The BRAVE Interview #14 September 2017: Sylvia Wesley

Here is this month’s BRAVE Interview with Sylvia Wesley! Enjoy!

  1. WHO are you? I’m a 61-year-old white woman—wife, mother, nurse, and pseudo-bon vivant!
  2. WHAT is your One Brave Thing? Sometimes I feel like just living every day is a Brave Thing and it is difficult to choose a single event!  As a nurse, it seems like so many of my ‘brave things’ encompass caring for people—my dad and my brother, who both died of cancer; my mom with multiple surgeries; friends with HIV/AIDS.  As a mom I gave birth to twins who were 10 weeks premature and their first 6 months of life was pretty hectic, to put it mildly.  As a wife, still being married after 38 years could be considered brave—but probably the bravest aspect there is that I married a black man in 1979, only 12 years after the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage was not illegal, and our early years involved some struggles in a very white New England. So, after all that, I decided to choose a joyous adventure as my One Brave Thing—I went to Burning Man!
  3. WHEN did you do it? 8/28-9/1, 2006
  4. WHERE did it occur? Black Rock Desert, NV
  5. HOW did you make it happen? Mostly my daughter made the initial experience happen.  She had been going to Burning Man for a few years and always marveled at how awesome it was and she was sure I would love it.  So for my 50th birthday, I was given a ticket to TTITD (aka ‘that thing in the desert’).  Which meant I would be sharing camping space with 38,000+ other adventuring nomads for a week in rather hostile environmental conditions, and only knowing one other person.  A little scary having to be self-reliant in an unknown situation, camping with my daughter’s friends who only had her assurances that I was ‘fun, non-judgmental, fully capable of taking care of myself, and would not act like everybody’s mother.’  So I packed my bags and flew to LA.  We readied all our camping equipment, some party outfits, food and water for a week, and did a 12 hour ride/drive-share to the event with a heretofore unknown person.  After 12+ hours, in a very small mini-van, we were all fast friends.  Getting to and from is just as much of an adventure as being there!
  6. WHY did you do it? For the adventure!  It was one of the best experiences of my life—the bigger-than-life art, the music, the people, the sense of oneness—all magnificent.  I came away with a whole new sense of self.  And as my daughter predicted, I would want to go every year after that, and did so for the next 7 years.  ‘Life’ has since interrupted my annual trek, and I have not been for the past 3 years, but look forward to resuming visits to my personal Mecca in the near future.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sylvia!

If anybody wants to learn more about the culture that is Burning Man, go to https://burningman.org/

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

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