“Loneliness doesn’t come from having no one around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that are important to you.” Carl Jung
Expression is freedom. Some say we are water, some say we are flesh and bone, some say we are other things, but I don’t think we can disagree with the notion that we are all, at the end of the day, stories. Their words push us into motion every day. Sometimes we do not understand what they want from us or why we feel or do as we do. Perhaps sometimes we feel our story is not worth being listened to, and that derives to a profound feeling of sadness, or echoing loneliness.
I knew a boy whose name I remember. He was twelve and he was the quiet kind in the art class we were teaching every Saturday morning in his neighborhood school. He would hardly speak and I cannot remember his voice. His eyes were somewhere else and his shoulders slouched forward, closing his angle into corporal silence. He would not participate or communicate. Me and my partners, my giants, felt that perhaps he was disinterested.
But I wasn’t right. Little did I know that his closed demeanor and aloof personality were not originated out of boredom, but rather of domestic violence. He was not performing well in math class, which did not sit well with his father.
And there I was, passing judgement on him, as if I knew his story back to back, as if his story belonged to me to do as I pleased. I was ashamed after I realized this, which happened only after his mother asked me if we could switch the art class into a math tutoring session. I politely declined the request. It was time for our introduction to film analysis session with the group and I walked back to the classroom.
He saw it like no one else. Through his drawings, he showed us a world that was so different yet so familiar. By the time I was getting my bags ready to leave home to build a new one in Michigan, he was no longer the closed and taciturn child I had met nine weeks before. He started sharing his talent and his world, little by little. It was an absolute pleasure to see him start his journey of sharing his story. If we had a little part in that journey, then we cannot ask for anything else. We are honored to have met in the path, even if for only the smallest part.
And that is why art will change it all. We all have a story, waiting to unfold. Art is the sound of the waves outside your window that gently tells you, “wake up”.
Maya Angelou said it best: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”