Last night I discovered this video. It is true, it is necessary, it is moving, and it is all of those things for me. But my first thought after seeing it was only tangentially related to the message.
My first thought was, "Who did that amazing voice-over?"
And, in some shape or form, that has been my first question after every public service announcement, television commercial, television episode, television movie, theatrical movie, stage musical, billboard, and photograph I have ever seen in my life. Who are these people? What are their stories? Why did they do this? Should they get more credit for what they are doing?
And now, finally, at age nineteen, I wonder, "Why do I wonder this?"
So I would like to take the time to answer all these questions, for myself and for all of us, right now.
Who are these people?
They are humans, with thoughts and emotions and lives, with dreams that they will achieve, or will not achieve, or find that they no longer have a desire to achieve. They are people touching the hearts of other people through the gift of their wonderful lives and their simple existence. They are lights shining far beyond what any of them can imagine. They are people with different hopes and dreams, and different likes and dislikes, but they share our emotions, and systems and circumstances conspire against us realizing just how much we share with them.
What are their stories?
Their stories are stories similar to mine and to everyone's, filled with joy and laughter, and with pain and sadness, those universal emotions, but they are caused by different things for each person, and what one person enjoys may be what makes another person very angry or very sad. To their inner circles, their stories are who they are, their feelings, their hobbies, their favorite foods. To the wide world, their stories are what they do, or what they have done. Ultimately, all we are, for anyone other than those who know us best, is what we do. Thus our stories are our attempts to do what we do, and what we love to do, and to do it well.
Why did they do this?
They did this because they are good at what they do, because they have chosen or have been asked, and/or because they are being paid and need to make their ends meet as we all must, and are happy with the idea of doing so in a way that allows them to do what they enjoy doing. Even if no one will see or know who they are, people will see and know their expression, even without their self-identity to back it up. They love what they have done, because it gives them the ability to express themselves. Our own selves are the only people we truly need to see our self-expression. When they express themselves artistically on the platforms mentioned above, they are contented, they are satisfied, not because they are increasing their chances at showing other people, but because they have shown themselves.
Should they get more credit for what they are doing?
Sure, they will be, literally and figuratively, putting what they have done on their resumes, and it may impact what will happen to them in the future. But rarely, if ever, will it elevate them to that almost superhuman degree of recognition that so sadly exists. They will remain faces in a crowd, even if a person may feel, as they walk by, like they have seen that face before. We are all faces in a crowd in the same sense, and we are all trying to shape our present in such a way so that, when our present becomes our past, it will impact our future. Our minds take us to lofty dreams of how much it will impact our future, but when they do, they motivate us toward something that does not exist. Life is its own prize. Showcasing yourself to the world may look like life's purpose at first glance, but we are not here to let the world know who we are. We are here to let the world know what we can do, with or without the credit, or the noticing, of our names, our firmest expressions of self.
Why do I care about this?
Sometimes it is hard for me to pick a movie I want to watch because the movie I want to watch just does not exist. For writers such as myself, this is usually a signal to write it into existence. And I do. I have realized, however, that no writing can effectively capture everything that real life is to me. Media is fake, but behind everything that is fake, there is reality and humanity that can be brought out on varying degrees. There's a sliding scale of how real this fakeness can be, and this sliding scale is controlled as much by what goes on behind the scenes with every person involved as it is by what you actually see. I care about this because I have autism and because I love to tell stories. Every good story begins with a question. As a person with autism, nothing makes me question like the functional aspects of human life that I seem to struggle with. As a writer who creates artistic work, nothing makes me question like the works of media that make their point and/or draw the flow of my tears, and the humanity that I know, as a writer and creative person myself, was behind them. Media is not capable of telling a better story than the story of how it was made.
And the answers to those questions, I think, are why my life took the angle that it did.
I would not be so fascinated with sociopolitical issues, nor would I be writing stories about the gender pay gap, California wildfires, and people recovering from the wounds of a mass shooting (or maybe even writing stories about anything), nor would I have spent months - or in some cases, years - trying to identify somebody I'd seen in some commercial or TV show or printed billboard ad or whatever, nor would I be trying so hard to respect everyone and champion diversity across sex, race and ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or mental or physical condition, if I had not developed that simple curiosity about humanity and the stories that it tells off the screen, off the stage, off the vision of media.
Curiosity about humanity created a love for humanity.
And a love for humanity will create a brighter world.
This article can also be read on Medium.
The most important part of reading The Corona Light is to pay it forward - by literally forwarding! Let's bring inspiration, hope, and empowerment to as many people as we can!