The world has been absolutely stuffed with bad news this year. This past weekend I took a break from following any of my (near constant) stream of news and just spent time by the river with my family, I swam and tried to let all the worry go from my muscles, uncoiling the parts of me so shaken by rage and sorrow they’d begun to feel like camel’s humps on my spine. One thing my break led me to think on was how we can create change, to lead the world to a more inclusive, kind, and creative future. Politics aside we can all agree things aren’t in such a good place- so much is driven by greed, made ugly by budget cuts, public policy, and apathy. It’s enough to make even the most informed and motivated protesters feel futile and silenced.
I believe one small way to make the world a “better” place is to create beauty every day- whether it’s with your artistic endeavors or by what you wear. I’m not talking about beauty as prescribed by media or idiotic Dove commercials, I’m talking about beauty that stirs the soul to higher purposes, that shakes onlookers from the every day. Things that inspire or delight- which don’t have to be palatable to the mainstream. Even decay and mayhem are beautiful in their ways, it’s about how we present these concepts in fresh and creative ways.
When I am out running errands on bland city streets I am always shaken when I see someone dressed creatively. Suddenly uplifted by the appearance of something unique and wonderful against a backdrop of grey and concrete, a reminder that there is more to life than bills and toil. So when I get dressed I try to think of that, of wanting to create that feeling for others. Unexpected delight- even if they don’t understand my motives or choices, even if it’s repelling for them somehow. It distracts from the mundanity.
Choosing to be visible and unusual in a culture that is so dedicated to hate and crushing the “different” is an act of rebellion, it’s definitely not shallow or pointless. The effort taken to craft a unique presentation of yourself is a visible act of approval/care/love for yourself even if that body/self is not the type that is culturally worshiped, it’s a joyous celebration of your strange inspirations and magic, what makes you *YOU*. It’s choosing love and creativity over bland hate and greed. And it’s important.
Your protests against the world’s ugliness don’t have to involve picket signs and riot gear, they can be a silent act of going against that world by creating something new and unique. By focusing more on magic and beauty you drift some little part of the world towards that, some molecular change happens perhaps.
As someone extremely talented once said to me “Art Saves”.
(p.s. This is not intended to imply being poorly informed on the world’s happenings is a good thing- you can’t change anything that you ignore outright. Get informed, get mad, change the world, and stir people with your strange art and appearance.)