Photos taken and words written in April 2017. Killington, VT.
Attempting to write this on the train before I pass out.
Wish I didn’t feel the need to pass out at all. The colors of the sky right now are golden – or maybe that’s just window tint. My route is running along the Long Trail River coming from Rutland, Vermont and then a straight shot to Penn Station. Not having a Monday morning ride back to catch my flight turned out to be a blessing. The views down are breath-taking. I wish I could have stayed longer, but I know I’ll be back.
There’s a lot I’ve missed because I’ve been too exhausted from pain to stay awake for the good, or the medium, or the mundane. The mundane is worth keeping our eyes open for too. Though in those moments, when it’s not so high or so low, I just want to sleep. The energy it takes to hold all of these emotions, to face all of this darkness is more than I really have right now. Any downtime, to prevent from ruminating on the darkness, I check out. I check out to survive. I go to sleep at 8 or 9pm so I don’t hurt myself anymore. Something about waking up at dawn gives me a better sense of hope. The day is still coming. There’s still a chance to turn things around and make it a great day.
I’m raw. I’m like a snake poking its head out of its new skin and everything hurts right now. The sun is too hot, the water is too cold, the air is too brisk and my eyes are pink. Pink from opening them for the first time and seeing things as the really are. In their purest state, I see who I am. In this moment, I’m trying to keep my promise to myself to write at sunrise. I shot just before the sun crested over the mountains, but just after it crested over the horizon. My timing was off, but beauty was still created. Finding the magic in the moments that aren’t quite indigo and aren’t yet golden. The reflection of the rays on the cabin. The fire that was down to smoke and soft embers. The teepee that once held ashes from other exes letters.
Before I left the cabin, I sat and observed the candle that was still lit from the night before. Its flame was still burning strong. It burned though 60 bodies were moving around it. It burned inside a wooden cabin and the flame remained contained. This fire could have consumed the entire structure it flickered in, but it stayed controlled on its wick. Despite the times it could have been carelessly knocked over by eyes that couldn’t see their own legs, despite the blankets and pillows rustled nearby, despite the flowing robes waving around it, it remained on its wick. This little light had the power to destroy everything around it. It had ample opportunity, but it just shined.
This little light just shined.
There’s comfort in knowing, that not everything that can destroy you, will. I don’t need to be consumed by my thoughts or my emotions. I was blow-torched with lies and betrayal. The burns are fresh. They’re so fresh they feel sticky and wet. New skin is growing and some has all ready grown. My light was consumed by his destruction. But its not out, it’s just a tiny amber. I just need some air, some deep breaths, to bring it to a full flame again. Starting by writing, by meditation. By doing things that I don’t actually want to do but know will help heal me faster than just sleeping through everything waiting for new skin to grow.
I don’t actually like waking up for sunrise and shooting in 40 degree weather. None of this feels good or is fun. But it’s work. It’s working with the faith that one day because of all of this work, I won’t need to suffer anymore. I won’t need to be torchered anymore. One day I will look at this time of deep reflection, of waking up early, of reading the books and talking to my mentors and friends and making this growth a priority, of being alone for a while so I can get to know myself and learn to deal with the inner turmoil that I had been running away from and feel nothing but gratitude.
Hope is on my wick. The more I breathe, and choose to keep breathing, the brighter it will become.
Today class got a little creative
I was expecting 90 minutes of holding
Poses working against my ego to force
Me into focus of the moment
Next thing I know I’m back at a
12-step meeting, but only allowed to
talk about my top lines. I don’t really
talk about myself in a positive light
all that much. I’ve been too focused
on others’ darkness. Turns out I
still think I’m good in bed, whether or
not its with him. Turns out my salvation
is doing what I’m doing right now
Free-form, whatever it turns into
Winging gracefully. Top-line discussion
Becomes a mudra, a mudra becomes
Dance, a dance becomes tai-Bo.
From running away to running to
Punching in tandem.
“Who are you punching in the face right now?”
The answer was easy.
I wanted to hit him. I wanted to smack his
Smile to be crooked, so when he smiled
He could never fool another girl again
That he was a straight-chaser. I wanted
To punch his lips swollen shut, so
I could never kiss them again, even
If I wanted to. Which I haven’t wanted to
Not all that much, at least. I wanted to punch
His throat, so violatently that he could never
Speak lies to me or about me or about any
Girl he ever fooled anyone to think he
Was simply a victim to. I wanted to
Break his hands, so he could stop
Hypnotizing us with his talents that
We were misdirected and lost the
Attention to his broken promises.
The only promises I’ve ever seen him
Keep, were to those who could boost
His image higher – because he needed
It to be bigger than others. He needed
It to be bigger than mine. I remember
Whenever I started to get my life together
He looked a bit scared. Shocked, Surprised,
Even. It’s clear he wanted to ruin my
Life. Something about his prancing and
Pawing around his obligations to suit
So perfectly to conflict with mine,
I saw it in the way he always shifted his
Eyes. I saw it in the ways that he would get
Upset and angry when I looked at him
And saw him. No one had seen his tricks
For what they were. But I did. So yeah.
I wasn’t very mindful, or in a love state,
Exactly. My practice became my revenge.
DANCE! FEEL your body in these movements.
I felt it. It felt good. The punching started again.
This time, I was like Rocky Balboa. I was
Punching into my healing. I was a champion
In getting better. I didn’t need for him to
Be destroyed for me to be healthy and in
Doing the WORK. Yes, it is WORK,
I am becoming reborn.
I looked towards hope. Towards what I wanted
Peace. Peace in the not giving a fuck
What someone who can’t be honest with him-
Self even, says to me, thinks about me.
Consciousness so far from his reality
That my reality has elevated to a point
Where the past becomes this distant
Dream, a means to the growth, the growth
That took off like a rocket when I realized
That he was wrong in every way. I deserved
Better. Because I was better. Because
Despite what he would have me think
And feel to make himself feel taller
Than me, I am worthy. I amworthy of
This hyper new-agey love. And FUCK
Anyone who tries to judge the steps,
The mudra, the tapping, the dance.
This is where I grow, this is where I
Choose to love, anyways. This is where
I release the pain that wasn’t ever mine
To begin with. The pain I took on at
Birth from my birth mother, the pain I
took on in my youth from my father
The pain I took on from during my
adolescence from bullies
The pain I took on in my twenties from
My lovers, now finally, at 30, the pain
I took on from the one. Yes, he was the one.
The love of my life. My old life.
The love that killed me, and showed me
That that life is now done. It has been lived
Hard, lived hard and fast and as best as it
Could have been. Now is when recognize
That it’s all burned down. Now is when I
Am truly born – from the ashes.
Photos taken and words written in April 2017. Killington, VT.
Frozen on this couch, I
Had to look. I had a feeling
You were that sneaky and I
Needed to see for myself.
I didn’t need a plant
Medicine to know that you’ve
Cheating me out of my time,
Cheating me out of the promises
That you gave me – cheating
Me out of my ability to trust.
Just glued to these cushions
Because I’m afraid of the
String of wet cold that I’ll
Feel. Afraid that once given
Enough space it’ll all come
Rushing out and yet –
I’m still watching the sunrise,
Being affected by it, writing
But I’m half-assing it.
Just like you did.
Perhaps there’s something to that.
If I can out you, sure I’ll
I’m still checking my phone
For a hopeful response from
You. I’m still hoping
That you’ll find my message
Impressive. I’m still hoping
You’ll feel like an idiot for
Loosing me because loosing
Me was a choice that you
Made and although you
Baited me into letting
Go of all of our dreams,
We both know I hated
The taste of that worm.
The more I started to
Uncover about you, about
Her – about all the
Pitiful things you destroyed
Us over, the fatter that
Worm got. It was juicy,
Dripping in salvy slime,
And you hooked it well –
With the line itself
Since you know I hate the
Taste of blood anyways.
You dangled this helpless
Little worm in front of
My eyes, and force-fed
It with fat lies, fat tits
Fat lips and a fat ego.
You became its executioner,
And in dangling it where it
Brushed my lips, though you
Thought my eyes were closed,
You became its executioner
You became love’s executioner.
Photos taken and words written in April 2017. New York, NY.
Wipe off the tears. Look ahead
What you see in front of you is beautiful
Behind you, a baseball field.
A field less than a mile before that.
More fields in the area of your back
And you are so far away from the
Pitcher’s mound that you are not only
Not on first base, you’re not even sitting out.
Not even looking at the game. You’ve
Turned your Back on it. All of it.
All the games behind you and ignoring any
That potentially lay before you.
You’re out. Benched by choice.
All the movies show baseball
As a game of passion, you’ve gotta
Take risks, and get hurt to win.
The Sandlot was playing on my flight
Over. The Babe telling Rodriguez in
His dream to just hop over the fence,
And get that ball. He was telling him
To be fearless, to believe in himself
Above what all of some supposed
11 year-old logic was telling him.
We only know as much as our experience
And even sometimes then we ignore
The lessons and the red flags. Sometimes
Faith will get you like that. Not unlike
Now, where I keep trying to move forward
But as more memories fade into the
Background, this ache brings up an angst
That makes me want to stay fresh in
His mind, make his love stay fresh on mine.
So how do I become a legend like The Jet?
“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”
How do I grant myself solid gold, trophy status
That sits on a shelf of his memories as
Something that he once had and will
Always think fondly of? In loosing a place
In his life, I feel like I lost a part of myself.
I never told him that I never wanted to kiss
Him. I let myself be won over because something
Felt karmic about this meeting. It wasn’t
Just that we became a union, it was a reunion.
In forfeiting the game, I forfeit this control.
I can only know that I am a legend.
I’ve hopped over enough fences, and
Dodged enough beasts to prove it.
Trophy status isn’t up to me.
Photos taken and words written April 2017. Desert Hearts, CA.
I’ve been standing on the outside
Every twisting arm structure
Even the cuddle piles,
I chose the couches
Underneath the stars
Away from the warmth
Of other humans
I mask my contempt
being my tent.
Frozen to my sleeping bag
Because freedom is not mine.
I withdraw from the
group because I’m scared
I came here with an
Open heart and
in just a couple of
looped myself into
proving just how
delicate I really am
Blasted open I
felt gratitude for
but even there, a
Why wasn’t this easier
I’ve got my systems
down – I
know how I react, how
to act, where to
get what I need
I want something done,
I take the lead.
So shouldn’t this be
Or do I just have
Therefore the magic
becomes a lesson and
now is something I
try to create and is
no longer something that
That’s what this is.
Any magic I thought
just happened is
actually the cause of
a lot of hard work
from other people.
It’s not luck – it’s
work – and the
willingness to see
the resources available
to be gifts to us.
Some gifts are only
leased – makes us
feel ripped or teased.
But nothing is ever really
ours to begin with.
It just is.
Last night, around 9pm I told someone I was leaving my devices at home and going out for a few hours. I liked the way it sounded. I wanted to do that. But the truth is, I was so emotionally drained that all I could do was text a few people, wait for them to text me back, force myself to not log on to Facebook, and when it became clear that my friend wasn’t going to come over for tea after all, fall quickly asleep in my clothes and on top of a mattress pad.
Truth is I haven’t put sheets on my bed in the near-week since I’ve been back. Nothing is unpacked. I forced myself to edit a set of photos and I forced myself to get to some gatherings of people who seemed like they could relate.
This morning I did the same. It was easy to get up on time because I fell asleep so early. Getting myself there was harder. If I go to this thing, it means I admit to defeat. I admit that I have been defeated by myself. I go and I sheepishly raise my hand to share last nights failures, but I am never called on. Well – actually I was called on, but someone else hijacked my turn because they didn’t know the process yet. But I was there at 8:30am in a meditation center surrounded by other Angelenos choosing to not sleep off booze from the night before and instead choosing to get honest with themselves and how they’ve been living their realities.
This space is heavy. It’s uncomfortable and maddening. But is it more maddening than what brought me there? Maybe it’s just the withdrawal. It’s hard to identify with other people when I hate labels, and I’m always on the lookout for others projecting their issues onto mine. So how do I discern the difference between empathy and projecting? The only way to know is dive deeper to gain clarity of who I am myself. To ask questions I’m afraid of answering because I can’t help but think, for fuck’s sake haven’t I done enough? When do I get to just be happy? I’m happy when I’m alone – but there’s no risk involved there. I’m happy when I’m reassured and loved and have consistency. I haven’t had that in a while and the result is this post. So who’s the culprit anyways? The fault lies in both parties and all I can do is my part to heal from it and heal myself to not make the same unhealthy choices.
Part of me wonders if maybe I’m just searching for ANY answer and ANY concrete path because I’m sick of living in the unknown in a place in the country where I never really felt like I fit in, around people who I’ve constantly had to adjust my communication styles for. With friends who seem to be more absent lately… Maybe this post is me reaching out. It is. It is.
After the meeting I went to church. I never have Sunday mornings off anymore and there was a time when going to the Hollywood United Methodist Church (HUMC) was a place for deep reflection and healing for me. Even though I don’t really believe in God or Jesus in the way that most Christians do. What I do believe that this church preaches, is that God is love, and that that love is given to everyone on earth. Their commitment is shown in the marriage equality banner that was flagged on their exterior walls for years and how in every sermon, radical involvement in making our world a better place through action and not just talking about it, is encouraged.
I completely forgot that today was Palm Sunday. I used to love singing “Hosanna” waving palms around in church and in the two productions of Jesus Christ Superstar that I did growing up. This was not that kind of service. Reverend Cathy reminded us that while it’s natural to just want to skip to the Easter part of the story, there can’t be rebirth, with out death first. This seemed oddly fitting for today, and the Tower tarot card which has been looming in my readings for weeks now came to mind. The image of the Tower is typically lightning striking down a tall structure. The foundations are falling apart and change is coming whether or not you want it to. The card tends to look pretty scary – always at night – and no one likes getting it in a reading. The tower for me has almost always coincided with a breakup.
What I hate about this is, when will I ever get to just find peace? It’s gotten to the point that whenever I feel love, I’m waiting for the moment when it’s going to fall apart. I’ve done Vipassana, sound healing, reiki, therapy, I’ve read countless self-help books and I’ve gotten to know myself quite well and am aware of my patterns even when they’re happening now. So I wonder, when is all the work I’ve done going to be enough where things can be stable to the point that no one can knock me off of my mountain? How is it that even with everything that I’ve done, I am still so affected by this kind of loss?
After the lesson, there was a live performance of the story of how Jesus was crucified. I wasn’t expecting this. The lights were dim, the music was morbid, and every second I wanted to run out of the church. I had memories of performing in that musical at the age of 12 and 14 of being backstage while our actor playing Jesus was being crucified on the cross and dissonant tones were being sung by the adult ensemble spectators. The younger ensemble were watching the crew literally holding up the platform that was the roof above our heads that was also the ground upon which the cross was on top of. Literally, the stage was collapsing above our heads and since “the show must go on” we all stayed there, risking our young lives, as the backstage crew used all of their force to hold up the ceiling.
We ended up fine and at that age I held that mantra that the show must go on, on a pedestal. To the point where I continued in performances with sprained ankles, bronchitis, skipping school to perform daytime school performances and even once, got hit in the head with a magic lamp and to this day, I still have the scar just above my right eye lid to prove the tale. It’s interesting to me now how this mirrors my personal life. I was a slow test taker and even as bullies were throwing wads of paper and spit balls at my head and pencil, I continued to take the test. Even when things were rough at home and I tried to run away, I came back anyways and told my parents I loved them. Even when a girl at school told me she didn’t see me as a friend, I told her that I would consider her one anyways. I became a master at charging through pain, not ignoring it, but accepting it and moving ahead anyways. Part of me wonders if because of this, pain has become normalized in my every day life. I’ve been complimented on how strong I am, the playa name that was given to me was “Charge,” which I fully identify with, and that I’m a warrior. Have I rested too much on this? Truthfully I’m tired of having to charge through anything and can’t help but wonder, why do things always have to be so hard?
After the performance I felt extremely heavy and was looking forward to seeing who had text me during the service, even though I all ready knew it wasn’t who I was hoping it would be. We all left in silence, and went out to the brand new backyard that was installed. HUMC is a gorgeous church with a lot of Hollywood history. You’ve seen its gym in Back to the Future, its exterior and interior in Sister Act, and there are frequent tours of the space. The new yard in the back was possible because an old building behind it had been torn down. It was fitting for this Palm Sunday’s lesson. The yard had a small path, there were kid-sized picnic tables surrounding the grassy area, there were flower gardens lining the picnic area and everything was set up for an unexpected Easter egg hunt.
From a dimly-lit, moody sermon, suddenly we were met with eggs and East bunny footprints scattered about, over-the-top cheerful Chipmunks Easter music and kids running around with their Easter gift baskets blowing bubbles and eating muffins. I felt whip-lashed. I had just experienced an entire morning of intense self-reflection and had gone straight into a child’s play-time where seemingly happy adults watched after them and joined each other in fellowship. Even though I had been coming to this church on and off for six years, I felt like a fish out of water. I knew I should stay and attempt to talk to someone, to not give into my melancholy completely but had no idea where to start. The cheerfulness caused me to feel nauseated and I looked at these happy parents and families and a rare feeling of jadedness came over me. Why couldn’t I just be “normal” like these people? Then I remembered what a girl said at my meeting that morning about how comparing herself to others caused her a lot of pain and I stopped myself in those thoughts.
I then realized how much I missed the innocence of my childhood. As adults, we are in a room having a serious experience witnessing Christ’s death, and as children, they are sheltered away from this realness, and instead given candy, and crayons and coloring books.
“Lighten up, Amanda. Have a goddamn off-brand Oreo and get yourself some coffee. You’re safe here. Everything is fine.”
So I did just that and looked around the yard for women my age, maybe a little alternative looking, and awkwardly made eye contact with a woman a few times before finally introducing myself.
We talked for a bit, and I took her photo with the Easter bunny and volunteered to take others’ photos. She plays the harp and that to me was very cool. It was nice to talk to someone and have her introduce me to a few other church members and I was invited to a Taco Tuesday talk on spirituality and I felt grateful to be included. At the same time, I felt completely disconnected. I knew I was just looking for community and friendship from wherever I could find it. At the same time, I’ve been disappointed that the burner community I’ve been so proud to be apart of, has been completely MIA in my outreach to them. I decided to take a selfie with the Easter bunny, and sent it to my ex as a joke against my better judgement to reach out at all and went home knowing I was going to write about this without being 100% sure as to where it would go.
So this is where I’m at. It appears that there is a lot more work to be done. Frankly, I’m scared shitless and exhausted. There is also a lot of work to be done in my career. I’m production coordinating a pilot in less than a week and the to-do list is mounting taller and taller by the hour. I’m catching up on photo editing and documentary obligations. And yet… I still haven’t even unpacked or made my bed. I accomplish tasks like a robot and as soon as they’re done, wrestle with my self-doubt and confusion about my life’s current life path. Maybe I need another summer in NYC. Maybe that won’t make a difference and I need to just stay and face my fears. Maybe I just need new friends who can be present and I need to fall for partners who’s issues don’t exacerbate my issues.
I don’t have any concrete answers right now. And since I hate the unknown, maybe that’s the first lesson. Being okay with not having any answers, to anything.
Photos taken and words written in March 2017. Los Angeles, CA.
Feels like the end of a vampire phase:
No more last sunsets, only firsts.
This morning, this day,
Every day is now a first.
I try to look at it, to take it in,
But too much of a good thing will blind you.
The anticipation in the pink and blue,
The swelling up of joy from the
Perceived coming experience,
That once it peaks over the hills,
It’s majestic as fuck,
And this poem serves no purpose.
Except to be here as a sounding
Board for the first thoughts of
The first morning. The first morning
Sunrise. Is this enough?
I feel like I’m leaving something out.
Like how the gold pushes through
The cattail grass as the wind moves
It in a dance. Daybreaking through
The smog to create a new framework
That maybe Los Angeles can be
Heaven, if we fool ourselves into
Believing that the smog is clouds and the
Clouds are saving us and
Not actually destroying us.
Feeling the irony as these thoughts
Come as this series is meant to
Save myself from myself.
Feeling the irony as I sit in this
Car to write, a vehicle that is not
Mine. Because I am too cold
To do this on my own. With
The wind and everything else,
The suns rays just aren’t enough.
Neither is my hoodie. So I’ve got
His jacket on, sitting in his
Car. Allowing borrowed things to
Start something that is meant to
Help me heal from this past year.
Heal from this past year, heal
From the moment when I’ll have
To turn the keys in, take this
Jacket off, and move forward in
This series, alone.
It was around 2am at Symbiosis, I was not sober and it was time to make a pee break. As usual for a festival by this time, the portos had run out of toilet paper. That didn’t matter to me, because I was a prepared festie! I always carry on my trusty utility belt a small packet of tissues and hand sanitizer for this very reason. I came out and someone spotted my tissues and asked for one. So I gave it to them, then next thing I knew everyone was coming up to me one-by-one to take from my tissue packet, and as I handed out my very last one I shouted “FESTIVAL 101 GUYS! Always carry tissues and hand sanitizer!” So with Desert Hearts coming up, I felt it necessary to give you guys my comprehensive packing list can really apply to any festival for seasons to come.
First thing you want to think about when heading to a campout festival is where you’re going to decompress and change costumes! And maybe sleep. Maybe.
For this you’ll need the following:
- Tent: Honestly any 4-person tent will do if it’s just you. That’s enough space to house all of your stuff and sleep. If you’re going with a partner you’ll just have to cuddle extra close. A wool blanket is great to cover the bottom of the tent to keep heat in, and any extra blankets on top of both sleeping bags always help when you want to bring one outside.
- Tarp: You’ll need one for the ground and an extra for on top in case it rains. Having an additional shade structure over the top of your tent is definitely a plus especially if the festival doesn’t have much tree coverage. This will help you sleep in longer when the rays from the sun poke through.
- Sleep Aids: Ear plugs, face mask and melatonin. I like to get the emergency packets that have melatonin in them – get your electrolytes and a healthy sleep inducer.
- Bed: Two, preferably, one for the bottom layer and one for the top. At least one pillow, an air mattress, foam topper, or I use a self-inflating camping pad; not as cozy as an air mattress, but way easier to set up and no need to worry about it deflating.
- Lighting/Decor: Solar-powered lights to decorate your tent with, so you can find your way in the dark back to your tent. Lantern for the inside so you can see what you’re changing into when it gets cold and dark. Decorations for your tent such as fake flowers or a tapestry to make finding your tent for yourself and your friends easier.
- Toiletries: You’ll want to bring what you would have at home with you such as toothbrush/toothpaste, lotion, face wash, makeup remover and sunscreen. To lighten the load and streamline your bathing, I suggest dry shampoo, Dr. Bronners (will be the only soap you need if you make this investment), baby wipes (ESSENTIAL – it’s very likely you won’t be able to shower more than once during the weekend) and a microfiber towel (dries super quick).
On Your Belt, Utility Belt that Is
A belt is the most common thing that first-time festies don’t really think about – like what would we need to carry around with us all the time? Well, it’s more of a thing where, having some of these essential items on you at all times will make your experience much, much easier and therefore more enjoyable. Let’s go over different belt options first:
- Army/Navy: Probably the cheapest option, and what’s nice is they are customizable! Not exactly the most fashionable, but what you want is durability and usability. You’ll end up getting a canvas belt as your base and then you’ll have any number of pockets to choose from. Small ones perfect for your iPhone, larger ones perfect for moleskin, and even one that fits a 2L canteen! I have a silver cup that actually fits around the canteen so I don’t need an extra cup for when I find myself offered a drink.
- Etsy: There are countless utility belts available on etsy. Canvas, leather, teal, earth tones… I like the belts with snaps as opposed to zippers because they’re less likely to break on you. Also canvas isn’t as affected by the sun as leather is so it’s less likely to burn you when it gets hot out.
- Podbelt: For those with a little more cash to burn, I highly recommend the Podbelt. It’s fully felxible for your needs and each item is durable and will last you for years of festing to come. Designed specifically with the most dedicated of burners in mind this belt offers retractable lighter holders, canteen holders and varying sizes of pouches – and all on sexy black leather material.
- For the little pockets: Butt container – that’s right MOOP (matter out of place) means cigarette butts too! An empty mint container or even an old pill bottle works great for this. Chapstick – preferably one with SPF 20 or higher and eye drops!
- For the Portos: As suggested by the beginning of this article, a little packet of tissues and hand sanitizer! Your ass will thank you.
- Phone: Although you may not have cell reception, having your phone on you is great for the other things you can do with it, like capturing memories and writing down quick notes and exchanging contact info. If you’re not the photo taking type, I recommend a small moleskin and pen. I actually prefer this because then I have a little diary of everyone I’ve met from that event by the end of it.
- Little Gifts: The purpose of gifting at a festival is really to bring about the spirit of contribution. If we all bring more than what we need for ourselves, there will always be a bounty. What’s really nice about this is that after you meet someone you get to seal that connection with a token of esteem that they can take home with them, in addition to the wonderful memory. This can really be anything, so long as it isn’t very “moopy.” I like to give away an essential oil blend I made a big batch of, or flourite. My first burn I put a drop of lavender essential oil on epsom salts and wrapped it up into a bunch of little pouches which I gave to people to soak their feet with at the end of the week. I’ve received countless theme camp necklaces, friendship bracelets, kandi, crystals, granola bars and probably my favorite gift was from this girl Erin whom I met Tuesday night of my first burn. I couldn’t find my pack of American Spirits for the life of me and she decided that her gift would be to bring extra everything, in case someone forgot something. So, she had an extra full pack of cigs to give me!
- Cup on a Carabiner: Why? Desert Hearts has a few camps from Burning Man that pop up at the back of the dance floor with open bars serving up booze, tea and other things. But you’ve gotta bring your own cup to partake so as to reduce moop. Most transformational festivals have an environment like this where there might be a bag of wine being passed around, or someone invites you into their camp for some champagne… So be prepared and bring your own cup, and it’s easier if it’s just hanging off your belt!
- Water Container: Something to carry at least 2L of water in! You’ll go through it fast and water is the will prevent a visit to the medic tent. It’s easy to forget to hydrate so make sure it’s accessible on a 2L canteen on your belt or get a hydration pack. To amp up the hydration add Emergency to your water. This will add electrolytes and prevent you from getting sick in an environment where it’s really easy to spread germs.
- Other Essentials: Sunglasses, headlamp, bandana!
- Camping Stove: I used this one at the burn and I LOVED IT. It uses denatured alcohol which is much cleaner than alternative fuels.
- Kitchenware: Reusable plate, fork, knife
- Washing: Kitchen towels and a washing basin
- Waste Management: Trash/recycling bags, bucket for grey water: because pack it in, pack it out, bitches!
- Cash Money: ATMs are harder to find and the fees are HEFTY. Think about how much you’ll need for 3 days of food, gifts and other things for extra-curricular activities.
Basically anything that is vacuum-packed or dried is your best friend because the less you have to worry about getting ice everyday, the more fun you’re bound to have. There are plenty of delicious food vendors at Desert Hearts, but if you want to save some money and snack in between, or even perhaps after some vendors are closed. So here’s what I recommend:
- Vacuum-packed meals, jerky, rice cakes, seaweed snacks
- Hard-boiled eggs (these lasted me 4 days at Burning Man and I only had to buy ice once), cuties, cliff bars, hummus & carrots
- Bread, PB&J: basically, if you’re a filmmaker, think of anything that you like to see at the crafty table
- Oreos, gummy bears, dried fruit
- Instant iced coffee. Hack: Get those instant iced coffee packets from starbucks, put it in your water bottle in the morning, shake it up and boom! Decent coffee.
- Coconut water, red gatorade. A gentleman helping me at B&H Photo and Video could tell I was hungover when trying to get something fixed, and insisted that I needed to drink 2 red gatorades. I had to make sure it was the red one. I did this and it has been my hangover cure ever since. Why red? No idea.
- Boxed wine: take the bag out, smack it and pass it! Champagne, because essentially festivals are all celebrations. Whiskey – for those brisk nights.
On Your BOD
- Warm-ass jacket, leggings, long johns. Layers, motherfucker: it’s going to be 36 degrees farenheit at night for this Desert Hearts
- Gloves, spirit hood: fuzzy AND fashionable! Hack: remember your favorite childhood jewelry store Claire’s? THEY HAVE MOCK SPIRITHOODS FOR LESS THAN $20, as well as fluffies, flower head pieces, and cute caribeener wallets. Basically Claire’s is just grew up with us.
- Tights, leg warmers, garter belts, thigh highs, harem pants, wings, onesies, funky hats, nothing – whatever the fuck you want
- LEDs!!! It’s dark out at night and you want people to see you, right? EL Wire is the way to go.
- Jewelry, makeup, glitter, sequins
- Keep in mind the porta potties when deciding on your costume selection.
- Flow toys, tarot cards, crystals, camera gear, gifts
- A good attitude
- Most important, come prepared to contribute, discuss boundaries, meeting places, be responsible for yourself and care about each other!
That about sums it up! Anything to add? Comment below!
This post reminded me why I love festivals so much. I was starting to feel out of touch with the experience. I’ve been so focused on paying bills, my health, getting my career on track and my relationship that I completely lost track of my spirit. And in loosing track of my spirit, the rest is following.I’ve been noticing some pretty scary patterns come up in my life that only I am responsible for.
When I’m focused on my art, and given lots of opportunity to create art, those patterns disappear. When I have a lot of free time and am going through something really emotional, I get really focused on meditation and learning. When I feel like I’ve fucked things up so bad, I leave where I’m at to attempt a new beginning. Hoping the past stays in the city I just left.The hard truth is, I’m the common denominator. If I’m only trying to save myself when I realize what my patterns are costing me, they will never go away. If I keep leaving my problems in another city, things might seem new for a while, but it will creep back in again once challenged with what I was challenged with before. If I’m only creating the art that is given to me, I will never show the world what’s truly in my soul and thereby withholding gifts from it that it very well may need.Resistance has taken over my life.
My ego is latching onto what it needs to believe so I don’t crumble from the weight of the responsibility I’ll have to take on from recognizing my own problems. We cannot rest our laurels on “triggers.” We all have them. If we constantly use the trigger excuse, we never have to take responsibility for our own growth.So there’s the first step. I acknowledge that I have a very, very long way to go in my growth. I accept my self-sabotage, and want to stop. The only way to stop is to put in the work, every day, even when things are good, because this is a lifetime of bad habits that I have to overcome. I see this in myself, and hope I can be forgiven, and use this knowledge to forgive others.
Desert Hearts will be my first festival of the season and it couldn’t be more perfect, as the lessons this community have taught me, are all centered and grounded in love. My new new year is spring, when festival season starts. As every event I go to shows me myself at my greatest capacity for love, my greatest capacity for wisdom and compassion and my greatest aptitude for just letting everything go and exploring as though I were a kid again. I can witness myself there at my best, and then remember that my perception of life is a choice. Life can be a festival if I want it to. It might be scary to be that vulnerable and that authentic and that trusting all of the time – but in the end, we are here to evolve. Evolution takes a lifetime, not just a few weekends a year.