I’ve heard of it, I’ve seen the pictures and videos but it wasn’t until last weekend that I was able to experience it for the first time.
Mardi Gras is the annual celebration that for many is a period of activity related to celebratory events. Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Sweden, USA and Australia are just some of the nations that are known for leading grand celebrations under the banner of Mardi Gras and what they celebrate is life, love and happiness in the many forms that it exists.
In particular, the Sydney Mardi Gras is the annual LGBT festival that is attended by hundreds of thousands of people from around Australia and the world. This year it celebrated 35 years of love, pride and change and for me was an exhibition of colour, music, dance, art, creativity, passion, love and freedom. For many it was that and much more. I can’t completely put into words the harmonious atmosphere that was alive throughout the celebrations and the after parties that followed, but I can tell you that it brought to the fore of my mind how the world we live in has changed.
I watched men, women and children come together to celebrate life. I watched straight, gay, lesbian, and transgendered communities come together to celebrate love and I watched the army, navy, fire brigade and police forces come together to celebrate freedom. People from different beginnings, on different journeys and of broadening beliefs were altogether in what could be described as a euphoric, uninhibited symphony of gaiety and joyousness. It was a celebration of so many things to so many people and the harmony I’m talking about was the ‘coming together’ of my world and the unique experiences of everyone else around me.
We belong to a generation of new heroes, of pioneers and pathfinders.
Do you remember when black people and white people couldn’t eat from the same table? When a person of colour was inferior and not worth the freedom of life?
Do you remember when women were not given a voice and were stripped of all regard in matters of any importance? When a woman was only meant to serve the man that kept her?
Do you remember when being gay was a sin and a disease that required religion to find its cure? When sexuality was a choice and those that made the wrong choice were faggots, queers, and outcasts?
What happened to God loving all his children equally or is that now somehow forgotten?
Well, what do you expect when we paraphrase a book written 3500 years ago...
We belong to a generation that for the first time in human history has an opportunity to truly see the world first hand. Todays world is much smaller than ever before and we are part of a generation that can see further, learn faster and adapt more easily than those before us. I have travelled the world and I have seen so much of its faults and failings… all man made. But beyond that I have seen the similarities that have shown me how we truly are all the same.
We feel as others feel, we bleed as others bleed, we love as others love and we all desire a life like none other before us. The difference is that now we are capable of making that happen. The slaves are free, women rule and sex happens… in lots of different ways…
Allow me to share with you an idea.
We live in two worlds; the world that we are born into, that existed before us and that will continue to exist long after we are gone. And there is the world that exists BECAUSE we were born, created by us and then ceases after we have passed on.
That world, your world, is the one that matters the most and how you move in that world and live in that world affects the one we all share, the one you & I were born into, the one with all the wars and deaths and poverty and prejudice.
For me, Mardi Gras is an example and a demonstration of how the actions of individuals over the years have impacted the world we all share in a very positive way.
You may not build an empire, but you can leave a legacy.. make it a positive one.
* This blog was inspired in part by the work of Macklmore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert