The Sacred Space of the Stage
I firmly believe that the stage is a sacred space, where artists share their emotions, their passion, their work, and their very humanity with the audience, and strive for connection, acceptance, and understanding.
Our “Western Culture” hates those who are “not normal”, so every artist (EVERY artist) has had to deal with the shame of being “different”.
“No one cares.”, “No one wants to see that”, “You will look stupid and be embarrassed”, and “YOU? An artist? HA!” are my personal favorites, but we all hear them all.
What I hear is that I am too fat, old, bald, and white to be a drummer playing “That belly dance music”.
And, honestly, most of that is true.
I am fat. I am old. I am bald. I am white.
And I have been made ashamed of all of that, more than I can express. I have been attacked, before, during, and after my performances, from outright in my face insults, to threatening emails, or snide comments that they thought I was too far away to hear. (“Luckily” for me, my dumbo ears hear everything… Joy…)
And I am certain, because I have heard it all, that EVERY artist reading this right now has experienced their own variations of that. I am certain that we could all get together and compose a “Symphony of Haters” that would make playgrounds and locker rooms seem like quiet churches.
“She’s too old.” (Short, tall, fat, thin, young, black, white, striped…)
“How could she wear THAT?”
“Has he ever taken a lesson?”
“Someone should tell them how embarrassing this is…”
Sound familiar? Of course it does.
Haters are going to hate.
Those that cannot understand a thing, fear it. And fear is most easily converted into hatred, and hatred is the easiest response in the world. I mean, all of us have been the victims of it, and know intimately how it sounds, and we can all turn on a dime and dish it out, right back. Easy, simple. Just a small shout out from the back… Just an anonymous comment on YouTube. Just a snide remark to a friend… Just a harmless bit of shaming in a private group…Just a little more hate, to ease the fear.
Haters are going to hate.
Please don’t let that stop you from being the artist that you are.
The chances of you being here, in any form at all, are so vastly remote that all of this life can and should be viewed as a stunning miracle of beauty.
YOU are a stunning miracle of beauty, and by stepping on that stage and following your passion and joy you MAKE THE WORLD BETTER, despite those who would attack you. Those who would try to belittle you, put you in a place where they feel safer, shelve you and ignore you while you slowly die on the inside, consumed by fear, shame, and embarrassment.
By stepping onto that stage, you win.
I know how hard it can be, but please don’t give up. Don’t let the fear and hatred of a few destroy your joy. Don’t allow them to stop you from sharing your magnificent and amazing self.
Please dance, or sing, or drum, or recite poems, or act, or all of that! Get yourself out there, and share your beauty. It matters. You matter. This community LOVES you, and those that hate can get together and go bowling, or knit socks with no toes, or whatever they do when they are out of my earshot…
Perform for those who GET IT, and ignore those who don’t.
And I know, I know, how painful the shame can be. The not fitting in, the not being “as beautiful, as perfect” can be a crippling fear.
As an artist you must work as hard as you can, as often as you can, for the joy of the work and the art, and then SHARE THAT.
You are wonderful, you are beautiful, your art touches me, and I am grateful for it.