“Let he among us without sin be the first to condemn!” This line is from the song “La Vie Boheme,” the finale of the first act in Jonathan Larson’s 1996 Tony Award winning musical “Rent.” The scene is presented at a small, insignificant restaurant in New York City, the Life Café, where a group of 1990’s “bohemians,” including a lesbian lawyer, a nightclub dancer, and a drag queen, raise their glasses to everything inappropriate, outrageous, racy, scandalous, and, well, different for the undesired pleasure of four conservative rich businessmen regretfully seated at the table next to theirs. I believe in this song; I believe that “sins” should be celebrated, if playing hooky, cross-dressing, and marijuana are indeed sins.
I do not believe that there is anybody in this world who is “normal,” or “perfect.” Normal is pretend; a lie used to make us feel more comfortable. Because ultimately they frighten people, differences that vary from the norm have caused there to be racism, sexism, and simply discrimination in general. However, without personal differences the world would resemble the films “Pleasantville” and “Edward Scissorhands,” or the town in the beginning of the novel “The Giver.” Differences should be embraced; “sins” should be embraced. I find “sins” to be delightful, because they strip away any fake exterior impressions of identical, well-kept houses with evenly-trimmed lawns all in a row, and bring out the gritty realities of life. I find it funny how people refrain from sharing certain truths about themselves, such as unique family circumstances or past mistakes, in hopes of obtaining a “normal” portrayal. Yet, what is normal? Who is flawless? What characteristics are deemed as flaws? The answers are who knows, who knows, and who knows, because nobody would be able to consent. I would much rather disagree, argue, and fume about differences I cannot understand, than ride in a red Volkswagen which matches that of my neighbor’s, and her neighbor’s, and his neighbor’s. So instead of bowing my head in discomfort and shame, I have learned to rejoice in my own and other’s “sins.”
From yogurt to eating disorders, from Buddha to PeeWee Herman, from turpentine to dildos, “La Vie Boheme” revels and triumphs everything this world offers us. Concerning myself with portraying a perfect normal girl seems a dreadful chastisement when there are so many other shocking “sins” to celebrate and set me apart from others. I believe that I can have a splendid time governing my life this way (meaning I hold no government for it at all). “To anyone out of the mainstream, is anyone in the mainstream?” No! And it’s wonderful that way. This I believe.
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