Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm not who I think I am.

Seen at Burning Man 2008

For a large part of the year after last year's trip to Burning Man, I kept meaning to tell this story about an interaction I overheard in the dark at our art project one night. A man walked up to a woman, and asked her if he could kiss her. The woman said yes, they kissed, and both walked away fine. It was sweet. He was older, she was young and hot and wild. I sat intrigued that if that had been me, I would have said no, and it became this point of awareness about my "wild side". Other related things happened last year to make me realize that I just like sleep more than dancing half naked all night on some bus or to some DJ. I like dancing, but I'm just not "that girl" at Burning Man - or here. I'm not going to wake up one day and suddenly be this wild, crazy up all night girl. I'm a corporate computer geek who loves her pretty art and tearing herself apart for no good reason, so she throws herself into the fire of Black Rock City just the same. Last year I finally said that hating the party doesn't make me a bad burner. I'm a burner all the same.

So this year I went back, saying it was a camping trip in the desert. Very few costumes, mostly pants and cotton long sleeved shirts and bikinis with short skirts and a couple of accessories is all I would wear. I wasn't going to play the "playa costume competition" that makes everyone just look generic anyway. (Though for some reason, it was notably better and more original and laid back this year. It was nice.) I wore tennis shoes, and tank tops and shorts and basically lived in my cowboy hat, sunglasses and flipflops with pigtails. I dressed cute maybe twice, for a couple of hours. And I was happy to have my fur coat, it got cold a couple of times at night. But otherwise, it was just me, in my clothes, being me. And I was okay with it.

I really do love being me. I got this very same sticker at Decompression last year when I was greeting and some guy walked up and asked me if it was me and I said damn straight and I put it on my car before I even drove home that night. I saw it all over the playa and it made me feel that part of the playa is always with me, that in my car I am reminding myself to love being me as much as I do out there.

Seen at Burning Man 2008

I saw these stencils all over the playa this year. They made me laugh. Whore is by far one of my most favorite words. It's been a word I've used a lot this summer. It's a fucking funny ass word. When a girlfriend asked a few weeks ago if I kiss on the first date, I said yeah, I'm a whore like that.

Burning Man has this wild reputation of being a drug and sex festival, but I think it's all about how you approach it. If you don't want that out of your city, you don't have to have it. And this year I had to be aware that I'm not that girl, even if in my head I'm that wild whore. I've often been very proud of my "I'd do anything I want" type attitude, but random, quick interactions just aren't my thing. I'm a very sexual person, with extreme limits and an even broader tolerance and minimal shock factor. I've always thought that I was loud about it. Open. Public. Willing. But beginning last year with that kiss interaction, I started becoming aware that I am much less spontaneous and quick to surrender that side of me than I previously thought. When me and my friend were walking back from the bathroom one of the first nights we made friends with some guys who stopped us by asking how we felt about random relationships. Both me and my friend gave strongly the wrong answer in that it has to mean something or we're out. Then the next day, one of the most hilarious and famous stories became about the girl who went for "a long trip to the bathroom" where she was distracted with escalating offers of a kiss, ice cream, a back rub and foot wash and then oral sex by some random guy. She walked back and told the story stunned. "Not a bad first day" she said. I became painfully aware that is just not me. It's not something I want, desire, care for, or am. And I'm not sure if that is "am anymore" or that I ever even was that bold, or if it was just in my mind. It's something I'm unsure about.

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