Anyone who knows me in real life, or has read my blog for any noteable amount of time will know of my love of the arts, whether that be through the medium of books, music, film or (my personal favourite) theatre, specifically musicals. I could go on and on and on about why I love the arts: they are, in my view, easily the best, most valuable creation of society, and of the human race in general, made all the more brilliant by their widespread availability to both consume and create. But one of their most valuable characteristics is their power to allow us to escape.
As this post is published, I’ll be sat in a hospital ward, waiting to undergo admittedly-minor cosmetic surgery on my eye; many of you will know I’m blind, and the extensive surgery that I have undergone on one of my eye sockets has caused it to lose its shape somewhat. Because I’m vain and also enjoy volunteering for pain, I opted to have this cosmetic surgery, to make both my eyes (or rather, my eye sockets and lids) look similar to one another. Even 24+ hours ahead of time, I can guarantee with no degree of uncertainty that, whilst sat on the ward, waiting to be called into theatre, I will have my headphones on, probably listening to a musical soundtrack, and my fingers on a book — I read braille.
The arts give me a space to fly, to run away from what is really happening and to visit a world where things are different, and where I am eternally happy. Often, people see this as a weakness: it’s understandable, I suppose. Running away from your problems, hiding in a place where they simply don’t exist is probably the ‘weakest’ thing someone could do, but no — I disagree.
there is nothng weak or shameful about escaping through the arts, in order to escape your own life, just for a few precious minutes or hours. In fact, I would argue that there is a strength in doing so. The ability to place a barrier between you and the world around you is a skill that should be cherished: I am never, ever happier than when I have a pair of headphones over my ears, or a good book in front of me, or when i’m sat in the theatre — nothing beats it. I have the strength to forget one world, albeit temporarily, and exist wholly in another, and I love that.
Strength has so many definitions, not on a literal level but on a figurative one. In this case, strength is having the knowledge, ability and power to live, full stop. Strength is having the skill to coexist in two worlds — in two places –, to have the ability to escape when you want to, and to understand the omnipresent link between the ‘real world’, and the equally-real world of the arts, which so many of us live in each and every day.
Even writing this post, I feel like I’m escaping: after all, this post is, in a way, a form of art. I’m in a creative world — the world of the arts, where things are different –, and yet, I’m in the real world, still sat at my desk, still typig on a laptop, still in my bedroom in London on Earth. I’m in both places — creative, and ‘real’ –, and I feel happy here. I have the strength to do that, and consequently the strength to feel this way.
And I love it.