Friday, December 9, 2011
We Are Not Made of Stone
As this project begins to wind down, I am looking back at the journey of what I have felt through its course. I guess trying to find perspective and get to the core of what brought me here in the first place. But in a sense, everything I have learned was something I already knew it has always been here. I liken it to Dorothy’s proverbial return to home after visiting the wondrous Land of Oz only to discover, with the click of her heels, she was always where she wanted to be. As a kid, her journey always had a profound impact on me emotionally. I would cry so hard every year that my mother would threaten to not let me watch it and I would beg and plead with her until she consented and once again I would be utterly moved to the point of tears. I now recognize Dorothy’s desperate plight to find herself is universal and see it in everyone else around me. What a strange world we enter, with sometimes even stranger friends. In their mythic land they accept their differences, a man of straw who is easily destroyed by fire, a hollow man who can’t move without the help of others, and the embodiment of ferociousness, intimidated by others. Their real journey is that of self-acceptance and in the end finding their sense of security. Being a gay man growing up in a strange land like Montana, I have always been keenly aware of the differences of others, feeling myself never really quite understood. But have been greatly appreciative of “men who can dress in women’s cloths and mouth the words to other people’s songs”, others infected with a deadly virus that still creates fear and anxiety and is still greatly misunderstood, the straight acting and not so straight acting personalities, whatever that meant, and the imperfections in others. It has always been my desire to be a part of a community of understanding and acceptance and of course appreciation. Yet it feels like as similar as we all are, we push each other away, with these labels and still ostracize others for their differences.
Yesterday I wrote about a young boy who killed himself because he could not find acceptance and my heart aches deeply as I morn not only the loss of a kid not able to live a miraculous existence, but the ignorance with others that fed his doubt. I still see the internalized homophobia within our own communities that becomes judgmental, condescending, and harmful. I think THIS IS perhaps is the real limitation from us feeling what’s in our hearts and recognizing our potential. Perhaps this is my gift as a photographer because I am willing to look beyond the difference with compassion and empathy and search for that truth within myself and my subjects and the culture that surrounds me. After all, we are not made of stone.
Link to funny quirky similar post: A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY BACK TO OZ
VIEW FULL IMAGE: Greek Statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art