I need to talk more about this “nothing is real unless it’s in your face” business.
I recognize the cognitive dissonance that comes with writing on the internet about how things on the internet aren’t real.
But it’s a truth that needs to be addressed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s formed bonds with people through twitter, facebook, 4chan, or whatever the kids are doing these days (snapchat???) and thought, “wow, so-and-so gets me”. They might. You may be one of the few people who connects with someone digitally and it works. I know that I’ve met people who have changed my life for the better THROUGH the internet.
Here’s the rub: those relationships (friendships, sex, whatever) are NOT REAL. Nothing is real until you’re in each others faces. Until you exchange ideas and you can see exactly what that person is saying. Not what they’ve carefully typed and deleted and re-typed.
As with all things when it comes to me, I base these observations on things that are happening in my life. I guess I’m typing this to say the somewhat harsh, but nonetheless true statement. If only as a reminder to myself:
You are not a person. You are a set of numbers and characters. Until you choose to be different, you remain that. YOU ARE NOT REAL.
I’ve never really had much desire to attend Burning Man. To me, it always sounded like a debauched, fairly stinky affair and I don’t really care enough about live music or counter-culture to go and find out. All that being said, I somehow managed to end up in my own personal one 2 weeks ago.
My initial motivation for Camp Grounded was to regain a glimpse of my childhood – summers spent in northern Michigan – spending sun up to sun down playing with my friends. The fact that I would be able to get rid of my digital devices was just a perk.
As with all things in life, you take the good with the bad and both with the meh.
Let’s just get a few things out of the way. I am not, nor have I ever been a vegan. Mad props to you guys because OMFG I WAS STARVING after eating fucking kale and quinoa for four days. Seriously. Picture me: vegan, gluten & dairy free FOR FOUR DAYS. I get a little woozy just thinking about it. It’s not like I walk around chewing on the side of a cow, but come on, there’s a good way to cook/roast veggies and a not good way. Unfortunately, the camp couldn’t quite figure out the former.
I have never seen so many half-naked/fully-naked men at one time in one place. I guess streaking is a thing in northern California (along with hugging. ALL THE HUGGING.)
I don’t even have the words to adequately describe the hour of silence and silent dinner that followed. Needless to say, I’m a single woman who lives alone: I HAVE ALL THE FUCKING SELF REFLECTION IN THIS WORLD.
But, with bad things come good.
Everyone in camp began the weekend by setting intentions. I’ll keep most of them to myself, but I will share one with you:
“I will realize that relationships are only real when they’re right in front of you.”
I mean no disrespect to you lovely interwebs people, but over the years I had lost this idea. I had somehow convinced myself that words could be a replacement for interaction. While I’ve fortunately never been “Catfished”, I’ve had to learn the hard lessons that people are rarely what they just say they are. You need to be there, right in their face to learn their true spirit.
I spent four days fostering relationships with people who I looked dead in the eye, and realized we’re meant to be friends and learned about them by hearing things directly from their mouth, with no digital delay to airbrush their words.
I learned that what I do in this life matters to people. That I matter to people. Even ones I just met. That I can make people laugh, and touch their hearts. This might sound like something most people assume, but it’s been a hard road for me.
All in all, it’s an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Right down to inhaling a cheeseburger at 10:45 am on my way out of camp and
“being sick and tired of these ommmmmming motherfuckers.”
Some of you may have seen me speaking of Summer Camp on Twitter. And some of you may be wondering what in the hell I’m talking about.
Well, come Friday I will be completely unplugged. I’m heading to Camp Grounded up north of San Francisco and along with giving up my watch, I’ve got to “surrender” all my digital devices.
Don’t get me wrong internets, I love you, but you and I need a break.
SO! Friday begins my radio silence and I’ll be back all up in your faces on Tuesday. Enjoy the silence!