Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Dream a Dream with Susan Boyle

If you haven't seen her, maybe you have heard her. She is the latest viral video sensation on youtube thanks to the television show, "Britain's Got Talent." Last I checked videos of her had been viewed some 16 million times worldwide in less than some 3 days. That alone could make you curious to watch her, right? What is so special about this lady? Well, watch this and see: Susan Boyle. Seriously, if you don't watch the video you will not come close to understanding this post. Well, ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I really want you to experience it all the way to the end as the judges comments are quite compelling.

You learn from the video that she lives alone with her cat, Peebles. She is unemployed, never been married, never been kissed and is 47. Yes, 47, and the quintessential frumpy, single, cat lady. The video does not begin to tell her whole story.

What you don't know, but I do, because of the magic of google, is that she found the courage to go on such a show because it was her dying mother's wish, whom she nursed until her death. She has a learning disability that made her the subject of cruel teasing and taunting as a child. This learning disability was caused by a lack of oxygen to her brain which occurred because of abuse she endured when she was young.

Yet, here she is. And, I love her. Why?

Yeah, ok, we all love the underdog. In economic times such as these we all need a little boost to our day, a little smile. But, I think it goes much deeper than this. At least it does for me.

I love her because she has beaten the odds. Yes, I know that defines her as an "underdog", but keep reading. She rose above the circumstances, the abuse, the bullying, and if I may go so far to say this...most likely loneliness, heartbreak, emotional turmoil that goes far beyond where I have been.

I relate to her because I have been on the nasty receiving end of taunting and teasing. And, no doubt, sadly and with much remorse, I doled out some verbal vomit and was dismissive to others. Watching Ms. Boyle created in me this ball of compassion and conviction that erupted into the such overflow of tears and exuberance that I nearly stood up and clapped and cheered for her while in my own study. My smile was large and wide and very uncontrollable. While watching her, it was like I was breaking free of some childhood pain and vowing to create a new legacy for my own children. My heart wants never to make a snap judgment of someone's worth, because every single person has worth, immeasurable worth. I know we often say that, but don't our actions often betray this sentiment?

Honestly, she is not an attractive woman, physically. Yet, she comes onto that stage with such confidence (note the swagger). She rolls her hips around with flair. She is real, albeit a bit raw. How does she do this? Because she is utterly who she is, without a doubt she knows who she is. And, she allows me to see who she is, not just the persona of who she strains to be. I want that for myself.

She has been singing since she was 12. Her dream is to be a professional singer, singing in front of a large audience and to be as successful as Elaine Page. Boyles' outlay of her aspirations made me think about my own dreams and goals. To equate her goal to something in my life means that my dream would be to have a NY Times best seller. I wouldn't dare think about anything like that. It has never even crossed my mind. Being on Oprah, well, that is another story, made long before writing ever entered the picture. But really, I would be happy just to see something in actual print. The question is...why don't I dream big? Why don't I allow myself to even think about such lofty ideas?

Most importantly, however, is this: Despite what has been a lifetime of rejection, Susan Boyle appears to be quite authentic and transparent. Her own life is an open book, not shuffled under the rug and or hidden behind the door, nor attempted to be anything it is not. How did she arrive to this point in her life? Well, she learned to sing in church and it is there that she practiced her amazing gift. I would imagine that her relationship with God is what is really on display here. It is only through Him that we can be comfortable, that we can be free to be who we really are.

Today's bottom line: It is world's most erroneous standard and we have bought into it. The lie is that only the beautiful, rich and fabulous have something to offer this world. The lesson of Susan Boyle is that every single being matters - who they are, what they are and how they dream. And, if she couldn't hold a tune, she should be loved just as much.


Jewels said...

I will NEVER tire of watching that video. Thanks, Kelsey!

Anonymous said...

Interesting background information. It's always such fun seeing someone win against the odds. The video warms my heart!