Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An Artist's Shackles

I remember hearing the story of Gillian Lynne, a famous British ballerina.  Before she was who she became, she struggled with finding her identity. Lynne's gift for dancing was discovered by a doctor. Lynne had been underperforming at school, so her mother took her to the doctor and explained about her fidgeting and lack of focus. After hearing everything her mother said, the doctor told Lynne that he needed to talk to her mother privately for a moment. He turned on the radio and walked out. He then encouraged her mother to look at Lynne, who was dancing to the radio. The doctor noted that she was a dancer, and encouraged Lynne's mother to take her to dance school. The rest of the story is history, remember I said "famous" British ballerina.

Now I'm really not trying to make something small into a bigger thing, however, I do believe in the uniqueness of each and every one of us.  I do believe that this story could have gone two different ways.  Number 1, Gillian's mom could have screamed at her for her poor grades and lack of focus, the doctor could have given her medication to help her focus, and she could have disciplined herself to be a better student.  Or, the way it happened.  The doctor believing in a person's ability outside of institutional learning and the mother allowing it to be an option for her daughter.  Here's the point of why I'm writing this, and I'm being extremely transparent.

I've been restless here lately.  Not just today, but for a few months now, honestly for almost a year now.  And I've responded the first way the mother could have responded to young Gillian, Hey, Claude, man up and get it together.  You know how you should act.  Act like that.  You're supposed to be do this.  You're supposed to submit here, you're supposed to do things this way.  Your mother expects this of you.  Your pastors expect this of you.  Your friends expect this from you.  Get it together.

And I've obeyed.

But now, why have I not found any release.  Why do I feel more alive when I'm able to visioneer and design?  Why do I cheer for music artists who love the craft?

Today, I'm allowing myself to respond like the doctor did to young Gillian.  I don't think I'm anti-institution, but I am anti-normality.  Anything that gets too normal freaks me out.  Traditions bug me a little bit, I won't lie.  Anything a person can say this phrase, "We've always done it this way", causes my skin to cringe.  I've noticed that I do not enjoy being in the "it" crowd.  I do not enjoy being around people that seem to enjoy being just like each other.  And it's like I'm surrounded by clay, but instead of allowing God to mold them they become more comfortable with the cookie cutter mass production of clay pots.

When I was in Seattle this past week, I quickly noticed something.  There was a very keen culture of acceptance of different, a culture acceptable of a person's expressing themselves how they see fit.  Now, I know there's a line that probably shouldn't be cross, but honestly I respect that person more than I do the conforming person.  I had the pleasure of meeting this girl that worked in Downtown Seattle.  She had a pin up hairstyle, wearing a vintage dress probably from the 1950's, and a sleeve of tattoes down her right arm.  She was having a career crisis, meaning she couldn't figure out which direction she wanted to go in.  She either wanted to be a pastry chef or a car mechanic.  Lol.

I loved this girl, with her bizarre skill set.   

Now please hear me, I'm not necessarily attracted to those things, and I'm not suggesting people doing crazy things in hopes of being "not normal", I'm more referring to the natural desire to express.  I'm noticing in myself that I get this pinned up anxious and eagerness when I'm unable to be myself.  I get anxious when I can't lead how I want to lead, love how I want to love, be passionate about what I want to be passionate about, and I wrestle and wrestle and it doesn't budge.  Which I think is why I'm restless.

I called this blog "An Artist's Shackles", because a person's ability to express himself is directly linked to his or her identity.  And when they are unable to, they become a prisoner within themselves.  Like a person born to play music and he's forced to not play for a year.  Like Gillian, she was unable to dance which was a natural talent, and she couldn't focus on what she was forced to do.  Had no interested in what she was being forced to do.  And that's where I am.  I have no interest in what I'm doing right now.  I'm unable to express myself.  I'm not being challenged.  It's too easy to be a Christian in Alabama.  It's too easy to be a leader in my church.  I really don't know what I'm even looking for or asking for, I just know that I have no fulfillment right now.  I feel hindered, held back.  Someone has taken my paintbrush from me and handed me this gray suit to put on.  And I'm desperately looking for some pink or blue puddle to jump in, ruining the conformity I'm forced to consider.       

I remember talking to some Koreans at work.  And we were laughing about something, and I asked to look at one of their hands.  And what was revealed to me was astounding.  The prints of their hands looked just like man.  Look at your hand right now, it has that capital A and lower case L shape right.  And she had five fingers.

Seriously, I'm not trying to make small things into bigger things, but please at least try to take me seriously here.  She was just like me, but completely different.  Her face was no where close to mine.  She spoke Korean.  She was kind of pale, but her hands looked just like mine.  Cool huh?

Lol.  Here's my heart friends.  Thanks for plunging into this chaos.  I really don't even know what's going on in my heart, I'm still trying to figure it out.  That's why I'm writing it, hoping something connect or makes sense.  But here's my heart.  This is what I want for you.  I want you to feel comfortable being yourself.  I think we are too messed up to be pretending on any level.  I think the severity of our condition is too far gone and too far beyond understanding, And when I'm surrounded by a culture that would rather smile and say I'm fine to everyone, it bugs me.  Not that I want you expressing your hurts to every stranger, but I hope you're getting it out to somebody.  But if you're surrounded by a bunch of posers then we will all be posers.  I just want people to be better.  And you cannot get better without facing and acknowledging how completely crazy and dysfunctional you are.  Or maybe I'm the only one that's completely out of his mind and battling sin and insecurities and direction.

Hmm...I'll stop.  Because again, I have no idea what I'm really trying to say.  I thought I had a better grip on it but I'm seeing I really don't as I wrote this.  Oh well.  Thanks for reading. Lol.  Maybe you can make sense of it.  Maybe I should go see that doctor.  Haha.     

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