Rites of Passage

20110831-061505.jpgIt’s 6am in Black Rock City as I type this post out on my ziplock-encased iPhone. Covered from head to toe in playa dust and wrapped up in my coat of armor on this cool morning, I’m sitting on the bumper of a dusty trailer near center camp, hoping the wifi will last long enough to upload this post.

The man this year is multicolored. His colors match the beautiful sunrise just behind him. He is frozen in mid-step, stepping from one pyramid tip to another, to signify Rites of Passage, the Burning Man 2011 theme.

Rites of Passage, joyous and sometimes painful life changing events. Life is struggle. Life is ever-changing. Life is joy. Life is pain. Life is love. Life is loss. Life is sorrow. Life is wondrous.

When trapped in the darkness of heartbreak, trying to come to grips with the reality that your beloved gave up on you, that somehow you didn’t mean quite enough for them to try, life seems rather bleak. The mornings are the hardest. Facing another day with that truth. Flooded with memories of their kindness, their kiss. Haunted by what could’ve been. Knowing it could’ve been so beautiful if they just hadn’t given up, especially a budding relationship, where so much was yet undiscovered, unrevealed.

The sounds around me gradually get louder as the city begins to wake up. A red neon Trojan Horse lights the northern end of this magical city that appears, and then disappears, once every year. It, like everything, ends, but the knowledge that it will be here again next year is comforting.

Uncertainty is not. Yet what is life if not uncertain? I look each day, seeking the nearly nonexistent Internet in the middle of this desert to see if there is any sign of integrity, any sign that it wasn’t all a lie, any sign that tells me I meant something. That I am not so easily cast aside.

And everyday there is nothing.

Forgive the lack of focus in this post, but focus is something that has been fleeting at best for quite some time now. With some luck, more tears, and a lot of work, I will heal out here in this harsh desert. The sun will burn away my lingering hope. The alkaline dust will absorb the last of my love. And the energy of 50,000 people living and loving freely will repair my fractured soul.

Please send me your healing thoughts, friends. I’m quite weary of crying & lamenting the loss of a man to whom I obviously meant so very little.

~ by omgrey on August 31, 2011.

19 Responses to “Rites of Passage”

  1. One of my dearest friends is there with you. Look for him with his camera, likely wearing comfortable clothing, no costume, though he may have one on.

    He is a poet, masseur, teacher, musician, drummer from the roots of his being, and one of most profoundly gentle and caring humans I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His name is Warren Jones. He’s African American. He has some tattoos. He has a thin beard. He will very likely be on a bicycle because he is almost never without one under him.

    If yoga is happening, he might be there. If Tai Chi is happening, he might be there. If life is happening, he will be there. I encourage you to seek him out simply because he has always managed to say the right thing when my heart has been ill at ease. If you’re looking for help on your healing walk, he may be the person you need to meet out there. If not him, I’m sure there are others. At least 49,998 of them.

    Be well. Be at peace. Enjoy the burn.

  2. The failure of someone else to appreciate you is not a failure on your part. You are not responsible for his fear or his mistakes.

    You have other people who love you, who value you, and who cherish their time with you. And more people yet who have the capacity to do so if you will let them.

    Mourning is a part of letting go. But you must let go. Life is precious and short. You can’t let someone else’s mistake keep you from living your life. You can’t let this person separate you from the others who love you.


    • Wise words, Doc. Thank you so much for your concern and care. I know I have to let go. And I am. A little more each day that passes.

      I know I’m not responsible for his fear or mistakes, but it is still me who hurts because of them. 😦 and it’s still me who is saddened because I see such beauty & greatness in him. Just love him so much.

      But, yes. Letting go.

      I’ll get through it. I’ve gotten through worse.

      Thank you again. X

      • One of the first signs of a mistake is that innocent people get hurt. If that was avoidable, then no one would have made a mistake, would they? While his error would have caused your initial hurt, it would be a mistake on your part to keep hurting yourself with it. So the question is are you working through the pain and the mourning, or are you re-injuring yourself in order to make the relationship appear to be something that it wasn’t?

        While he might have the potential for beauty and greatness, he has chosen to be less than that. He has been needlessly cruel and you have suffered for his cruelty. Putting him on a pedestal won’t change who he is now. Do you love him, or do you love the fantasy of who he could become?

        Perhaps someday he may achieve that beauty and greatness. But you can’t hurry that day. Greatness comes in its own time. And even if it does happen, that doesn’t mean that you will be a part of it. Or he may never rise to his potential. Those choices are his.

        For right now, he has demonstrated that he is not worth your tears. He broke up with you right before your two-month trip to visit him, giving you the choice of staying home and losing everything you’d put into the trip, or going ahead and traveling to a foreign land with no friends, no support, and no security. How can you mourn a person who would treat you so cruelly?

        The heart goes where the heart wills. It listens to no reason or rhyme. Yet sometimes the heart lies to itself. I hate seeing people hurt themselves over and over again to preserve the fiction of a relationship. Yes, remember the good times and the positive things, but don’t pretend that there could have been more when the relationship has already run its course.

        I am removed from your situation, so I don’t know all the details. I can only comment on what I can see from here. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I am wrong.

        Heal. Live. Love.


      • You ask some good questions.

        As for the beauty & greatness, I’ve seen it in him. The situation is quite complicated. Aren’t they always?

        But, yes, I suppose I love his essence. His fear & situation has caused him to make some unfortunate choices, but then my pain & anger has caused me to make some unfortunate choices, too.

        I guess nothing can be done now. I keep thinking that if I could somehow be more, he would want me again. Silly, I know. Logically I know that’s not true; it’s just the loss talking.

        I miss him.

        Thank you for your concern and advice. I’m working through it. It’s just slower fir me on this side of the relationship.

  3. Embrace the Playa and lose yourself in the loving, wonderful, and beautiful burners out there. It is definitely a place of healing and mental rebirth. It provides for just about every outlet you could need. If you need relaxation I’d suggest the Hookah Dome, for an anger outlet the Thunder Dome, and for the more sensual needs there is “And Then There’s Only Love”.

    Hope you have a great burn!

    • It’s getting considerably better. Quite healing. Perhaps I’ll check out that last one. 🙂 are you out here?

      • 😦 not physically, went the past two years and loved it. This year we took a break to check out some of our regional burns (Flipside, near Austin and this October we’ll be going to Myscheivia, in east Texas).

      • Are you in Austin? Me, too! I’ve been to Flipside. 🙂

      • 😛 I wish I lived in Austin, that town is amazing! I’m up in the Fort Worth area. We actually met briefly at Aetherfest 🙂 and my wife has been avidly reading your book about what to do/not do in getting your books published. Since today is the great exodus out there I hope you have a safe trip home and a speedy exit line ;P Those exodus lines can be both a blast and extremely tiring lol.

      • I’m already home! We missed the grand exodus and left yesterday. I’m happy to hear your wife is reading the book. I hope she’s finding it helpful.

      • Wow I’m impressed you made it home quick! I guess we always take a bit of a scenic route (seems to always take us about two days of driving), but then again I don’t think we ever manage to hit the road in the morning and always end up making quick detours to check out the sights on the way. 🙂 She’s been loving your book and I’ve been very happy to hear that e-books are doing so well (I’m a bit of a technophile). So is there any chance we may run into you out at Myschievia this October? 🙂 If not we’ll definitely try to say hi at the next con we see you, Burner Steampunks FTW 😀

      • I flew home. 😀 I’ve never been to Myschievia! I’d love to learn more about it. Shoot me an email and perhaps we’ll make it out there.

  4. You describe familiar territory. You can use this pain for awakening… like a Judo fighter uses his opponents weight to throw him off balance. You can get what you want by moving with the momentum, rather than resisting it.

    You’re trapped in the egoic mind’s dysfunction of past and present, always drawn to what was or what could have been, rather than what is. Accepting what is is the only way to ease the inner conflict that’s tearing you up.

    What lessons can you learn, if you look at the relationship from a perspective above emotion and ego?

    I’m reminded of the saying about the bird. “If you love it, let it go. If it returns to you, cherish it. If not, it was never truly yours.”

    Nostalgia aside, wouldn’t you want to be with someone you knew you could abandon yourself to, lay yourself bare, knowing they’d do the same in return, and that they’d always come back to you?

    You didn’t have that, at least not without deception, so rather than mourn the Ghost of Christmas Past, celebrate the possibilities and opportunities to meet the right guy for you.

    Let go of the chains of the past and see that you’re free to pilot a bright future by steering it from the moment.

    Would happy to help you wherever I can. I think you’ll look back and see this was a time of great change, for the better, and not a great cataclysm in your life. 😉

    • Thank you for your beautiful comment, Les. You are right, and I know I will be learning something profound from this summer of loss, once I can see through the pain. Thank you, again. x

  5. I like what Les has to say. Very eloquently expressed, and something I needed repeated to me during those darker moments in my past.

    Olivia, your blog has been a source of help for me. Thank you

    • Thank you so much for saying so, Aaron. I’m so pleased you find it helpful. Thank you, too, for the very kind mention on your blog! Your words truly touch me. x

  6. […] After a week of healing at Burning Man with my husband, I returned to my loving self and felt guilty about that email. So, against the advice of my husband and several friends, all who said I had nothing to apologize for and the guy deserved far worse after the way he had treated me (and his family), I apologized for the abuse. The email was loving and healing, and it reiterated what I had said in that voice message a month before, I wasn’t going anywhere. […]

Please Share Your Thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: