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Archive for September 14th, 2011

Back from the burn, part 2

14 Sep

{ personal: }

Daily outfit and style tips, self-portrait in mirror, burning man 2011

Self reflection.

In November it will have been one full year, barring holidays and sick days. I will have been blogging regularly for the first time, seven days in a row at first, now down to three times weekly.

Monday’s pictorial effort barely scratched the surface of what Burning Man is, or does, to one’s soul. It’s full of noise and music and parties and people, it’s hot and dusty and never truly gets quiet. There’s no escape. Worse yet, there’s no schedule. Routine is abandoned and one is left with an unbelievable amount of distractions on one hand and absolutely nothing to do but kill time on the other. The result is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced outside of it.

Last week, I told my husband it was too soon to tell whether I had a good time or what I got out of it. Honestly, I was exhausted. I’d been fighting a persistent virus for six weeks and the resulting sleep awkwardness and depravation from breaking down camp and the subsequent caravan of thirteen camp-mates got the best of me. I had the minimum vim and vigor necessary to perform at work and complete sentences eloquently. Everything else succumbed to exhaustion.

I’m well-rested and have regained my health once more. Simple tasks no longer feel daunting. I pressed my face into the sage in the garden tonight before watering it and breathed in the satisfaction that comes from growing something yourself. Nurturing life. I watered the plants and continued the stream of consciousness that has been playing out it in my mind since this weekend. What is becoming of me? What is becoming of my blog? What do I want? And really, what do I need?

Seven days among friends fussing about with nothing to do but explore and experience gave me the platform to sit with my thoughts. My heightened awareness of everything I experienced is not singular to me, Burning Man provides a unique setting for contemplation. It has destroyed romantic relationships, it has strengthened them. It is what you intend it to be. I had been growing increasingly fidgety with myself and needed to pay attention. What am I feeling when I’m not distracted by the hundreds of emails and tweets and updates I see every day? What does my body feel like when I’m not up against yet another deadline before noon?

My re-entry here at The House in the Clouds has been purposefully gentle. By last week I had grown anxious, overwhelmed and increasingly guilty. Yes, guilty that I haven’t been keeping up on every blog I love to read, guilty that I’m neglecting online friendships, concerned that my presence as a human that desires to do good is being compromised. I decided to sit with these emotions and give them a voice today.

As I get nearer to this blog’s one year anniversary, I’m contemplating what’s next. What’s been working? Writing regularly, my favorite being the more in-depth pieces, reading other blogs that inspire me and draw out a better version of myself for the world to see, publicly committing to giving my creative energy time and space, making friends. What’s not working? Feeling that I might let someone down by not posting regularly, neglecting my personal relationship at times, neglecting my solid running schedule, feeling like I’m behind on everything and not knowing how to catch up.

My husband said to me the other day, “your blog will still be successful even if you only blog once a week as long as your content is good.” I know that, of course. Yet there’s a part of me that feels some obligation to be here, every day, with the unbridled energy of a twenty-two year old. I’m going to be forty-four soon. I’m athletic. I’m married, I have a demanding job and really can no longer get by on five or six hours of sleep. Who is it I’m competing against?¬†Myself, of course.

And why do I feel like I have to compete? It’s primal, really. I’ve always claimed to be an underachieving overachiever. Perhaps I’m not underachieving. Perhaps very few of us can actually do, or appear to do, it all. I know better. I’ve said it before. There’s enough space for each of us to shine. So, how is it that I want to shine? Will I give myself permission to shine or will I worry myself into failure. This is what comes next. I’m inviting you on my journey as I test things out here and there until the fit is just right, until it no longer is and I re-evaluate everything again. Because that’s what life is about, isn’t it? Growing, learning, moving on. Repeat.

I will continue to do what I love doing, the outfits, the style tips, the vignettes of my day. But what else? How will it differ from how things are now? How will my schedule evolve? What more will I bring to the table. This, my friends, is uncharted. You’re welcome to join me as I shake the dust off and move forward.

xo, f

 
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