Liza’s story: Wandering Woman's Web
Night time and the LSD effects were intensifying.
Cold and suddenly starving, I decided to make the mysterious journey back to my tent to sort the base urges. In an instantaneous and asinine move, I headed off alone to a destination I wasn't even sure existed.
I wandered from the dancefloor, past the food stalls and beyond the portaloos, feeling the glow of the party's heartbeat fade into the distance behind me. Ahead of me absolute darkness and endless possibilities.
In classic night #3 style I found myself asking the inevitable "Where the fuck's my tent?"
My brain was blasting a dozen frequencies at once. I contended determinedly with rocks, sudden drops and guy ropes until I stopped abruptly before a beautiful sight. There on the ground, smiling serenely with all the colours of the rainbow, lay a huge luminescent spiral that somebody had meticulously crafted out of end-to-end glowsticks. I was mesmerised.
I felt him before I saw him. A sickening shudder came over me as I felt the slinky and shadowy creature emerge from the nothingness. His eyes were hidden behind sunglasses and his pale, lanky body appeared alarmingly alien-like.
His voice was breathy...deep...demonic. "Do you like it?"
I froze, a thousand fragments of panic whirled through my senses. I had to get the fuck out of there. But where to? Where am I?
He moved in closer.
"You made this?" I asked, hesitantly.
"Yeah" he replied. "Let me show you something else."
He slinked in closer, almost touching me. Alarm bells were crashing off the walls and convulsing on the floor.
"No thanks" I replied, trying to appear calm. "I've gotta go".
I managed a tentative step before he had me by the arm. "You don't wanna stay?" he offered, words sounding metallic.
Freeze cranked effortlessly to flight, I snatched my arm back and got the hell out of there.
To my relief he didn't follow, but in the distance behind me, with the final efforts of a dying battery I heard him say "We have something special, you and I". Gross.
The adrenaline had sobered me up pretty instantly, giving me all the acuity that I needed to find my campsite. I got in my tent, relieved as hell and triumphantly zipped myself in.
What finally felt safe soon shifted back to fear. "What if he followed me? What if he's waiting outside the tent? What if he tries to get in?
I snapped myself out of it with forced-feminist defiance. "No" I said, straightening my spine. "I'm not going to let him make me feel scared". But the acid had me reeling again with complexity and paranoia and I couldn't pretend to feel safe for long.
I comforted myself with some warm layers and, feeling a scintilla of safety in my favourite hoodie, decided to get some food in to me. Boiled egg, bad choice. After an immeasurable moment I clawed my way out of the yolky depths of morality and thought it best to abolish the food idea. Now to get back to the festival.
Armouring myself with the cliché hippy mantra "Trust the universe", I got myself out of that tent and aimed hard and fast for the open arms of the dancefloor.
Charging ahead, no planned path to speak of, I found myself back at the spot where I had encountered the creep. Shit.
To my astonishment, the glowing, spiral woman-catching web had disappeared. I hoped like hell that this was a sign of defeat and that this creep had not triumphed in trapping any unsuspecting bush faeries.
For me, this was a reminder that just because it's a doof and the 'love and universal oneness' vibe is peaking, doesn't mean that everybody has pure intentions. There are still opportunistic dickheads out there.
Next time I will definitely be taking a friend with me when stumbling off into the darkness...or at the very least TELLING SOMEONE where I’m going. I did neither on this occasion.
Of course, the best thing is to avoid the whole issue altogether. It doesn't always feel like a priority, but you can work pre-emptive wonders by getting into the habit of using dusk as an opportunity to routinely check in with your self-care basics. It is a great time to get some nourishment into you, re-load your water supplies and chuck on some warmer layers if necessary (this saves you having to trek back to camp in the dark later when you're wasted.) It's also a good time to check in with your fellow crew members and chat about your rough plans for the night so people can have a general idea of where you'll be hanging out.
A little bit of planning goes a long way to ensure that you will have the safest and most enjoyable party experience possible. ❤