So enjoyed Express Yourself‘s 25th Anniversary Performance last week at Boston’s Boch Center-Wang Theatre. . . Blue Man Group, Stomp, Amanda Mena from America’s Got Talent, 300+ young people representing various programs of The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and this extraordinary poem from poet Regie Gibson.
Emerson said (paraphrase):
In a world bent on making you into someone else
the greatest accomplishment you can achieve is merely to be yourself.
Accept your bumps and bruises, lumps and contusions,
fears and confusions,
contradictions and complexities
as all part of the art of your unique humanity.
Even though some of us in our smallness
may laugh at your all-ness—
Try and make you feel stigmatized and bizarre—
like you should apologize for being who you are…
Don’t be concerned— Learn to stand firm!
Don’t wreck yourself.
Don’t let your self
be made into a lesser self
Respect yourself!—then express yourself!
Say to the world:
I will not be a book unopened.
I will not be a word unspoken.
You will not shatter me-
and leave me broken—
even though I am scarred and scared
and far from being near
the masterpiece I will one day be…
Just give me time.
I am fine.
This is me!