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! 😉
Writing during the day is an oddity for me, but I’m too distracted at work to do anything of note, so here I am.
Attachment is a weird thing. You don’t think too much about it until you realize it never existed. I’ve spent the last few months coming to some hard truths. I never formed an attachment with a parent. I was, for all intents and purposes, abandoned by that parent. These are hard things to accept, especially when that parent was “technically” there and did a hell of a job acting like the parent that they thought they should be.
I write this so that you all understand that I’ve spent the formative years of my life in a weird flux due to this. On the one hand, I am fiercely independent because I’ve always had to be. I never knew what it was like to be able to count on someone, and so I learned how to do for myself. While there are aspects of this that are really admirable, there are parts of it that are amazingly hurtful. No one should ever know what it feels like to recover from major surgery virtually on their own because one parent cannot be bothered to deal with their ill child (and because the other parent cannot do it all on their own).
This stuff stings, people. You don’t realize it until after it’s gone, but it leaves a mark.
On the other hand, for better or for worse (mostly worse) I’ve spent a lot of time reaching out to form bonds with people. And I’ve formed these bonds with some people despite my better judgment, despite what’s best for me. I’ve done it because I’ve hungered to matter to someone. Thankfully I’ve got friends who’ve reciprocated this mutual need and I’ve learned on some levels what it is to be needed by someone and for it to be ok for me to need them.
But there are other instances where relationships were not real. They were never what they appeared to be. I don’t know whether that’s my fault or because I had this particular vacuum that I was just susceptible to believing what people said, despite them acting the opposite. Learning that someone doesn’t really give a shit about you is a hard thing to feel; and I’ve felt it a few times over.
And the funny thing is, the only way to actually find someone that does give a shit about you is to keep going through the people that don’t. It’s like purposely wearing armor that has chinks in it. I’m not sure I’ve quite figured out this delicate balance of vulnerability and strength yet.