Another Day, Another Principle
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
High School Folly
I didn't get in many fights growing up and the ones I did I didn't start and tried my best to get out of. The most serious one happened at a high school football game. I was on the Drama Class float, we had decided to go La Cage Aux Folles and I was in drag. No big deal, I actually got a lot of applause and it was a success. After changing back into street clothes and getting almost all my make-up off, I went back to watch the game.
Almost all my make-up, apparently I still had some eye-liner on, which I wouldn't have thought much about. It was the '80s and I often wore eyeliner when I went out to clubs anyway. But some drunk jocks decided it was a big deal and taunted me about it.
While I was trying to explain that I was on a float in the parade for the drama class, one of them cold-cocked me. Good thing I can take a punch. I was able to take him to the ground (this was way before I started Brazilian Jiujitsu) and had him pretty much pinned. I told him, enough was enough, let's stop fighting. He responded by trying to hit me in the face again. I answered back with a punch that knocked him out and probably broke his nose. My brother, who managed to take care of one of the other guys, and I got out of there, cause we didn't want to get in trouble or wait around for some of their friends to come around.
I felt bad for hitting the guy, even though he started it. But I was also shocked and saddened about the bigotry, sort of. I mean I was used to being an outsider and at times being called names, but things never got physical before.
I certainly didn't think that I was radical in my self-expression, but....
This is an old photo of me when I was working on the movie Hook as a set dresser. I was just goofing around but the other guys thought I was pretty nuts.
To me it was obvious. We're striking the sets and we have to load this giant alligator head. Of course it calls for a funny photo-op. In the same way that I had to swing from the stunt ropes of the pirate ship, which could have gotten me fired, but when opportunity presents itself....
While I was still in my odd-job phase, I was a clown at children's parties, as well as being a living Christmas Tree for an ornament store on Rodeo Blvd.
My favorite holiday is Halloween. It's a time where everyone dresses up and gets a little crazy. So my normal becomes everyone's normal, which is nice every now and then.
I don't have to worry about being judged or getting beat up.
I think Burning Man will be a mecca for like-minded souls.
But I also get a feeling, from what I've seen, read and from some of my "burner" friends that there is a resentment of normal folk or the "default" world. I can understand that to a point.
I Am Who I Am, and I Did It My Way
I hate prejudice, bigotry, and racism. I hate close-mindedness. But as to how to battle it? I don't believe in fighting fire with fire.
I believe in compassion as well as realizing that one's "radical self-expression" may very well be infringing on others belief systems. And that there must be some give and take and understanding.
Be who you are, but realize how being different might be an affront. Be OK with not be accepted. Be OK with being unique. But continue to promote acceptance and compassion.