The thing about art is it reminds you who you are. The reason you laugh or cry or think is because it stirs something inside you that you recognize. And it pulls a reaction from you.
Sometimes we forget what makes us tick. We move through the world walking the laid out paths that we are charged to follow. We believe the rhetoric. We buy into the message that we must buy this or move there or learn that in order to be successful. In order to be happy.
But the story themes have been the same since before the written word was a thing. Love, fear, hope, resilience.
As I sat in a school cafetorium and watched the amazing original play written by my brother performed by his enormously talented students, I laughed and I cried and I clapped and I remembered who I was. He pushed the envelope with the message and some powers that be pushed back. But the story was told through the students he leads. And one thing I know for sure is that they will never forget these magical nights. One can see that by the countless students who graduated from his high school drama program attending his plays years after they left the stage.
As French novelist Marcel Proust wrote, “Our vanity, our passions, our spirit of imitation, our abstract intelligence, our habits have long been at work, and it is the task of art to undo this work of theirs, making us travel back in the direction from which we have come to the depths where what has really existed lies unknown within us.”
What lies unknown within us? What remains when we peel back all the layers laid on by life and discover who we really are? Are we willing to stand up for what we believe in? Fight the good fight? Make a change? Take a chance? Bare our souls and be fearless of consequences?
When in doubt, turn to art. Watch something or read something or see something that makes your heart flutter and your mind think. It will remind you who you are and unleash the power to take off the mask and let the world see your perfectly imperfect human beauty.