Well, I don't know, why are you asking me? Oh. Right. Ok. Sorry. Uh....
Yeah, I don't really know.
You were way out of the loop for a while there because I couldn't seem to get myself together enough to type about what was going on. But back at the start of July, when I helped Jason out by driving the visitors around the island, I found it completely exhausting. Like, it totally, utterly drained me. And so considering this, I didn't see how it would be possible for me to make the road trip all the way down to Nevada. Oh, and back. Oh, and spend a week in the harsh desert environment. At all.
I talked to myself a lot about it. Sure, maybe I could physically do it, but I might be exhausted. And unhappy. And the more I thought about it, the less it seemed like something I actually wanted to do. I cried a lot about it and was pretty upset.
I didn't want to go to Burning Man and I couldn't see a reason to go. I kept saying... it's so hard. Such a difficult week, and this year I won't have even a travel buddy with me... no Max, no Sarah, no Connor, nothing. Just me, and all that goes along with that... where *would* I camp? Could I connect with former neighbours and find them? What if it went the same way as 2015 and they weren't all that findable? What if I camped next to someone and ... I dunno.... it wasn't fun somehow? Why? Why was I thinking of doing this? And then I'd have to drive home after too? No way. This is dumb. I don't think I'm doing this.
And there was probably a month of this... maybe not.. maybe it was only a few weeks, but it felt like months, to be honest. Things hadn't come together yet on whatever vehicle I was going to take, I wasn't able to see the people I'd met through Max, I was going to do a lot of driving to go to this very difficult place to be by myself and alone and then drive home to .... this. This not awesome exhaustion and stress and this is stupid.
So I started to wonder about maybe not going this year. At all.
I wasn't sure what that would look like. Would I be disappointed come September? Would I feel badly for the guy who rescued me by selling me his ticket (the answer is yes) but maybe it just wasn't in the cards. I couldn't feel any motivation to go.
I started messaging people I knew where going. "Hey, I'm not feeling up to it... help?" And the first few people I messaged got back with... you know what? Me neither... sorry. It drains on you, you see... the prep, the event, the... everything... it's a lot. And so not even the burners I reached out to for help were helpful. "Nah, I'm not sure I want to go either, sorry." Crap.
I didn't NOT want to go, but the whole idea didn't seem anywhere near fun. Like, not even close.
And add to that trying to deal with life on top of it all and stay calm and .... everything? Just too much.
That was my state for the last few weeks, leading up to about two weeks ago
I am somewhat active on a couple of Burning Man forums online, and will often strike up conversations, or have conversations ... uh... struken up with me. (This is, after all, how I met Max... which I sometimes forget... the randomness of the internet and all.) I'd been chatting a bit with one fellow (No! Not another Max situation in any way, just chatting.) when he mentioned that the group he volunteers with down at Burning Man was looking for more volunteers and might I be interested?
Well, yes, actually, I would.
It was a group I interacted with my first year and was very impressed by but was told (post event) that one couldn't volunteer with them without qualifications that I don't have. But, my new friend told me that they needed non-qualified volunteers and that if I was interested, he'd put in a good word for me.
I asked him a bit about what was involved and then went straight online to apply.
He sent an email to the volunteer coordinator saying he thought I was a good fit (which was very kind of him, and a bit of a mind-mess for me... people who don't know me think I'm nice/cool/good? woah...) and they took me on as a volunteer. Yay!
Except, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
Online courses to take (and pass! WHILE DEALING WITH DEATH COLD!) and ID photos to upload (I don't have a photo of me I like enough nevermind one that would work as an ID photo, oh man!) and then there was the signing up of for shifts. Hours worth of shifts? Oh man... what... exactly had I done here?
Like I said when I half mentioned it the other week, it has been an absolute whirlwind.... and utterly overwhelming. (Now, add onto that the sinus meds starting to get into my system and you see the perfect storm starting to form, eh?)
Oh man. So I was (and still kind of am) mega stressed.
Because "positive stress" is still frigging stressful, man!
But... I also suddenly had a reason to go.
A reason to drive all that way... a reason to show up. I'd committed myself to 18 plus hours of volunteer work with this crew. Now I "had" to go!
Which felt good. Better than not wanting to go.
But.... it also began a whirlwind of stress, because now there was a certain reality to deal with.
What. Frigging. Vehicle???? This, at the time of writing this, still hasn't been resolved, by the way. Yes, I can take my car, but I'd rather she was kept clean, and she doesn't have the biggest trunk (ha... joke in there somewhere) and it would probably be more expensive of a drive down as I'd be likely to stay in hotels and they're... not cheap. I called the guy who's been supposed to find me a van to take (I'm thinking I haven't kept you guys very up to date on this, sorry) and he... I guess, somehow thought he had five more weeks. Uh. No. So he's "working on it" and I'm trying very very hard to be calm and trust... but... I'm stressed. If I think about it, well, it just... I don't think about it. But there have been a lot of tears and upset over this.
I still haven't figured out the route. (Working on that this week) There was a plan for me to take a few extra days and do a leisurely drive along the coast before cutting in, but now I'm thinking I just don't have the emotional energy for that and I'm looking at just a simple, but still hopefully leisurely drive without the coast thrown in. Sigh. Stress.
Oh, what else? Right. Camp.
In talking to the fellow who'd help connect me with the volunteer opportunity, he asked me where I was camping. "Not sure... boonies?" was my response.
He suggested that I camp near them (their camp was full) but that's always risky because the established camps can be near open camping but you never know how full open camping is and man, I'd be driving randomly trying to find a camp I didn't know and a person I didn't know and it would probably be just easier to not camp near them. I don't know. But then I started worrying about things (as I do...) like... oh, everything. And blah, blah, blah long story a little bit shorter, out of nowhere, he said he'd ask his camp lead if they might be able to squeeze me in.
I didn't know how I felt about this, but it seemed.. sort of smart maybe? And lo and behold, they found space for me and I paid camp dues and they sent me information to read and cleanup shifts to sign up for.
I've never been with a camp before, and one of the reasons is that I'm protective of my time. Being with a camp involves (more) volutneer time.. maybe cooking, or cleaning or whatever the camp offers as their gift (running a bar or something) and well, that just never appealed to me particularly. Plus... a group of people I don't know. Ugh.
But I figured this was the year to try it. Not that I worry about things happening to me out there, but I would be around people who could help if something went awry. And there would be communal shade and, well, as for the rest, I would see what it was like to be in a camp. And my new friend would be there (and hopefully we got along, oh man)
So, yeah. Things are not settled. I'm not feeling calm. My anxiety is way ratcheted up (although better than when the cold meds had me in their grib) and I'm working really really hard on finding the balance between staying calm and getting things done. Because often the process of getting things done stresses me which then tires me and then I need a break and things don't progress.
But I'm trying. And it's rough. But... the update is this:
It seems I'm going to Burning Man this year. Driving by myself. In a vehicle that is hopefully not my car but very safe and reliable that I can sleep in. It sounds like I'll be camping with a camp and I have signed up to do volunteer shifts with a group (yes, I'm being vague about who/what...) and I am freaking the f*ck out about all of it.
More to come, I assume... as I find and/or make time for writing.
I highly doubt I'll have a series of blog posts pre-written for the time I'm away... I can barely get regular posts out. Plus I am totally overwhelmed by trying to plan and prep and oh, right life. Sigh.
It's rough in here right now you guys. Send good vibes.... or whatever you've got. I'll take em all.