A little more than a year ago, I saw Miranda July and Carrie Brownstein at the All About Women festival at the Sydney Opera House. I wrote about it.
I don’t know what you call it when you’re not a teenage girl anymore, but you see artists you admire, who have made you feel something, somehow, and your heart gets full. what’s that called? because I am 30 years old and I have lived and breathed some years in the world, paying tax and driving to work for 9am starts, I have realised some things about how humans are and how systems work and what parts of these systems can be made to work for me and what parts just suck.
but I can sit 3rd row from the front of a talk at 10:30am, and listen and listen and feel like I’m remembering things I’d forgotten about how I’m meant to live and be and work and make and do, and my heart gets fuller and fuller and I start to know myself for sure again, and I just refuse to call that simple inspiration; I can feel it, I can feel something the same way that dancing and wine and skies full of moon and stars make my heart pound right up to bursting. I can feel like this feeling is falling in love the way I’d thought perhaps I never would (love always seems to be so practical and awful even when it’s lovely) and possibly I never will, not with a human, not quite in the open way I fall in love with everything when I am reminded of myself.
That feeling of all things being not only true but truly possible: that’s the feeling we could aim for when we work with others to pull forth their full potential. I can’t see any harm in wanting to fill rooms of people with excitement over everything they might do with their lives, and everything they might look like. There’s a rush of creating and of making that does not have to be boxed into the arts on their own. It could be about anything, a drive to make people feel that feeling.
It could be about making people laugh. Laughter means a lot of different things. It means happiness and it means amusement and it means relief; it might meant surprise, the shock of a penny dropping where you and me are all ok just the way we are, and we already know we are powerful and have everything to offer.
Being engaged as a member of an audience is a treasure to behold, and it is never really just about being able to recite lessons back or checking a box or a follow-up test. Leading is showing people how to care in a way that moves us along; that helps us to tread the earth in a confident forward motion. Working and not caring seems such a waste.
Imagine being the kind of person who inspired the feeling Miranda July inspired in me in the Sydney Opera House on Sunday morning: I walked out of there knowing that I was right to think I could do better than I have been; that what I have to give, once I roll it out flat and name its parts and sort it out so other people know where to put it or want to roll their own selves out flat alongside, that what I have to give is every bit as good as I already know it is.