Somewhere along the lines we have started believing the message that strangers are dangerous. That we should believe the worst in people, that we should be alone and afraid in the cave…silent, ignoring our fellow pilgrims.
What if the young girl did not take the risk to put a couple of coins in the hat:
What if everyone else was too afraid as well? Courage is not the huge actions. Courage is the small actions. Courage entails asking for help. Or giving it…unconditionally. Giving and receiving unconditionally are some of the most difficult things I believe.
We have become to believe that everything is a transaction – where favours must be repaid. I don’t believe that it is the true nature of the world, nor do I believe that most transactions are economic.
The truly valuable transactions take place on a level where the exchange is invisible to most people outside of the transaction. For instance, my most profound moment of self acceptance came compliments of Amanda Palmer. It was the week of my sister’s wedding and I had flown back to South Africa from Costa Rica (early February 2010), but I still had not managed to find something to wear.
I think I can speak for the majority of the female population when I say the change room is a nightmare. The fluorescent lighting is far from kind and amplifies our insecurities, and it is not helped by the constant marketing messages in store, the ones that tell us you are not good enough, you are not beautiful, but buy our product and you may be.
I was in an upmarket mall and was in shop five-hundred and twelve and seriously starting to get down on myself, and I was battling to find something special and on budget. Finally I found my way into the shop where I had started and I saw a dress that had caught my eye, but that I had thought made me look fat and ugly.
But I decided to go into the change room and try it on anyway. In the change room I had one of the most profound moments of my life. It was a moment where I turned around and said, “Fuck it! I like me and I like this dress!” and that moment came compliments of me channeling my inner Amanda Palmer (who I had only recently discovered via a blog post by Neil Gaiman). My inner Amanda Palmer allowed me to be confident in and happy with who I was in that very moment.
That transaction was completely invisible. The only other person who I had discussed it with, before now, was Riaan.
Just because another person does not see the transaction does not mean it is not valuable – it can be argued that the most valuable things of all are intangible.
The thing is that transaction, that moment of connection between me and an artist who a year previously I had been completely unaware of was intangible and invisible. The knock-on effects of the transaction have been real, I have answered her call when she has asked for help, not because I am keeping score, but because I want to. Sometimes the help has been purchasing her music from her directly (musicians need to eat too ), sometimes it has been by joining a conversation.
Our economies and ourselves need to realize that their is no shame in asking…or offering:
Love and ramblings,