To those of you not attending Burning Man this year, I would like to start off this letter with the acknowledgement that this is not any of the following:
— An attempt to explain why “Burning Man was better last year”
— Why I’m more “conscious/cooler/hipper” than you
— A “Burning Man Sucks” rant.
Rather, I am just a slightly bummed young woman who is not attending Burning Man this year and upon realizing how sad it has been making me and upon feeling those small seeds of FOMO starting to spread deep inside, I have realized that my jealousy is petty and completely unnecessary. Thus, I would like to share in three main points why you and I both don’t have to be sad about it!
Yup, that’s right. This year, I am NOT spending upwards of $1000 on something I’ve done before. This year, I am NOT sacrificing my paycheck and holiday time. This year, instead, I am utilizing a lesson which Burning Man has already taught me in the past, and which also happens to be one of the most talked about principles.
Yup, you guessed it: Radical Self Expression!
Burning Man has allowed me to realize my unique gifts and get in touch with my inner self. I have now realized that my creative desires can also coincide with my career. For me, I aspire to a career of Film Set Decoration with always a bit of creative writing on the side. Currently, I am doing everything I can to follow these dreams to build my career. I want to always be creative and I want to always be confident, not just at Burning Man, but in every aspect of my life. I’m not at a point in my career right now where I can (or even want to) take a break. So I’m not going to. I’m going to focus on myself and on ways of how I can “radically express” that self within the “real world.”
So, don’t worry if you can’t get the time off work, or can’t afford to go. Don’t go in debt for Burning Man. It’s always going to be there next year. And, if taking time off work might hinder your promotion, or if whatever sort of project you’re working on, taking a break might hinder its completion, don’t do it! Let the creativity and confidence that Burning Man instilled in you continue to flourish in your day-to-day! Save the money for something else, if that’s what you really want. You want to be a photographer, save it for a new camera! You want to travel, save it for a ticket! You want to rule the world, save it for a podium! It’s okay! It’s your money, it’s your life, and it’s important that you work to be the truest and happiest “you” that exists, from now until eternity.
IT’S NOT YOU IT’S ME
Of course Burning Man is what it is because of the pulsing plethora of beautiful, interesting, eccentric, out of their minds, intelligent, intriguing, creative people that surround you at all times. Going back to another classic principle: “Participation!” (Fun fact, this was one of the actual first mottos of Burning Man back when it began. “No Spectators!” If you want to know more, read this.)
But, like any experience in life, it all ultimately depends on your perspective. Sure, the people smacking each other with noodles at the Thunderdome or the thousands of topless women riding around during “Critical Tits” definitely contribute to the overall “vibe,” but the amazing experience you have is because of the amazing YOU that you transform into while you’re there (because, let’s face it, we’ve all had those nights and/or mornings on the playa where you are tired and sick and no matter what beautiful crazy things might be going on around you, your pessimistic mind is just thinking, “Fuck these dusty hippies!”) Your mind controls the experience. It’s you and your happy frolicking dirty little self that makes for the unforgettable time. It’s the rose-coloured glasses. It’s the sparkle in the corner of your eyes. It’s the feeling of confidence and lack of responsibility and just having a totally awesome time, man!
Thus, maybe it’s not Burning Man that you’re missing, but maybe it’s your Alter-Playa-Ego who you’re really missing. It’s your carefree attitude, your happy-go-lucky decision making skills, your IDGAF I’m a BAMF outfit choices, because it’s truly not me, it’s YOU! And, the best part about that is that you don’t need Burning Man for that YOU to exist. In a way, Burning Man could be considered a crutch, or maybe just a cute little unicorn floatie toy which helps the true you bounce around life.
So, if you’re not going this year, it’s okay. Why don’t you try to channel that playa god/godess more often in real life?
BRING IT FULL CIRCLE
I’m inspired by Burning Man and the principles it instills. But, what use is being inspired by something and never acting upon it? It’s like buying a Vitamix and never using it (yes, I’m looking at you: every Hipster in California.) Let me quickly read off the 10 main Burning Man principles and offer immediate examples as to how they can be integrated into your real life…
RADICAL INCLUSION → Don’t vote for Trump.
GIFTING → Cover the check at dinner every once in a while.
DECOMMODIFICATION → Join your local Time Bank. (Seriously, they are awesome, google it.)
RADICAL SELF RELIANCE → Grow a garden.
RADICAL SELF EXPRESSION → Make art! (Even if you think you suck, just do it!)
COMMUNAL EFFORT → Volunteer in your community.
CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY → Don’t Vote for Trump (hmmm…)
LEAVE NO TRACE → Pick up your trash everywhere and pick up other peoples’ too. Don’t just look at it sitting there on the ground thinking about the asshole who threw it there. Bend over, pick it up, and throw it away, or you’re just as bad as the original litterer.
PARTICIPATION → Have more human interaction and less internet time. Plan more dinner parties, trips, events. Start projects, help with projects, do things that aren’t just for your benefit. Help others.
IMMEDIACY → Meditate. (Whatever that means for you, it could be through exercise, art, music, cooking, or the classic “namaste-ing.” Find things that get you in the zone.)
I hope you realize that not going to Burning Man does not make you any less cooler. You are not missing out. Every moment in life is a gift. Sometimes, these moments happen in rainbow utopias like the Playa, and sometimes they happen in your living room. One is not necessarily better than the other. Understand that you are exactly where you need to be. Take it from someone who just had to write 2 pages to make herself feel better about not going to Burning Man.