I never wrote because I wanted to be famous. I am not in this art thing in the hopes of turning myself into a celebrity. The last thing the world needs is another fucking celebrity. We have six jillion of those, six jillion reasons to pretend we are less-than, six jillion reasons to feel too fat, six jillion reasons to wish we were something else. Not that celebrities don’t do good things–they do. Some of them are beautiful souls. But they are beautiful souls because they are beautiful souls, not because they are celebrities.
Besides, I don’t have the chops to be a celebrity. My ass is too saggy. There are wrinkles around my eyes. I’m a size 12. I’m 44-years-old, and not the kind that has been able to afford Botox and face lifts. I have an anti-thigh-gap. I’m the clumsiest person you will ever meet. If I tried to enact Beyonce’s dance moves, I’d kill myself, someone else, or all of the above.
Truth be told, celebrity bores me. Celebrity is a lie, and lies are boring. No one is bigger than anyone else, no matter what that billboard, that big screen, that stage tries to tell you. Celebrity is nothing but ho-hum pretense, smoke and mirrors, an attempt to manufacture awe when awesome is woven into the fabric of the air we breathe. Life is awesome. Leaves are awesome. Frogs are awesome. Real is awesome. Truth gets me off. Fuck celebrity.
I’m an artist because it is my way of giving back to my tribe–the whole of humanity. We all give what we can. Construction workers build our homes. Chefs feed us. Doctors heal us. I can’t pound a nail in straight. I can’t make toast without burning it. I grow weak at the sight of blood. But I can write, so that is what I give. I try to give hope, love, faith, connection through my art. I am no more or less valuable than the construction worker, the chef, the doctor. Why should I be? We are all just people doing what we can do to love one another.
I don’t care about my “brand.” I’m not a brand. I’m a human being, a decidedly fucked up one at that. In spite of my fucked-up-ed-ness, I love me. I don’t need the world to see me as special. I already know I’m special. I was special the day I was born. I will be the day I die. This unlikely miracle of life is special. Monumental. All life is special sacred worthy beloved. You are special sacred worthy beloved. I need you to see you as special. I need you to know that your story matters. Your journey is sacred. Your struggle is not enacted in pure loneliness. All across the world, people like you suffer in the same ways you suffer every day. There is solidarity in our suffering. And in our joy, our love, our victories, our defeats.
Forget my name. Forget my face. In a hundred years, no matter what I accomplish in this life, everyone will have forgotten those things. Because they will be part of the past, and the past is not where God lives. God lives the the sacred Now. I believe I will be recycled as some other version of Now, but I will not be Tawni Waters. Tawni Waters is the form I have taken for a century, give or take, but she is not the beginning or the end of me. She is not what matters. The golden core of her matters. That part of her can never die, with or without celebrity. Celebrity is an attempt to live forever, but the truth is life lives forever. It dies and is reborn as something new. It goes on and on and on.
But maybe I can leave something that matters behind Tawni. Maybe while I’m Tawni, I can sway the world in the direction of love. Maybe I can make you look in the mirror and see the miracle you are, and maybe you will teach your children to do that too, and maybe the bloodbath of human history will die out, give way something beautiful and true, self-love that expands into other-love, human-love that grows to become earth-love, love for all things. Maybe I can be one drop in the ocean of love. That is my goal.
In my dreams, I see something, this rainbow colored light breaking through concrete, slipping into our world, cracking the despair and the hopelessness and the rage and the suffering and the loneliness that have marred our history for so long. I believe that rainbow colored light has many voices. I am honored to be one of them. That, and only that, is the reason that I write.
And if that light chooses to amplify my words, make them accessible to millions, she does. And if she chooses to let me whisper my truth in a few thousand ears, she does. My only end game is that light comes into the world through my life. I think the light that guides my life, and my art, is wiser than I am. I think she knows exactly where I need to stand to be as pure and effective a conduit for the light as I can be.
I don’t write to be famous. I write because I live, and I want to share the magic of my journey with my fellow travelers. I write because I love, and I want my brothers and sisters to know that they are not alone. I write because I am one cell in a great body of light.
P.S. While I was working out today, this song came on my iPod. I always think of this song as being about me (I’m a narcissist like that) because I feel I have lived my whole life with my ear pressed to the ground, waiting for signs of revolution, change, the emergence of light in darkness. When the song said, “The dirt whispered, child I’m coming home. . .through the cracks I’ll slip,” I saw the light from my dreams slipping through the cracks, taking over the world, making it heaven on earth.
P.S.S. And then, as if to add to the thoughts I’d just had, this song from my favorite album of all time came on next, and again, I saw that light when I heard, “And while the rest of us were sleeping, she sent flowers gently creeping through the cracks in the pavement and the cracks in the dam. Everything we steal away, you know someday she’ll take it back again.” Take it back, man. Enough pretense. Enough consumerism. Enough industrialization. Enough hierarchy. Enough war. Bring on the stars. Bring on the flowers. Bring on the light. Take it the fuck back.