via Donald Glover @childishness
This morning I woke up to media buzz about Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) and his hotel napkin confessions - made public on Instagram. Facebook friends were all concerned that he is "lost" and "alone".
I believe that people, who are willing to be vulnerable should be applauded and welcomed, not pitied.
Every time someone is honest, they give permission to every person who hears them to do the same. How is what Glover wrote sad? Glover is an artist, and as such, it is in his nature to share and reveal intimate parts of himself with total strangers. Maybe we just don't like the part of himself that he is sharing this time. He seems very comfortable with the complexity of his emotions. But we aren't.
Glover is a well known musical artist, comedic actor and writer. I don't think that the napkin confessions reveal that he is a lonely kid lost in L.A. I think it reveals that he is a lonely kid lost in L.A. who is in the process of finding himself and happiness. What is sad or unsettling about that? If he is indeed depressed, or going through a crisis, I'm glad he's trying in his own way to deal with his demons and get better. The whole napkin episode may be his way of attempting to heal or change.
As American's we don't like our celebrities (especially the black males) to share anything too personal or too deep. Just look at the whole Kanye West and Jimmy Kimmel fiasco. When Glover is talking about sleeping with lots of women, or writing jokes for big networks, we know what to expect and we're comfortable with what he's sharing. When he starts getting deep and delving into existential philosophy, we think, "wow this kid is depressed". Seriously?
I was relieved that his napkins at least had something honest and real to convey. American women don't need another party anthem or video that portrays us as mere sex objects. We need honesty.
Maybe if more people were willing to be honest with themselves and others about their fears and needs, we'd be a happier society. Pretending that you need no one, that youre life is perfect, that you've got it all together, is a suffocating trap that is easily perpetrated by Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets. Who really is going to post online that they only have $2 in their bank account? That their wife left them and their kids are failing in school? No one. Instead, we are more likely to post pictures from our family trip to the Bahamas (before the mess hit the fan).
As women, we often put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, trying to fit into a standard of perfection that is unattainable. The first step to throwing off the burden of perfectionism, is admitting that perfection is impossible.
Maybe Glover is just being introspective. My hope is that his napkin episode is nothing more than a man being honest with himself and the world.
Perhaps it is my degree in Philosophy and my Christian faith which have dulled my ability to feel sad when a person speaks truthfully, because I believe that honesty is essential to healing. An unswerving optimist, I believe that this outpouring on his part is the first of many more positive choices for Glover.
While in college, I basically spent four years questioning the meaning of truth and the nature of human existence. In the end, my faith won, and it was this statement that transformed my view of the world: "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32).