I was chatting to a friend of mine the other day and she told me how she felt like she was losing touch with her own identity. She has been spending so much time lately trying to live up to other people's requirements of her that she wasn't sure who she was anymore. Now if you've read my previous blog post I bet you think I sat her down and preached the Gospel of Gaga to her. That does sound like something I might do, but in this case I did no such thing.
This week was Nelson Mandela's birthday and the whole country was very worshipful about it. It was celebrated everywhere, but not by everyone. Couple of posts on Facebook reminded me that one man's freedom fighter is still another man's terrorist. Not everyone looks up to Madiba.
We don't all have the same heroes. Why should we? We are not all the same, we don't all value the same things and that's just fine. You don't have to enjoy the things I enjoy nor do you have to be impressed by the people who impress me. But while I would certainly not expect everyone to agree with my assessment of Lady Gaga as the Last Great Nazirite, I would very much hope that you wouldn't disregard the concept of the Nazirites completely.
No one should have to do this life by themselves. As the poet said, "No man is an island". As the Zulus say, "umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu" (You become a person through other people). So much of the world seems dedicated to grind you down and tear you to pieces. Having someone to look up to, someone who's life calls you onward and upward makes all the difference in the world. You don't like my Nazirite? Fine, pick another. There are so many poets, painters, musicians, magicians, leaders, lovers, composers and writers to choose from so find the ones who feed your soul, those who remind you who you are. Those who remind you to stay true to yourself. Those who constantly push you to be better.
These aren't just empty words and I can prove it. When people talk about their heroes I'm often reminded of that scene in Zoolander where Owen Wilson's vapid male model character talks about his role models and mentions how Sting inspires him: "Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that." My point is you can't just list someone because its the cool thing to list, that person either makes a real difference to you or they don't.
Check out the post count on the right of the screen. Notice how I've blogged more in half a year than I have done per year for the last 2 years? Lady Gaga is a big part of that. Stop rolling your eyes at me and hear me out! See before she was the world famous Lady Gaga:
She was Stefani Germanotta, a young girl from NY with a deep love of music and some very big dreams. In an interview she told how as a young, completely unknown artist she would play hour and a half long sets full of songs no one knew whenever she got a stage. To give you some perspective, here she is as a student at an NYU talent show:
Just FYI, she didn't win, she came in 3rd. As you can see the seeds of who she would become are all there but she hadn't quite hit her stride yet. The talent is there, those songs were not bad at all but they were never going to top the charts. A more pragmatic person would have advised her to get a real job instead and make music more of a hobby. She kept going though, kept writing songs, kept preforming and eventually she found her voice and took the world by storm.
Now I'm no Lady Gaga, I don't have a fraction of her talent so this comparison breaks down pretty early on. But the thing is, I really do like writing. It's the only thing I've ever really dreamed of doing, one of the few things I truly enjoy. Now I may never become famous or widely read but that's no reason not to keep at it. If I love doing it, why not do it more, why not try to get better at it? It may not bring me fame or fortune but that's no reason to not get all the enjoyment out of it that I possibly can. That's why I've been writing more blog posts this year, who knows maybe one day I too will find my voice? I like to think I'm getting more comfortable in my own skin here, despite (or maybe because of) having an audience in the single digits. Lately it's been easier for me to speak my mind and to be honest when I write - I'm starting to be more like myself. We can't all be famous, we can't all achieve greatness but that's no reason to not enjoy the things we do and learn to be good at it.
So laugh at me all you will for revering a 25 year old pop star the way I do but do yourself a favour, find a Nazirite of your own. Believe me, it makes a difference.