[ by Luqman Abdullah ]
I have always been very confused about the path that artists choose to tread. By nature, we are passionate people who are inspired by what we see, or by what it is we believe society cannot see, and so we use our artistic instruments to attempt to convey those feelings.
Naturally we become more removed from that very society the more we attempt to show our views to the world, because it becomes clear that we do not view things the same way as most people. And so we become extremely individualistic, and do not allow our views to be tarnished by the opinions of others. Why? Because it is what we believe. We invest in ourselves, use our spirit as our guide, and refuse to let anyone tell us otherwise. We endure the lash of society because we refuse to allow humanity to wake up in the morning without looking in the mirror and noticing the blemishes that are all too clear to us. Our noble mission, the cause behind our crusade is to show everyone how imperfect they are, not to belittle, but to empower.
We show them how heartless we are with the hopes that the stones they call hearts within their chests will be softened. We show them how blind they are to the pitfalls of history so that we can step over them on our way to the future. Then, someone “important” comes along, with their shady demeanor and corporate stench and tells us that we’re important. That there is a large crowd of people out there that share our point of view and want to see more of our work – which is, obviously, exciting.
To think that this entire time we thought we stood alone, only to find out that there are hundreds, thousands, that feel the way we do and believe in us just as much as we do ourselves. In an ecstasy of fulfillment, we share our instrument with anyone and everyone who will lend us the time of their day to nod to our beats, clap to our poems and marvel at our artwork. If only for a very short time, we feel as though it was all worth it.
However, with our story being told and our message being delivered, we find ourselves being fueled by something else. Our moment in the sun begins to burn out and we find ourselves grasping at straws looking for a way to reclaim our former regale. Our artistic growth watches powerlessly as we shun it aside in pursuit of the one thing we never thought we needed, the approval of other people.
The shady man sneers as he watches you toil away, struggling to remain adrift in the relentlessly competitive world that he has done his part in creating. Suddenly, what used to be important to us, our noble goal, has been poisoned. It falls to the wayside, fickle and ill, and as the cold reality creeps up its spine and witnesses our transformation, it realizes that we have become even more sinister than the thing we despise most.
For we are not simply a sheep – a follower of the herd; we are something more, something worse. Alas, we have become the sheep herding sheep.