I was searching for a subject for this post and I turned on music to help me think. Choosing a song from my playlist was easy–I’m currently in love with Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. I played it two or three times, then shuffle moved on to Adam Lambert’s Mad World and I had to play that a few times.
Besides their amazing voices (I am so serious) and the first two letters of their names, Adele and Adam Lambert have at least one other thing in common–neither is willing to be boxed in by society’s expectations. Adele is…well, what many call “full-figure,” and she doesn’t care. Adam Lambert is gay and out and amazing. Neither is as in-your-face about their individuality as say, Axl Rose, who happens to be another favorite of mine, but neither are they hiding anything. They are who they are, and if you don’t like it then you know where the door/back button/skip command is.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that such amazing talent lies within such confident individuals. In fact, I think it’s because they are determined to be themselves that they have so much to share with the rest of the world.
I work in a middle school. I see so many kids anxious to hide anything different about themselves, to fit in, to be like everyone else–never realizing that the kids they are looking to as role models are the kids who aren’t fitting in but are instead standing out. The ones who aren’t afraid to be seen, oddities and all. The ones who love their oddities, who celebrate them and teach others to do the same.
Neil Gaiman said “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” (Neil Gaiman, another person unafraid to be himself. Think I might be onto something?)
Another quote I like goes “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Marianne Williamson) And it’s the truth. One dear friend turns to Adam Lambert when she needs help through the oppression of feeling caged in familial expectations. Another turns to her daily dose of Adele to get through the drudgery of work. Both are fascinating, wonderful women who only need some room to spread their iridescent wings.
Don’t get me wrong–I know it’s hard to let yourself shine. If you’re like me, you’re never sure if the time is right, if you’re doing it the right way, if you’re as amazing as you think you might be. It’s like Indy’s leap from the lion’s head–we gotta decide what we believe and then we have to leap.
I took that leap when I published Knight Errant through Turtleduck Press, but it turns out one leap isn’t enough. I made the big one, but I have to keep leaping every day to support KE and now His Faithful Squire. You see, I know that the mundane will suck me in if I let it. That the day-to-day just getting by can fill my world and I’ll never have to be afraid except of the things we all must endure–but then I’ll look up and my whole life will be gone and all I’ll remember is seeing a whole lot of cat macros and a recipe for bacon jam.
Cat macros are awesome, and I’m sure it is excellent bacon jam. But I want more, so excuse me while I go leap off something.
Care to join me?