I Became Something Else So I Could Be Heard
Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Creatives get a bad rap.
I've identified with the right side of my brain since the time I picked up a French horn when I was about 11 years old. It was love at the first buzz of the lips.
My mom would claim my artistic claim to fame from my first Easter speech at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Sunny South Dallas. I was 6-years-old when I so eloquently recited not just John 3:16, but also verse 17. "For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world thru Him might be saved."
See - I still got it.
That, ladies and gentlemen, was apparently life shifting. Almost 30 years later and my mom still gets a solid giggle from that memory.
Surely she knew long before I did that I'd be clumped with the people that would never quite fit in -- that would either be among the mega famous or land amongst the band of right brainers who wander the world aimlessly searching for meaning thru art and aesthetics, emotion and expression, verses 16 and 17.
In an effort to curb my inevitable fate, my dad, during the first semester of college, not only encouraged me, but flat out TOLD me to get some additional, more stable, education.
"You can do musical theater," he said. "But do something else, too."
It was a wise move. Though only just a little over a decade ago, accepting 'creatives' as active, contributing members of society was not a norm outside of a stage or a movie screen or a classroom. My options, if only a degreed performer, were Broadway, teach or die. That's a little dramatic, but I can't help myself. Obviously.
I made it my duty to, against my intuition, meld into the normalcy of expectations while still being often called upon to do a jig [yes a jig, not a gig] every once in a while.
I can sing.
I can dance.
I can act.
I can design.
I can shoot a solid picture.
I make stuff look pretty and make people feel happy.
I'm a straight up, natural born entertainer.
You see, for a long time, people have assumed that creatives were put on the planet for their enjoyment and entertainment, not for their ability to look outside the square to find abstract solutions to complicated problems.
Nor for their ability to craft a meaningful, connected narrative off the top of their head at 3am.
Nor for their ability to transport the soul outside the complications of life's difficulties thru song and movement.
Nor for their ability to communicate the heart of a person thru fabric and garment.
Nor for their ability to problem solve and translate human emotion thru a painting or digital design.
Nor for their ability to see, acknowledge and build the layers necessary create a complicated masterpiece on canvas or thru conversation.
No. We tap dance for you - because what is abstract is uncomfortable, what is layered is complicated, what is foreign, awkward to the point of abandonment. The very place we thrive is the same place most folks dare not enter. And for that reason, we are often not even invited to the table.
The master creator himself gave us two sides of the brain for great reason, and He gave the world creatives to see beyond what is right in front of us.
During these very complicated times in our nation's history, invite a 'creative' to the table. They were made for more than the stage. They were created to find and communicate beauty in the chaos.
And couldn't we all use a little more of that right now?