On of my dyslexic strengths is in how I naturally make connections between seemingly unrelated things. Because of that default setting in my brain, I’ve always liked the concept of synchronicity.
Recently, the topic of artistry as a way to build inner power and draw attention to social issues has been popping up in my life.
Yesterday, this article about an awesome young woman showed up on my Facebook feed.
Sonita raps about social issues in her home country of Afghanistan in order to bring attention to them, and hopefully get some change for the better going. She was almost forced into an arranged marriage as a teenager, because her family wanted her dowry money to pay for her brother’s impending wedding. So, she wrote this amazing song.
As hard as it can be to be a woman in the US, I can’t imagine being sold to a stranger. I’ve had men try using me as a status symbol and other things, but at least I had the power to get away from them. It’s terrible that so many women can’t do the same thing.
Fortunately, the song reached her parents, and she’s continuing with her musical career and grow as a person on her own terms. Still, how many women still have their futures stolen by the tradition of arranged marriage and status of property?
Then, today, the newsletter from The Codpast showed up in my e-mail which linked to their latest episode, in which Sean interviews the dyslexic screenwriter Dean Stalham. Dean talks about how he went from a cycle of crime and struggle to his current career in the creative arts.
He was born into a family heavily entrenched in the crime culture in the UK. The misunderstandings around his dyslexia combined with the cycle of discarding education in favor of working from a young age kept him from doing what he does today for many years. His dyslexic strengths are in big part how he broke free of the cycle.
Both of these come on the heels of my acceptance as a panelist for a discussion titled How We Change the Stories We Tell About Disability at the sci-fi/fantasy convention I attend every July.
These all came from dramatically different parts of my life, but each event demonstrates how important it is to express ourselves creatively. It doesn’t matter how you do so, whether it’s through song, writing, drawing or whatever, the point is that we have the freedom and encouragement to tell our stories.
|Some of my world building tools for the series I’m working on.|
To take it a step further, the representation we insert into those stories of who we are is also important. I know what it’s like to live as a dyslexic woman, but how can I do justice to the diverse characters in my fiction if I don’t have access to the works by those who live differently than I do?
The raw emotion Sonita expresses in her song cuts deep. The scene featured in the article accompanying Dean’s interview demonstrates unspoken bonds of hope and disappointment that comes in so many relationships. Those works help us see the world in a way we wouldn’t otherwise. They help us understand different points of view and give us a change to grow as individuals.
Our human experience is so varied, it only makes sense that we have as many options with which to express ourselves as possible. As unique as each of our experiences are, we still share the basics of heartache, joy, fear and love. Creative expression is an amazing way to share all of those elements.
If the arts were encouraged as much as logical thinking and conflict are, perhaps we’d live in a more peaceful world.