I wrote this originally for TribeHouse here.
I hate to admit it, but last night I watched Oprah’s interview with Lady Gaga. (DISCLAIMER – it was only with half of my brain because the other half was busy building a website (does it still count?). I actually thought it was really interesting to find out some history about this meat-wearing, controversial-magnet, non-house-owning pop icon they call Lady Gaga. I had no idea, for example, that she was bullied so badly as a kid that at one point she was thrown into a trash can.
Then we have our very own Shane Koyczan, a Penticton dweller who doesn’t look much like Ms. Gaga but, as far as I’m concerned, can command a crowd just as well. He’s a writer / author / beat poet who performed “We are more” at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and was the first Canadian to win the Individual Championship title at the US National Poetry Slam. I remember the first time I met him – I ended up playing drums for him at a little coffee shop with my buddy Ari Neufeld where he showed up to support a couple of his other beat-poet friends. I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced someone who could come up with such witty word pictures. Within a few minutes he managed to bring the entire room to laughter, political outrage, fear and sadness with his sexy (yes, you should hear some of his poems about sex) voice that demanded your full heart.
But what does he have in common with Lady Gaga? He was also bullied as a kid.
Bullying is a form of injustice that makes want to take a hockey stick to the back of someone’s knees – probably because I also experienced this as a kid. I was never thrown into a trash can but was teased and thrown under a verbal bus enough to cry through a fair share of lunch hours. I remember wanting justice in those moments. Wanting someone to get back at those insecure a-holes who thought it would be cool to slam the new kid in order to make themselves look like champions in front of their buds.
When I see people like Gaga and Shane now “on top” with a voice, with power, it’s inspiring to hear about what they’re doing to fight back. It’s a beautiful form of justice. Gaga started her Born This Way Foundation and Koyczan preaches his redemptive story of going from being the brunt of all jokes to the inspiration of Canada. He’s now doing some interesting projects like “Instructions for a Bad Day” which was created “with the hope that love would reach those who need it most.”
I just love justice.
These two little stories give me hope that God brings justice in a variety of ways. I believe that sometimes we have to walk through pain in order to have the courage to be a voice for the voiceless.
Who are you being a voice for?
Shane Koyczan’s website: http://www.shanekoyczan.com/
Still struggling with this subject? Watch this and then get out your hockey sticks.