I travel with Mandorla Man and another man. It takes two days to get there. It is awkward, yet comfortable in some ways. Other man says my aura is open, am I still in love with MM? I say maybe but I am always open and have boundary issues. He asks if my life path number is an 8 or a 4. I am 33/6. It is VERY hot as we drive in MM’s van.
The site is dry, dusty and packed. The river keeps rising so there are less trees for shelter and most good camp sites are already taken. Still, I set up my tent in a position to get some afternoon shade. I think I have done well. Around the site there are prickly plants everywhere. Thirty minutes after arriving I see my first scorpion.
As the days go by I have many talks with MM. We decide it’s OK to feel love for each other but not want to be together. We also find that we annoy each other and have a few fights. We sleep in separate camps, don’t kiss, cuddle or have sex. In fact, we don’t spend much time together apart from a few meals and talks.
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I do workshops on boundaries, yoga, sound therapy, massage and relationships. I cook meals, I talk with people, I swim naked, go braless and sometimes topless. It is hot and I wear long sleeves much of the time to not get sunburnt. People are in and out of the water all day to keep cool. I drink so much water but don’t wee much. I try to drink more water.
At sunset the mozzies come out. They are worst at dusk. Because of the floods there are many of them. On some nights they are in swarms and very unpleasant. I swelter in tracksuit pants and long sleeves at night to keep the mozzies away. Still, I walk, dance, sing, watch fire twirling, talk with people and enjoy myself.
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On New Years Eve with temperatures around 38 °C I accidentally pour boiling water over my knee. The river is closer than the first aid tent. I drop everything, run into the river and stay in the cool water for 30 minutes. I get out, let myself dry. A man starts talking, recognising me from an earlier conversation. He asks my age then looks me up and down and tells me I look pretty good for 32. I am still naked. I do not return the compliment because he does not look good for his age or in fact any age. And I am offended by his comment. As I dress I explain that I’ve scalded myself and heading to First Aid. He walks with me, sharing that he is ready to settle down and have kids and wants to get my email address. I have to stop walking several times because my knee is burning. He has ice which I melt onto my leg.
I spend the next hour in the First Aid tent with a cool compress, antiseptic cream and then some ice to take on my way. I make friends with the volunteers. The skin is intact, I will be sore for the next couple of days like a bad sunburn. Many days later the skin will peel off.
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On New Years Eve night the mozzies are ferocious. MM and I talk about things. We have to keep walking around in order to avoid mosquitos. By 10pm he has had enough talking and walking and goes to bed. I head into the village to celebrate. It is dusty and there are still mozzies. I dance until I am sneezing from the dust and take a breather, wandering for more excitement. I come back to the town square for more dancing but the dust is too much for me and I head to bed instead. While I’m cleaning my teeth I hear whooping from different locations and know it is midnight. It is 2011.
I do yoga and Chakradance the next morning. We focus on the solar plexus, the power centre. I dance and move in my power and feel strong. Afterwards I talk with a man; it’s his first time at ConFest too. We end up sharing a New Year kiss (I’m wanting to test it out). I’m not enjoying it. No more. He says I’m sensational. I wonder how he can still want to kiss someone who says she’s not enjoying it. I remember why I only kiss people I’m very attracted to.
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Later on email-seeking man finds me cooking and asks for my email address. I am direct and say I don’t want to give it to him as I don’t know him yet. He says he thought we could get to know each other through email. I am now sick of men staring at me or flirting or hitting on me. I am dealing with ex-boyfriend issues, body and image and self-esteem issues. I feel ugly and yuck in daggy clothes, no mirrors, unwashed hair etc. Also, I keep attracting women who have problems with men and sleaziness and am talking with them. I become more self-conscious and cover up my body more, trying not to attract any men.
At the same time I make friends. I become more social and talk more. I give more hugs. People say kinds things to me. Women and men compliment my hugs, my belly, my body. But mostly people enjoy my smile. I receive dozens of compliments about my smile and a handful about my eyes. I radiate.