One thing amuses me like nothing else. It is something so common and so endemic to being human that my amusement over it is lost on most people. But even in the glare of frowning faces, I still smile.
Boxes. Groups. Categories. Fields. Sets. Subjects. Labels.
They all make me smile. And the people who use them to organize every aspect of their world, make me smile even more.
People are organizers. They like to group things together that are similar, stick on a label, and feel satisfied at their accomplishment. And why shouldn’t they? Chaos goes against the order of things. Grouping things eliminates the chaos, right?
When I was a young child, my teachers and parents did what every normal teacher and parent do. They assessed my performance and stuck me in a category. They gave me tests to measure who I was, stood me a line, stuck on some clothes, and proceeded to treat me accordingly.
And they’ve been doing it ever since.
I’m 48 years old and people are still assessing me and sticking me in a pile of their determined choosing. “Oh, you said such-and-such, you belong in box A.” Plop. “Now be a good girl and stay put.”
The problem is, I’ve never been that good. Nor have I ever been interested in a label, title, box, group, category, or other restrictive mindless form to follow.
Truth is … I just don’t fit, and I’ve always known it.
When I was a kid, I just thought I was weird. Everyone else seemed to “get it” and there I was, puzzled by everything. I didn’t “get it” at all. And I never fit in anywhere.
But that didn’t stop people from trying.
Either luckily or unluckily, someone decided I was creative and I was carted off to art camp and music lessons and drama rehearsals. I remember making collages out of tissue paper and annoying the snot out of my elderly piano teacher. Neither of which made me some kind of artistic genius. But at least being around creative people allowed me to just be who I was without anyone trying to stick me in a box.
That’s how creative people are. They take things as they come, unfiltered and naked, and combine them with other things that are unfiltered and naked to create something new. They don’t see an apple and think “fruit” or a dog and think “animal”. They don’t look at people and think “fat” or “skinny” or “republican” or “redneck”.
They don’t categorize their world and it allows them to see new and amazing things that no one has ever quite seen before.
But … and this is a big BUT …
The very thing that makes them creative, is the thing that keeps them from belonging to society.
No matter how much we say we love the creative people in our lives, the artists, the actors, the comedians, the authors … No matter how much their work makes us think or laugh or cry or lose ourselves in another world … No matter how much we respect and adore and admire that genius in them …
They will never fit in.
And because they can “see” the world unfiltered, they know it.
The world wonders why Van Gogh cut off his ear or John Lennon spent a week naked in a hotel room in front of cameras or … Robin Williams took his own life.
But I don’t. I get those things. The act doesn’t create the man. The man creates the act. And yet, while the world is applauding at the act, they don’t see the man.
That’s just how it is. The world likes everything to fit in a box, to be labeled, to be nice and neat and compartmentalized, so it can be controlled. But the creative ones don’t control anything. It just happens. It is just what they see. And yet they know they have no control …