Greetings, earthlings! Tis your friendly neighborhood voluptuousrobot here. Our time together on the cosmic rollercoaster called Burning Man is fast approaching and I am honored to share my seventh go-round on the Playa with the dusty denizens of the BESTEST camp, Cyberia.
This missive comes to only a select group — the Sophomore Cyberians. As second-year attendees, you have the working knowledge of the Burn’s macro and micro operations with a grasp on your own experience, from the illuminated majesty of the Man Burn to the quiet minutes in the darkest recesses of the Nevada night. You know that the Burn hands you everything in full, whether it is a friendly smile in passing from a beautiful stranger or an emotional insight so profound you uncontrollably weep for the immense sorrow of the shared human condition. You know where Deep Playa is. You know where the Porta Potties are.
This is a fascinating but precarious moment for a Burner. Coming back for a second year after your epic first year holds much promise for everything good and holy and amazing and kickass and incandescent; however, it can also reveal the flaws in the experiment, which is what Burning Man (perhaps) is – – an experiment, and all experiments, at some level, are flawed. Whether consciously or unconsciously, you have created and will most likely project a set of unrealistic expectations onto your 2017 Burn, none of which will be met. Then you will be sad and frustrated and angry and ingest all sorts of things to make these feelings go away but they won’t.
This phenomenon is called The Second Year Blues (SYB). The SYB are really a thing. They do not have to be YOUR thing.
This year, you may feel irritated by things that are hard to define but have shattertng emotional consequences — the vibe is different, the virgins are stupid, the dust is even more everywhere. You may find yourself at a crossroads of a crisis of confidence — this is not what you thought it was and why are you here and you literally bought the ticket and now you are taking the ride and you want to get off. You may look in places both real and imaginary for what you think you are looking for and not find, or, worse yet, find it and it is not AT ALL what you wanted to find. You know what I mean.
That’s the SYB.
Interestingly, I avoided the SYB through a series of events I could not even begin to predict after my first year. In 2006, I camped with Entheon, a Chicago-based Burner camp/community which sadly no longer exists. My next Burn was not until 2010, and by then I was way past the tingle and sparkle of the first year. So my advise to you here is not from a personal perspective; rather, it is from a seasoned and sympathetic one.
If you find yourself struggling with the SYB, acknowledge them as real and even necessary. You get the Burn you need, not the Burn you want. There are, of course, some simple resources to combat the SYB, all of which are available to you. Common issues propelling these feelings are far more simple and widespread that at first glance. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Are you tired (read: cranky)? Do you feel you need to be a certain way so you are acting a certain way? Are you hanging with wrong group of people at that time? Do you need to be alone? Do you need to be less alone? Do you need medical help? Do you just need a cookie?
As Cyberians, we love and care for each other. As Sophmore Cyberians, you are a visible model for other Cyberians, both new and seasoned. Many of you are at high levels of participation in camp this year, and that sets a marvelous example. As an example, however, you are empowered and encouraged to radically and ritually take care of yourself so you can radically and ritually take care of others, especially in the face of the SYB.
I have put together a list of resources for you to keep at the ready should you need more love and care as a result of the SYB. Don’t be afraid to ask for help should you need it.
voluptuously and robotically