Art is a statement of culture and sophistication
for the affluent and educated but a luxury and an impractical indulgence for the poor. Its very romantic to call oneself a starving artist but quite another to actually be one. For those of us who grew up in very modest circumstances, there is nothing attractive about going hungry or living in rags while you pursue “your calling” and the end result is that you don’t. You do everything you can to be as practical, pragmatic and “normal” as everyone else while the one part of you that would lift you out of your darkest “black dog days” suffocates under the unbearable weight of being sensible.
Escaping through imagination and fantasy is a salve for the wounds of being in the world.
It is also the preventative for intractable insanity for everyone. For some of us, it is a harder to be like other people than it is for others. We aren’t better or worse than others, we are just different. If you have ever been the “only” one in any group, you know how difficult that is to experience. Its even harder when it is everywhere around you. You, the weirdo, the artist, or the “only” singled out among everyone else, all the time, everywhere. Luckily, artistic expression gives us a space where the madness can be transformed into magic.
The loneliest people in the world are often surrounded by too many people who don’t, won’t or can’t understand.
I support sex work.
They provide a valuable and needed function in society for the maintenance of sanity. Sex workers hold non-judgmental space for individuals to bring the more awkward parts of themselves that they cannot freely share with others, allowing them to breathe and sleep easier. Sex workers also offer a level of human acceptance that a therapist or priest cannot, will not and should not engage in. We know that a therapist is not a priest, and a sex worker is not a therapist.
The value of each of these professions is specific to the missing components in a person’s life at the time.
Because of this, there is equal and real value in all of these professions for the benefit of collective society and individual sanity. To believe otherwise is to believe in sanitized fairy tales where a wedding ring solves problems and life is always fair if we just do the right things.
We don’t have to like, approve or want the jobs that other people do but we do have to respect the fact that everyone’s contributions matter. Every single job, no matter how modest or “beneath us” we think it is, matters. The value of a life is not by the appearance of success it can establish for itself but in those quiet moments when no one else that matters to you is around to bear witness.
An extended hand to a drowning man is a simple act of kindness. The life you save with it, may be your own.