It’s freakin cold outside.
I’m a little bit crook – not much – but my voice is croaky and my body is all kinds of NOPE. I’ve come down with the well known illness called “stress”. No, it’s not financial woes, or “omg my life is crumbling around me” woes, or even “my heart’s been broken” woes (I’m pretty sure that’s the least of my worries). Instead, I believe it’s empathy woes.
I had a mojito (or two) with a fellow street dweller the other night (he works for a charity, I work as a street performer… I figure we’re part of the same community of creative freaks, right?), and we were tackling the issues of the world: what we can do to make life better, why we do what we do, and how we do it. I realized (yet again, but I seem to need continued reminding for fear that the Fraud Police (thank you, Amanda Palmer)would come and hunt me down, that my drive is in smiles. I need to make sure people are smiling; that they (not just me) feel validated, that each and every person I meet on the street feels that they are recognized as an individual, and that they are acknowledged, understood and loved. Even if it’s just from a few seconds of eye contact and a brief smile. (Though, I must admit, I find this REALLY difficult to achieve when the person on the receiving end is a ridiculously attractive male… I’m fighting hard to battle this issue of self confidence in me, but that’s another story… haha).
Anyway, I digress. If I’m not making people smile, I feel like I’m failing. If I don’t at least get acknowledged, I feel cheated on the ability to maybe share that secret smile with someone: and maybe help them feel better. Is that selfish? I feel like it might be.
But then my fellow street dwelling friend turned around and told me that NO. It’s not selfish. What we do is real; it impacts people beyond what we can sometimes even comprehend. Who knows? Maybe that shared smile helps a policy maker (this IS Washington DC, after all) feel better about themselves – which then would lead them on saying yes to a proposal that could lead on to saving millions of lives… or even just ten lives. How did he know? Because he met a woman who was directly affected by the work he does; after a childhood of homelessness, abuse, war and trauma; she was given a second chance, and has gone on to be a doctor and medical researcher.
Does that mean that I could potentially have a leave a permanent effect on society? Can music REALLY make that much of a difference? I sure as hell hope so – after all, that’s one of the main reasons I do it.
So yes. I’m run down because of empathy: having the world on my shoulders and being far too stubborn about the fact that I want to save it.
It was a good night… until the fellow street dweller finished the evening off by offering me a threesome with his girlfriend.
Ah, some people…