Burning Man

Black Rock City, Nv

(Installation Collaboration)


Day eight: BEARING IT ALL


Can you see it?

It’s a little hard to see if you don’t try.

I’m talking about about this fine gentleman’s pin tucked into the folds of his decadent faux-fur coat. Yes, that pin. It says something on it, and it says a lot more than just what is written on it…

Burning Man has no shortness of costume, everyone chooses to dress (or not dress) just as they like. You can say whatever you want to say about who you are using all of the faux fur, glow sticks, war paint, spandex and/or glorious nudity you so desire - a buffet of expressive freedom with unlimited plates.

But wait. Unlimited opportunity changes things a bit. I can dress however I want? Well now I have to think about it. Now I have to open all the way up and hit the clothing racks with intention, but what do I want to say? Do I go with classic dance party vibes, over the top show-stopping bigness, birthday suit with a nice tie or intrepid desert explorer? Decisions, decisions…

I would guess that the majority of the 75,000+ people who journey to Burning Man have had this very conversation with themselves, perhaps multiple times. When presented with ourselves as the black canvas, what colors, coverings and contraptions do we choose?

Rules and guidelines are what we seem to clash with us most upfront but we humans are also so excellent at subverting them. School uniforms, job interview attire, wedding garments, even what we are buried in all hand us a set of expectations with the beautiful opportunity to tweak and customize, to say something about who we are what we are about.

So, when walking around the Nevada desert surrounded by an endless sea of fabulous-ness, oddly enough the challenge remains the same: what will you attempt to say about yourself and how will you uniquely do so?

In this case, the fine gentleman wearing the black faux fur and lights and pin had chosen to say something beyond what his clothing (and even pin) could. At first glance anyone could see this guy a 1,000 different ways according to his clothing, but it was his infectious smile, laughter and care that said who he actually way no perfect outfit ever could. Even after leaving the temple that night his energy lingered, the reverb of a joyful life still bouncing off the walls.

Now this guy probably isn’t pure magic and rainbows to everyone he encounters all of the time, but that isn’t the point. Instead, the point might be that how we present ourselves in EVERY interaction is more noticed than we think and matters more than we know. Not in an overwhelming, oh-my-gosh-how-can-anyone-be-perfect-all-of-the-time kind of way, but in the way that enlightens and ennobles and empowers for the day ahead.

So when the alarm goes off tomorrow morning and you begin getting dressed for the day, what exactly will you choose to put on?