I like to listen more than I like to watch, much to my movie-loving husband’s chagrin.
Even so, when a friend told me I’d love the music video for Imagine Dragons’ “Demons,” I was willing to give watching it a shot. Why was she convinced I would love it so–not only the song, but the story the band chose to tell with it?
My friend was right. I loved the video. I don’t mean that the flippant way folks–myself included–sometimes say things like “I love Starbucks!” or “I love Target.” I mean I loved it in a way that rocked me to my core, filling me with a sense of connectedness to life similar to that inspired by love I feel for friends and family.
Before I began blogging, I thought only my siblings could ever understand the dark, sad places in my heart, having lived the originating experiences with me. They knew the same poverty, abandonment, abuse, bullying, and loss of a loved one to the depths of mental illness. When our mom died of cancer after a life filled with so much pain, they shared that sadness, too. We’d walked those rocky roads together, but no one else–no one–would ever understand what it was like to walk them. It was just us.
Blogging expanded my world. As I wrote about my experiences, others shared their own like experiences. I saw commonalities I’d never have seen if I’d kept my own demons hidden. I read, too, about uplifting and heartbreaking experiences totally unlike my own. With each word I read I came to understand I didn’t own statistically significant shares in suffering. Every single blogger I read–even my favorite humor bloggers!–occasionally wrote about their own sorrows and struggles in ways that expanded my understanding of life. The more I read, the more I understood that while individual circumstances vary, every single human walking this earth knows the core experiences of joy and pain. No one owns them.
In “My Blessings,” I wrote:
Life is better embraced for all it is, ups and downs, and armed with the knowledge that everyone faces her own triumphs and battles. I don’t want mine to be better or worse, bigger or smaller, more or less important. I want to recognize my own experiences and others’.
“Demons” reveals in four minutes what it took me hundreds of thousands of words of reading and writing to understand. Please watch for yourself to see what I mean. Pay special attention after the song stops. It’s then, between 3:17 and 3:25, that I am truly bowled over by the video.
After I shaved my head for St. Baldrick’s a couple of years ago, I was stared at incessantly. I’d read enough blogs by cancer patients to know others often steer clear of them, not knowing what to say or do in the face of someone else’s incomprehensibly enormous battle. I vaguely understood my bald head might get a response, but I had no way of knowing just how strong–and isolating–that response would be. I wrote about this in “One month bald: The walls outside & the light within.”
The seconds between 3:17 and 3:25 are the opposite of disconnection, isolation, or signaling that one person’s experience is so different from another’s that the distance is unbridgeable. There’s no “better” or “worse,” no “different” or “other” in these moments, just human-mother-freakin’-connection. An embrace that reflects shared humanity, that we are all people, all connected, all in it together with so much in common at heart no matter what circumstances seem to set us apart.