This is a special day for appreciating the art that inspires us and moves us emotionally. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, painting, writing, or film, the job of the artist is to make people feel something. What are some songs, movies, art pieces, or theatre performances that have moved you to tears or laughter? What inspires your heart? If you don’t already, push yourself to go to an art gallery or theatre performance. You can view these virtually sometimes too. Read a book or write your own. Start whatever creative work you’ve been putting off. Or encourage a friend to work on their art.
Spend the day considering how art in its many different forms affects your life. Show that appreciation. If you have friends who create, show them some love. Buy their art. Write a review about their work. People don’t get famous without the help of their friends. If you don’t know anyone, share some of the works that are most meaningful to you with your friends. Share your favorite book, favorite musician, favorite film, or whatever else is your favorite thing. Share and inspire others. Leave the world with more art than you started with.
Sometimes a few kind, uplifting words from someone make a difficult situation better. Sometimes encouragement comes from friends or family. Other times it might come from a total stranger. I’m a fan of the phrase “Be kind whenever possible. It’s always possible.” Encouraging others is another form of kindness. Mayor Belinda LaForce of Searcy, Arkansas proclaimed the first Day of Encouragement on August 22, 2007. The project began as the brainchild from the Encouragement Foundation at Harding University in Searcy. A month later, Governor Mike Beebe, proclaimed September 12, 2007 the “State Day of Encouragement for Arkansas. Later President George W. Bush made September 12th the National Day of Encouragement.
How does one participate in this national holiday? Encourage others. Reassure, inspire, or tell someone how important they are to you. Think about someone other than yourself and say a few kind words to them. If someone feels like giving up, tell them to keep trying. Or at least listen to them vent their frustrations. Sometimes having someone listen is enough to encourage someone to keep fighting. At some point in our lives, we all need encouragement. We all need a little push to see the positive and keep going when all hope is lost. If you’re struggling, things will get better. Even if it doesn’t look like they will.
I was raised by the nightmares of my parents. Quite literally, I was born into the darkness; molded by it. That first glimmer of light within me did not occur until I was already a man.
My mother faced sexual assault at an early age from her own father and later developed Dissociative Identity Disorder. My father faced the onslaught of hatred from African American teenagers because he was white while living on the poor side of town in the late 1960s. He was five-years-old when Martin Luther King was shot. My father’s brother’s life ended too soon on Christmas Day, 1984 because of a mistake that never should have been made.
These are just a select few of the horrors I grew up hearing. Then my own battles and horrors began. A lifelong struggle of understanding and a search for purpose have been the motivation and inspiration for me to change the world for the better. I studied theater and feel a strong connection with performance and self expression. Am I the best? No, but that is not what self expression is about. It is about creating something. The opposite of war is not peace but creation. Creating something channels that darkness into something good.
My identity is unusual. I am an asexual, masculine male with high functioning anxiety. My goals and achievements are literally all I have. Yes, I have friends and acquaintances but few of them understand my own drive. I want to create a better world with fewer nightmares and more dreams coming to reality. I can achieve this through theater and self expression. As a mad scientist once said, “Don’t dream it – Be it!”