Birthday reflections

(crossposted from Facebook)

A very belated thank you to everyone for their birthday wishes last week! It’s taken awhile to write this because I’ve been preparing for my first experience with Burning Man. I am currently on the playa for build and I have cell phone service and most of my camp is sleeping so now’s as good a time as any for some words.

I am frankly embarrassed by how much better life has gotten since my last birthday. Friends I haven’t seen in awhile keep asking “how’ve you been?” and I keep responding “really, really ridiculously good” and meaning it.

I spent most of 2013 through 2016 feeling incredibly lonely after leaving behind the social support network I lucked into in college, and also numbing and distracting myself from how much this hurt because I didn’t know what else to do. In 2017 I went through a long process of undoing the numbing. It was very painful and I needed it. I got help from a lot of amazing people throughout this process. A very partial list: Leslie Grace, David Bollt, Booster Blake, Heather Higgins, Pete Michaud, Stephanie Zolayvar… thank you all.

2018 feels completely different. Something happened to me in February that I still don’t really understand, but the short version is that there was a kind of fear or anxiety or shame that had been holding me back the entire time I had been numb, and it lifted. I became free of it. And I finally started moving again, and I have not stopped.

I started talking. A lot. In a lot of ways. Facebook statuses. Conversations at workshops. I talked about my story, and what I’ve learned from it so far. And people have been listening. They’ve been resonating. They’ve been telling me about their own stories, which are surprisingly similar to mine. And we’re starting to notice, together, that we have a shared sense of how we can use what we’ve been learning to help people.

A lot of these people are coming to Burning Man.

I have some plans for how to get these people talking to each other, which I’m very excited about. I don’t know which of them will survive the desert, and I’m okay with that. I feel open to possibility. Anything can happen in 2018.

If you want to talk, I’m camping at Black Lotus Society, 7:30 and Bender. Look for the geodesic sphere. You might not find me, but you’ll probably find somebody. Or tell me where to find you!

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