In third grade I moved from a sweet nest of a private school to a bustling public school. My class size double and so did the possibility for friendship. Not being a shy child and being blessed with a generous gift of gab, endless opportunities for playground adventures opened. The swinging wide of the classroom door to head to recess felt like pure adrenaline freedom. Zig-zagging my way from activity to activity, I exclaimed to any child that would listen, “Do you wanna play? Do you wanna play?” I had no inhibition, no fear of not being liked or anxiety of social rejection. Truly, if another child responded to my invitation of fun with a denial, I just simply skipped on to the next adventure, unscathed. Like the rest of the humans, somehow down the path, I eventually learned what humiliation felt like and to avoid it like the plague. Fitting in became essential and uniqueness was suspect.
My family of origin is crazy. Sometimes it is the fun family crazy that gets celebrated and written about in greeting cards and sometimes it is the crazy we don’t talk about unless we are in our counseling appointments and medicated. Crazy can be a burden and a curse. From crazy come muchness, uniqueness, creativeness, free-thinkingness and a bunch of other “nesses”. Changing the “N” to “M” in nesses makes for an often misunderstood word, “messes”…and perhaps that is the most lovely place to emotionally roll around. Messes make me happy because from messes come an understanding for the need to get cleaned up; to move stuff around, reorganize, to unpack and pack again. Messes are a place to start to see our human condition.
Humanness is hard. Fear of humiliation is paralyzing, As we grow and gain knowledge we gain messes too. We loose our youthful free-spirited glow and we forget how to ask people to play, even though we know they really, really, really need to run out the door and zig-zag awhile. My work in photography has given me a lens to both see peoples beautiful uniques and their messes too. Looking into my camera can be vulnerable. What if I see you? What if I really, really see you and I know that your are not the kind of crazy that is in greeting cards? Here is the thing…I love you just the way you are. I have always loved you just the way you are. I know you are a mess. I am too. We all are. And if we can just know that; really truly know that, then perhaps we can loose the inhibition and play more, together. Like we did when we were young before uniqueness was suspect. Perhaps we can bust onto our front porch and with wild abandon run out and ask someone to leave their mess for awhile, to fit in less, and be more.
Last night I went to an art thing with my brother, his super sweet girlfriend, and Akshay. I wore my Princess Leia costume, my bro wore his new penguin get up and my hopefully will be sis-in-law wore a flapper number. It wasn’t a costume party but we failed to tell the girlfriend that. Jourdon and I planned to dance and sing and we did, a lot. We made lots of new friends last night. Of course we did because we invited anyone near us into our fun. Some people joined us and some did not and that is all ok. And at the end of the art performances we invited everybody in ear shot to head across the street to the gay bar with us…and you know what…some of them came. So last night a penguin, Leia, a flapper, a dude from India, and some friends they met walked into a gay bar and played. And it was awesome.