Last weekend I attend my very first burn. As a “Virgin” I had no idea what to expect. I would inquire about the event from friends who previously attended but they would only tell me that I will know all about it when I get there. The first night was very much a blur. We arrived in the evening and set up our tent in the dark. I can remember going inside the tent and freaking out at the sight of a large mosquito. After setting up camp we ventured off to other camps or “wandered” as they refer it as . We ended up at a theme camp that everyone usually ends up at. The next morning I woke up with a complete hang over and no recollection of getting home that night. As the people at my camp recapped the night for me I was unsure of what the rest of the weekend would entail.
Day 2 was a little more lax. I wandered a bit in the day with my self declared “Virgin Husband” aka a fellow virgin at the camp who was just as lost and eagered as I was. We wandered off with our drinking cups and plates to check out all the camps at the Playa. I loved having him around. He felt more like a brother than a husband but it was more comical that way. That day a huge thunderstorm came and pretty much washed out the festivities for the night so we just hung out at our camp and took in any wanderers that stopped by. I went to bed early that night.
Day 3 and 4 both blend in my mind. I woke up to an incredibly hot tent both mornings. The weather was surprisingly beautiful out after the storm. The first thing we did was go to the tower on both days that oversees the whole Playa. It was an awesome sight. I ended up climbing that tower three times over the course of the trip. On day 4 I remember sweating so much and yet feeling comfortable enough to walk around in short shorts and a sports bra. Even after 10 years of drum corp that requires 12 hr days in the blistering sun I rarely took off my shirt. This was when I knew a change was happening. Those days were pretty magical. We got tacos, tamales, and margaritas from a Mexican theme camp. We got a booty massage from another camp. One morning right after my shower I even attended Bachata lessons that were being held on the main stage. It totally made my day.
The BIG burn happened on night 3 and it was incredible. I remember my “Virgin Husband” back hugging me and holding me tight that night. We both felt the connection of being a part of something greater. That night was freezing. I recall waking up in the middle of the night and trying to put on practically every article of clothing I brought with me. The next morning there was frost on the tent but the day warmed up quickly. Sunday was a bit of a sad day. My “Virgin Husband” was leaving the Playa to go back to the real world but not before saying his goodbyes and being the very first person to gift me. That day I ended up meeting more people and be-friended a guy named Matt who ironically reminded me of my virgin husband . We got free iced coffee that day that was incredibly delicious and went to a hookah camp as we chilled out most of day. Sunday was it. That was the last burn. I remember having a fun night even though my best friend did have to pull me away from the fun. I can get a little persistent and stubborn to say the least when I’m inebriated. The next morning was packing day. We had to clean out by 12 pm. I received another gift that day that meant a lot to me. Everytime I look ar it, it makes me look forward to the next Playa. As we left our location with no trace of what happened “it” began to set in. The realization that I would return to the real world. A world full of stress,intolerance, and impatient people. At some point during the weekend I changed and totally changed my way of thinking.
To me, this life is not real life. The real world is not the real world. To me in the real world people play a role. The roles that society set upon us. The real world to me now was that weekend at the burn. To me that’s how life should be. A world where people are self reliant yet courteous and kind. A world where everyone is accepted and everyone is beautiful. A place where consent is respected and where selfish or cruel intentions are non existent behaviors. A place where there is no give and take just a give because everyone wants to help and share the human experience. A place where everyone is praised and encouraged. A place of joy. I learned there is hope in humanity. I was utterly overwhelmed by realizing that a place like that can exist. That I was not born to live and work and die. I learned life doesn’t have to be full of suffering and struggle. I learned that people and the world itself can offer so much comfort. I absolutely cannot contain my excitement for the next burn. I learned how to love myself there and every bit of the world. I can’t wait to return home. To the “Real World” in my world.