I got was to love my friend, to let her know that I am here for her IF she needs me, but to keep my focus on my own life and to stop thinking that I need to save everyone else, or that I even have the ability to do that, or that they would want me to, or that they even need saving. It's such an ego lesson, to just breathe through things, be in the present, trusting that everything unfolds as it is meant to, like a perfectly imperfect flower. People need to experiment, they need to learn by doing, and we can't stop them from feeling the pain that takes them to their next level, whatever that might be, no matter how much we might want to spare them something because we've been there ourselves.
I'll give you a perfect example of this because I know I'm being a bit vague and elliptical here in order to respect my friend's anonymity; there is a person in my therapy group who had some issues she was working through the last time I was there, two in particular that really rang my, "I can relate to this and sympathize with you completely," bells. I went away worrying about her, thinking I knew more than she did about what was going on, and when I came back to therapy more than a month later, she had resolved these things and moved on so completely that she didn't even remember what I was referring to.
I had been wasting my psychic energy spinning the worry wheels over things that she had long since grown and worked through all on her on, without me. That's where my ego comes in, me, me, me, as if I am some super being who knows what's best for everyone else and can solve everything. I just have to remember to take care of my own stuff, love people, make myself available without unnecessary self sacrifice, and breathe.
Sammy, one of my many wonderful black cats, just got a hold of the paper towel roll that I forgot to put away, grabbed it and started wrestling with it, doing that kick, kick, kitty thing with his back feet. When I leaned over and looked at him he froze, then quickly jumped up and left the roll behind. He knew he was being naughty, and we are so connected that all it took was a look. Oh if only parenting my son worked like this.
Okay off I go to do fun things like build up my tan, take naughty bras to my friends, check out the bikes at the bike store, buy yarn for bras and bits and pieces of fabric, rhinestones and sequins and look for lingerie. I think I am going to allow my green haired troll dolls to be my inspiration this year. Green trolls, flowers, gardens and bees. I was going to try to go in keeping with the vastness of the universe theme but I don't really know how to or want to incorporate the beauty of deep space onto my person. Maybe when I get there I can find a pal who will do an outer space themed body paint job on me but in the meantime it's trolls in the garden.
I tried to find an image of a green haired troll but this was the best I could do on short notice. I put him in front of one of my roses for year, yeay trolls, I think they scare some people but I think they're sweet.