I think about her pretty much every day. I vividly remember her in my mind’s eye—a precious girl from a neighboring camp—seeing her every so often, staggering down the dusty street, scantily clad or wrapped in a thick nasty blanket, with playa hair designed by nature’s sweaty days, dust storms, wild nights, and no showers for 9 days. She had come to us when a camp mate of hers raved about us and told her whole camp to come encounter the Light and get a Mother Blessing.
It was fairly early on during the week. We poured into her and she was deeply touched as we spoke to her heart and her spirit about her beauty and significance, her value, her unique gifts and special qualities that needed to be guarded and protected.
I always hope to shore up as many girls as I can while out in the desert of Burning Man each year. Many people go out there hoping to experience a week of partying and ‘freedom’ of expression or free love or lots of sex or a week-long high. When we meet, I always ask them how many years they have come to Burning Man. Most say, “This is my first time…and I am so excited to be here.”
We pour into them and try to create a safe place for them to return to if need be. Because many of them do not realize what they are getting themselves into.
Late one evening last year, mid-week, I was winding down after a long heavy day, and I heard her voice screeching behind me. She stumbled into our camp, giving us an update on her week, vomiting a string of shrill giggles, and I could tell without looking that she was strung out. This is what I heard:
“Hee hee haw haw so funny! I’ve been high for FIVE days straight! Haw haw haw! I remember ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I haven’t eaten. I don’t think. I’ve been with so many guys and to so many parties! I have no idea where I’ve been or who I have been with. HAHAHAHA! My friends found me passed out naked in the street one night! Haw haw haw! No kidding! Can you believe it? I don’t F*cking remember anything! Burning Man is a blast!”
The Mama Bear in me rose up and I turned to look at her to do something, I don’t know, maybe shake some sense into her. Hug her. Feed her and help her sober up. But she was already off to go party some more.
Our last morning at Burning Man, I was on my way back from the portapotty and saw her huddled in a makeshift pallet by the side of the road, so dirty you could hardly recognize her—she had beer and drugs lined up in front of her and she was bent over, talking to them, hissing and stammering. She looked possessed and absolutely hellish. The stench around her was overpowering.
My heart broke. I wondered what kind of pain she was running away from that necessitated nine days of such abuse and oblivion? And what kind of repercussions was she bracing to face as Burning Man ended and she had to go back to the real world? How many times had she been raped—and what kinds of consequences might she be facing from countless sexual partners and living on a sustained, binged high for that long? What kind of withdrawal was she facing and what kind of deep trauma might her body and spirit be carrying? Would she ever really recover? Would she ever be able to realize how valuable and priceless she truly is as a person?
I can’t get her out of my mind or my heart.
I may be very naive…I never lived a party lifestyle. I have lived through a lot of pain, though, and I do understand the pull sometimes to want to escape the anguish and responsibilities of life. But I can’t imagine the aftermath of such a thing. I think it rather compounds. Fun times aren’t always real sunshiny when you get down to the nitty gritty reality. What is her life like now?
This gal is only one of many thousands that we see…doing the same thing, year after year. Too many heartaches of the Big Party at Burning Man.
I wished I could have made a difference for her. I wished I could have shored her up and healed her pain so all of that excessive self-destruction wasn’t necessary.
But we can only do so much. I pray for her and I hope the very best for her and the others like her.
There are so many that we positively impact and it breaks my heart that we can’t do more. That is why I find myself always talking about going to Burning Man, and bringing people along with me. The need is great! I know a lot of mothers and fathers are praying for someone like us to cross paths with their kiddos that are bent on slow, self-kill mode. We’ve helped turned quite a few around. It’s an honor to pour out in such a way.
It is like triage on a battlefield. I love using the tools I have to quickly bind up wounds and stand between the wounded and the active battlefield. I’m a warrior and our troop is gifted, strong, and growing.
Want to help? Message me if you want to go, or if you have resources to donate at www.Destiny Dreamz Partners. We’d welcome your partnership in any way. We need all the help we can get. Thank you!