One of my friends dissed me for disparaging sappy viral videos. I may be a grumpy old man from time to time, but I’m not a heartless cynic. Surely my friends know that sarcasm is just verbal barbed-wire to cover my tender ego. Yeah, whatever. They want to know what melts my icy blue heart.
Britain’s Got Talent.
Not the American version. I hate the American version. Our culture is too celebrity obsessed. It has to be the British version.
Every so often someone takes the stage who looks like they’ve had a Kick Me sign tacked on their back for as long as they can remember. You can see it in their eyes, their walk, how they hold themselves on stage. Everyone they know has told them that they are stupid, or fat, or funny looking, or have a hobby that isn’t cool. The audience screams “loser” without even having to say it.
But these people have a secret. They have some amazing undeniable talent (usually singing)–the kind where God or grace or fate, whatever you believe in has reached out and said, “You. I’m giving you this gift. Please use it.” I especially like when Simon Cowell gets blown off his chair after saying something particularly cutting. These amazing people have been told “You suck” thousands of times. But at least someone (and hopefully themselves) has said, “You are amazing,” and they choose to believe that instead.
They stand up on stage, knowing this is the moment to let their secret go, and when they do, the angels weep, and so do I.
Maybe it’s the music that does me in, but this is how I feel about writing. It was the secret I held for a long time, and now that I’ve let it all fly, the support I’ve received has been greater than I ever expected. The community of writers I’ve been lucky enough to find is so ready to rise to their feet to cheer each other’s success, my icy blue heart is nothing more than a puddle of tepid water.
I think we all have secrets–a piece of ourselves that we protect, afraid it’s too fragile to stand up to a hard world. But it is a gift, this secret, and the world is your amplifier. Let it out, and it will sing in ways you’ve never expected. I, for one, am ready to listen. I have the tissues handy.
Words by J. B. Everett