I had the week off from work last week and one of the days was my mom’s birthday. Every year we usually go to dinner and a movie and leading up to the date I was getting a little worried that there weren't going to be any good movies out she would want to see. Two days before her big day we went to see what was playing and we saw The Greatest Showman was out in theaters. She was super excited because she had seen the previews for it and heard it got great reviews and I was super excited to see it because I knew Zac Efron was in it and who doesn’t love the visual of a little Zac Efron?! So off we went for her to get educated on the circus and me to relive my 14 year old teeny-bopping self.
fun fact: I had no idea this movie was even about the circus until we were in the parking lot of the movie theater however I LOVE circuses. I was able to see the last show Barnum and Bailey in Philly this past May and every year when the Universoul Circus is in town I make sure to steal someone’s kid to accompany me so I can see it. Mind you the circus is a little nerve racking for us adults who have anxiety and fear the dirt bikes won’t make it completely across the tent but I just have to lace up my brave boots and get in line.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me rewind. A man named P.T. Barnum created what is now known to be "The Greatest Show On Earth." The movie is about how he took his unconventional, “crazy” idea and turned it into something the world had never seen before. He accepted people of all different backgrounds, demographics, and talents and gave them a place to shine, a home, and essentially a family. He birthed an entire show based off his troupe’s abnormalities and for the time period (the 1800’s), he went against the grain of society by accepting people’s differences instead of shaming them.
After watching the movie and doing some of my own research, of course the movie has some dramatized events in it as well as events that didn’t happen at all (as in most movies), but the overall message of the movie and vision of Barnum’s real life dream were the same.
When the movie was over I was in tears and I was even more upset that it was over. I could have literally watched it 100 more times and in fact, 2 nights later I was back in the same theater watching it again. When I saw it the first time I was totally into the movie as a whole but the second time, I really invested in processing what was happening and listening to the lyrics to the songs. I wasn't even out of the movie theater the second time before I downloaded the soundtrack so I could continue listening to it. It's safe to say I was (and still am) OBSESSED!
I don’t know if it was the plot of the movie, the music, or the message but I just felt so inspired and amazed at what this man had accomplished. He used his imagination and pure passion to see his vision come to life and he created something so beautiful, magical, and something the world had never seen before. No one believed in his vision until he made them believe in it by showing them. He fought off critics and naysayers, even had his museum (where the circus originally started) burned down - TWICE - and that still didn’t stop him from pursuing what made him and his pseudo family feel alive.
I think about how I relate to this story and how so many that I have spoken with in our community could too. Those of us in the creative realm of society and with purposes that stem from our minds and hands have experienced these same kinds struggles, setbacks, and condescending conversations with people who don’t understand our desire to create. To them we are supposed to work a normal 9-5 job, live within the lines society draws for us, and to do it with a smile on our face. The second we step off the beaten path we get judged, ridiculed, and told we’ll never make it in this world with just a dollar and a dream.
I stopped expecting people outside of us to understand what it feels like every time we use our minds and hands to do what we were made to. Everyone won’t be able to understand what we feel when our pens hit a piece of paper or our brushes stroke a canvas. And that’s OK - they don’t need to understand it. No one understood Barnum’s vision and yet it was seen for over 145 YEARS all over the world. Who’s to say that your ideas or my ideas, or my dreams or your dreams, couldn’t have the same exact impact on the world as his did?
I guess what I'm rambling on to say is - live your dream. Live your truth. Love what makes you different, own it, and be proud of it. Let no one extinguish whatever it is that sets your soul on fire. There are people that will spend their entire lives not knowing their purpose and thinking they were created simply to be just another person in the world. Understand it is a blessing to know your purpose and you should not have to spend any minute of your day not breathing life into it.
I urge you all to go after whatever it is you truly want for yourself and don’t stop chasing it until you conquer what you set out to do. People won’t understand your journey or your mind and don’t expect them to. As long as YOU understand it, that’s all that will ever matter. Your happiness is yours - ALWAYS.
I believe in you the way Barnum believed in his circus and the way I believe my words have the ability to change someone's life. If you believe in yourself the same, there is nothing in this world that will ever be able to stop you.
Below are some of my favorite song lyrics from the movie. You can find all of the songs on Youtube however the album us definitely worth purchasing.
This Is Me - Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble
But I won't let them break me down to dust / I know that there's a place for us / for we are glorious / When the sharpest words wanna cut me down / I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out / I am brave, I am bruised / I am who I'm meant to be, this is me / Look out 'cause here I come / And I'm marching on to the beat I drum / I'm not scared to be seen / I make no apologies, this is me
The Other Side - Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron
They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy / They can say, they can say I've lost my mind / I don't care, I don't care, so call me crazy / We can live in a world that we design
You run with me / And I can cut you free / Out of the treachery and walls you keep in / So trade that typical for something colorful / And if it's crazy, live a little crazy / You can play it sensible, a king of conventional / Or you can risk it all and see
Don't you wanna get away from the same old part you gotta play / 'Cause I got what you need / So come with me and take the ride / It'll take you to the other side / 'Cause you can do like you do / Or you can do like me / Stay in the cage, or you'll finally take the key / Oh, damn! Suddenly you're free to fly / It'll take you to the other side
Come Alive - Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Daniel Everidge, Zendaya, The Greatest Showman Ensemble
You stumble through your days / Got your head hung low / Your skies are a shade of grey / Like a zombie in a maze / You're asleep inside / But you can shake awake / 'Cause you're just a dead man walking / Think of that your only option / But you can flip the switch and brighten up your darkest day / Sun is up and the color's blinding / Take the world and redefine it / Leave behind your narrow mind / You'll never be the same
Come alive, come alive / Go and ride your light / Let it burn so bright / Reach it up / To the sky / And it's open wide / You're electrified
One last thing - I dare you to watch both of these videos and NOT get goosebumps!
leave a comment below if you went to see The Greatest Showman and what your thoughts are of the movie!
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love & light,