* See part one here.
There I was, writhing in my tent, alone and afraid… not because I’d never been in this position before, but because I’ve never been in it alone. I knew what to expect, and yet that didn’t make it any easier. I realized that my loneliness was culminating in this one moment of LSD heights.
I have always considered myself to be an independent human. I have always been the type to veer away from the group and pursue the moments that felt right to me at the time. This personality glitch has earned me the nickname ‘space cadet’ many times over my years. Even still, I had always had a group to veer away from. This past year has been the first that I have truly been alone. I do have people in my life, but not anyone who is committed to hanging out with me and I with them. Even in my moments of straying away from the group, I would always find my way back, or they would eventually catch up. That magnetism appears to be gone from my life. No longer am I anyone’s boomerang, and what this meant to me this past weekend was that I was hitting the highest psychedelic high with no one in sight to catch me.
And so, there I was, writing in my tent, profusely sweating, stripping off my clothes that felt so wrong to me at the time. I didn’t belong – not at this festival and not in my clothes. I wanted to be free of all of the things that we holding me back, and stripping off my clothes only revealed more things that I wanted to be free of – namely my gigantic breasts. But seeing them bouncing around as I rolled back and forth in my tent, I was happier than when they were covered by the unnatural materials I was wearing before. I kept thinking back to the talks on sustainable fashion I had listened to earlier that day and was having my ignorant, unconscious choices being reflected back at me over a background of colourful mental vomit. I didn’t belong here in my currently crafted incarnation. I kept opening my tent door, wanting to go outside – then remembering that I was 33 and naked and I could bump into someone I knew. I was not in a foreign land – I was in my newly appropriated land with spies everywhere. So I’d go back inside and roll around some more.
Every time I closed my eyes, a kalaidescope of pink and green patterns twisted around my third eye, with mushrooms dancing around the 5 dimensional internal landscape of my mind. Strawberry crunch sneeze – these three worlds kept appearing inside my head like syncopated sounds bashing against my brain. They didn’t hurt – they only added to my confusion. But I let it all continue. I had no choice. I had to keep convincing myself that this was not the first time that anyone was as debilitatingly high as I was. I went from overheating to shivering and thoughts of death kept creeping into my mind. Each of these ideas kept cycling around, and I was having to continuously remind myself that I wanted to be here and I wanted to be high. I would remember that this whole festival was a theme park for psychedelia, thinking back to the incredible sound and light performances I had witnessed earlier, and all of the beautiful fairy creatures that created and populated this place were here to share with me in this thought-space.
It was amidst this cycle of thought that I realized how it wasn’t the drugs that were debilitating me – it was my loneliness. If I had someone great with me, someone who I loved and appreciated, I would be filled with love and appreciation, not feelings of confusion and loneliness. I had played this role for so many people in the past and I needed someone to enact it for me. There was no way for me to rescue myself when my thoughts kept cycling back to dying alone in my tent. I wanted to get out and find someone immediately, but I knew from my time out there, it wasn’t going to be as easy as I might hope. People are amazing and diverse and I appreciate and love them all – in theory – but I am a particular human who has difficulty conveying these feelings to the majority of people. Suffice it to say that many think that I’m intense… perhaps too much so. So I stayed and waiting, hoping that the unknown person I needed would arrive soon to get me out of strawberry crunch sneeze death.
Almost immediately, my camp neighbors came back and I pulled up my skirt/dress over my bare breasts and got out of the tent. I thanked them so much for coming back – this despite barely having connected with any of them before this moment – and I admitted that I was incredibly high and needed help. They did the best thing possible – sat there and listened to me. Then they continued talking and I fell into the pace of the group. No undue attention was placed on me, but I also wasn’t forgotten. The three men in the group have such an incredible flow between them, as though they were placed upon this earth to be together. They became the embodiment of what healthy human relationships can be, clearly evocative of their collective tending to the earth on their permaculture farm, and the woman in the group at the time was welcomed so naturally by them that it seemed like they had all known each other forever. I wanted to give myself over to their holistic nature wholly and they welcomed me as well.
We eventually mustered our fivesome to go out and see a band that the guys in the group were most excited about seeing: Papadosio. I had never heard of them before but I was all too happy to get back out there and enjoy my high. Following the fairy lights back to the village, we arrived at the stage and were received with a wall of sound and lights unlike any other I had ever experienced. As we bopped and swayed to the music, we were immersed in open-eyed shapes and patterns that only a psychedelic trip could match. Evenly matching the assortment of colourful, vibrating visual spray was a textured harmony of a 5-piece livetronica band that filled every space in their vicinity with the fullness of our aural scope capacities.
I could not believe what I was witnessing and it was only after a few songs that I realized that I was out in a strapless dress with no bra. For most humans, that wouldn’t be a big deal. For me, it was the biggest. I have never been out without a bra before and I felt slightly awkward but surprisingly liberated. I realized that this was potentially the greatest live performance that I had ever witnessed (out of many hundreds over the years) and there was no room in my mind to care about what anyone would think of me. I knew that the group I was with didn’t care, and the young woman who was with us had the most incredibly peaceful essence. I latched onto her positivity and didn’t let go. All that anyone cared about was how we made each other feel, so I danced with all of the prayerful love that was flowing abundantly throughout me, cycling in and out of me, and my dance moves reflected that channel – hands cycling inward and outward. The only rhythm that mattered was the rhythm of love.
We all danced and loved every moment. We would catch glimpses of each other and our eyes would be filled with gratitude. Even when the smell of the over-filled latrines wafted into our space, we each seemed to accept the fullness of our humanity and how incredible being human felt in those moments. No amount of our humanity was penalty within that creative conduit, where each of us became a part of the whole and we were all involved in ensuring that the magic continued. I took off my jandles (flip flops) and danced with bare feet in the dirt, wanting to feel our Earth Mother pulsing and vibrating along with us. I wanted her to know that I was ready to bare myself in my naked essence, no longer clothing myself in unnatural ways that restricted my connection with her or with anyone else.
Each of our body movements played along with a different part of the projections on stage and love was being crafted in abundance. When the show finished and we left, we were all elated by what we had been privy to. There was no better place or company for any of us to have been in those moments and I think that we all knew it. As for myself, I could never measure or fully express the level of gratitude that I felt for having been found in my time of need by that group and brought to the most spectacular expression of life that the world had to offer that night.
Even more than that, I was taught in those moments – by the band, by the lighting technicians, by my new friends, and by psychedelia – that I need to represent myself earnestly, with as little separation between me and the rest of the world. I need to bare myself, be open to connection, and not hide behind my independence, my comfortable clothing, and definitely not my ego. No matter what I tell myself, my ego is there and I must always be aware of it, not letting it get in the way of saying “hello” or “how are you” because I never know when I will desperately need the recipients of those words. As I learnt throughout the weekend (and a lesson that has been cycling around in my mind for months), it is best that we craft ourselves beautifully so that we may represent our self/thoughts/creations in the best light.
I am grateful for having this experience despite my ego blockage and not knowing what the outcome was going to be because I needed to learn these lessons desperately and I hope that I can do them and myself justice in the future.
To all who have experienced a coldness from me – I am truly sorry. It was never my intention to be cruelly cold to anyone. I was of an illusory opinion that I needed to be distant to be independent, not realizing that interdependence gives us the strength to be truly confident in our independent choices. Having people to share with is when we embark and return from our journeys is the biggest reward of the journey itself.