On Sunday, October 3rd, I was celebrating the 2nd anniversary of the best choice I ever made. My life seemed full of light and love, and something I didn't think I'd have two years ago...a future. A few hours later, Burning Dan left this world for the next. I never met him, but he gave me so much. I don't spin poi, or go to Burning Man, I don't even spend as much time with my art as I should. But I carry the lesson he taught me with me everyday: courage. When I found hitRECord, I was struggling to figure out who I was and how to be person again. This huge choice I had made only one month prior left me with no friends and no direction. I constantly questioned whether the old life wasn't better, because this one sucked... a lot. Then I found hitRECord. A world built by 1s and 0s by a man sitting at his computer. That world changed my life. I became passionate again, I became comfortable with people again. Little by little, I foud myself. I found myself through the art on hitRECord, but mostly through the people. One thread in particular changed the way I live my life. Dan started a "My moment of Courage" thread. I thought about this for weeks. Since I was scared of everything at that point, I couldn't see how could have any courage. Then others started to post their moments, Dan included. I realized that it was all in my head, and if I had enough courage to put the bottle down, I could do anything. Some point later, my moment came. At a small show, a popular local musician handed me her guitar and said, "Go on up. I keep hearing you're pretty good." I had never performed without my liquid courage; hell, I handn't done anything in years without it. But I realized that this was MY moment of courage, and if all those other people could face their fears, so could I. I only got through one song before my nerves took over, and it wan't the best I'd ever done, but I had done it. And I had done without my crutch. I did it simply because I believed I could. I had a friend take a picture and posted it on hitRECord as soon as I could, so that it would become permenant and I couldn't forget it.
I don't create my art as much as I should, but I try to live the lesson that Dan taught me everyday. Like having the courage to help clients others think are "too hard". Like not being scared to teach a deaf child about his emotions when he doesn't know the signs for them, by using our faces and bodies, even though I'm sure we look ridiculous. I say all the time, "It's not naivete, it's courage."
This is lesson he taught me from a world he built from his computer. It's not a lesson that dies when he does, but lives because he did. I repay him by living life and helping others do the same. I will miss a man I never met, but who helped the past two years be the best I've had, and makes me hopeful for my future...because now I have one.
RIP Burning Dan,