If I had met them walking down the street, I might have been inclined to judge them by their look. To think the two young men walking towards me were out to find trouble, or at least, aimlessly wandering without direction.
In every human, judgements reside.
Not knowing their artistry, not knowing their story, I might have wondered about how we could be of the same world and inhabit the same space when we are such world’s apart in how we appear to the world. I might have passed them with a fleeting thought about what caused them to look so fierce. To dress so grunge. To think being hipsterish was cool.
On their part, I might think that if we passed each other walking down the street, they would not even notice me. I would imagine they were so caught up in the stage of their lives, they would not notice an older woman walking down the street, or even wonder if we had anything in common.
And then I watched the video of two young ‘hipster’ men dancing.
What struck me most, what superseded any judgements I might, or might not have had about their ‘look’, was the passion of their dance and the incredible discipline, training and commitment to their art it must have taken for them to be able to dance together like that. What talent and creativity. I was in awe.
When I posted the video on my FB page, a friend commented on the power of their dance. When I replied with my commentary of how judgements of ‘the look’ could have interfered with my seeing the beauty of their art, she replied, “Great artistry abides in every human costume.”
Within each of us great artistry abides. No matter how we look, what we wear, how deep our pockets, how tight our pants or how long our pasts. Great artistry abides within each of us.
It is what struck me every day when I worked at a homeless shelter and started an art program. The individuals who came to the studio didn’t have deep pockets, they didn’t have a wealth of clothing options or choices on how to share their creative gifts, or how to express themselves through every medium. We only had so many supplies in the studio, so many canvases, so much paint for people to explore and use.
It didn’t matter.
Because when they walked into the studio, they came with the fierce desire to create. They came with their deep passion for expressing themselves through their art.
While homelessness may have ripped away all of their possessions, undermined their self-confidence and sense of place, they all shared a fierce commitment to holding onto ‘the thing’ that no one and nothing could take from them. Their creative essence.
Life can be tough. It can tear us down. Pummel our dreams and shake up our sense of purpose. It can hold us in arms of sadness, grip us in the death maws of addiction, weigh us down with the heaviness of sorrow, loss, regret, and trauma.
But it cannot take away the greatness of our individual artistry.
That abides within us.
No matter how deeply it gets buried beneath the clothes we wear, the heaviness of our backpacks, the depths of our traumas, our greatness cannot be diminished.
And when we set ourselves free to express ourselves from that place where all that matters is being true to ourselves and our self-expression, we create a world where differences diminish, judgements disperse. In that place all we are left with is the raw, beautiful and shining gift of our greatness.
I am so grateful these two young men had the fierce confidence, passion, discipline to not leave their artistry buried within them. I am so grateful they chose instead to dance with abandon for all the world to celebrate.
Let us all dance with abandon today so that in our dance, the world can celebrate the great artistry that abides within each of us.
Thank you Slim Russell for inspiring this post.