In my early childhood, my taste in movies didn't quite align with the usual animations or lighthearted children's films, although I did find them amusing.
At the young age of four, my mother, in a bid to secure some uninterrupted work time, established a quaint entertainment corner in the basement playroom.
Her tools of distraction were a humble television and a VCR, both artifacts of a past era.
Among her collection of films, there was a beta tape of the 1967 classic, "Camelot," starring the illustrious Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave.
Even now, as I navigate the complexities of life at the age of 48, I can vividly recall the enchantment of those moments.
I would lay sprawled on the cool basement floor, my small chin cradled in the palms of my hands, my eyes wide and unblinking as they drank in the magic unfolding on the screen. I was probably too close to the television, but in those moments, the world outside ceased to exist. All that mattered was the spellbinding spectacle of Camelot, a world of wonder that held me captive in its charm.
"It's true! It's true! The crown has made it clear.
The climate must be perfect all the year.
A law was made a distant moon ago here:
July and August cannot be too hot.
And there's a legal limit to the snow here
~verse from the song Camelot. Music by Frederick Loewe, lyrics and book by Alan Jay Lerner.
Often times, my mom would come to check on me and sometimes, she would catch me singing and dancing and she would join me. I have these incredibly happy memories of me and my mama smiling, laughing, and dancing.
At such a young age, I would naively believe this is what the world was really like. My mom, being the eternal optimist that she is, would tell me things like 'you can do anything you put your mind to' and 'you are a smart, kind spirit who will do great things'. These are not exact quotes but, they are some of the words I carry with me everyday as a reminder. She has always believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself.
I would discover as the years passed by, I can close my eyes and dive into the mystical depths of my soul, unearthing the strength that was spun into the very tapestry of my being. This discovery would become my safe place that I would visit often. This power, a gift from the whispered words and deeds of my mother, is intertwined with the ancient Arthurian lore that whispers of a realm as tangible as Camelot.
It was here, I am convinced, that my passion for the theatre and the art of acting was born.
I found myself able to transcend the confines of reality, venturing into other realms and dimensions, whether I was assuming a character or taking on the role of a director. The position of director held a particular allure for me, and I would often enlist my siblings and the children from the neighborhood to star in a multitude of productions staged in our backyard or basement. Many of these performances were punctuated by dance and singing sequences, the choreography and lyrics for which was also a product of my creative endeavors. I have, and hopefully always will love singing and dancing.
Deep down, at the core of who I am, there's this unshakeable essence that defines me. It's like a sacred lineage that has shaped every step I've taken and every path I've chosen. It's something I consciously embrace, but it also feels like a natural part of me, as effortless as breathing or enjoying a good meal. It brings me comfort and a sense of belonging.
Am I but a perpetual optimist, or do I embody something altogether distinct? Is it naivety that compels me to envision a world where peace reigns supreme and justice dutifully upholds equilibrium? A realm where love and acceptance flow freely, unburdened by the shackles of conditionality, and apologies are tendered with ease. A place where forgiveness is bestowed generously, and the collective lifts one another, cognizant of our shared destiny.
I don't think so. Because when I allow myself to peer through the lens of reality, my heart grows heavy. My shoulders sag, and my head bows low. At times, I find myself ensconced in solitude, reclining for days on end. Thankfully, this is not my natural disposition. However, what does come naturally to me, acceptance, kindness, an instinctual search for the goodness within others, delving into the depths of their souls, striving to comprehend their perspectives, even if only fleetingly, leaves me feeling out of place.
We are all but fragments of stardust, minuscule particles birthed from celestial explosions, yearning to connect with one another. We crave the intimacy of friendships that transcend the boundaries of time, friendships that are not only unconditional but eternal. When I speak of "we," it is with the certitude of a visionary artist. In my mind, it is eternally "we," and it is perpetually "us."
In a world that resembles the enchantment of Camelot, the Israel and Palestine conflict would be a distant memory, replaced by a harmonious coexistence built on understanding and empathy.
People with ASD would be embraced and celebrated for their unique perspectives and contributions, their abilities recognized and nurtured. They would find solace in a society that values their differences and provides the support they need to thrive.
The wide-eyed wonder of that little girl would be mirrored in the eyes of every individual, as they witness the magic of a world where love and acceptance are the foundation upon which our society is built.
The round table of Camelot would serve as a symbol of equality and unity, where all voices are heard and respected, and where the dreams of that little girl and countless others become a reality.
In this world, the enchantment of Camelot would guide our actions and shape our interactions, inspiring us to seek peaceful resolutions to conflicts and to celebrate the unique gifts of every individual.
The wide-eyed wonder of that little girl would be a reminder of the power of imagination and the limitless possibilities that lie within us all.
As we gather around the round table, knights and scholars, artists and dreamers, let us all find strength in our diversity and unity in our shared purpose.
Where the ideals of Camelot are not just a legend, but a living reality.