|"Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are."|
— Lady Gaga
Have you ever heard of the Nazirites? Let me tell you about them.
Since childhood I have known about the Israelite holy men and women known as the Nazirites. I knew the story of Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist but I never really thought much about it. It was only when listening to historian Ray Vander Laan's "That the World May Know" series that I learned the most important thing about the Nazirite vow namely the reason it exists. See I knew from my days in Sunday School that the Nazarite vow required three things:
- Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, intoxicating liquors and vinegar distilled from such.
- Refrain from cutting the hair on one's head
- Avoid corpses and graves, even those of family members, and any structure which contains such (Apparently for some this ban on dead things also meant not eating meat)
Those were the Nazirites of old. Now, let me tell you about mine.
|"For being different, it’s easy. But to be unique, it’s a complicated thing."|
— Lady Gaga
There are a lot of words people use to describe Lady Gaga but I don't think the word "holy" is usually among them. Yet if "holy" is to mean "different" and "unique" then she has to be the holiest person I know by a long shot! There really is no one else like her. Some artists reinvent themselves with every album they release but she seems to reinvent herself anew every morning. She sets a new standard for concepts like "different" and "unique", she's a hyper dramatic, beautiful freak. She may be full of shit but she is never less than true to herself. She changes all the time and yet she is always aggressively her, sometimes only more so - every prop she ads on only makes her more her. She stands out wherever she goes, she blends in nowhere and she is impossible to miss. She is truly, fundamentally Holy/Different.
You know what, my description sounds a little clumsy. I think she said it a lot better than me in her latest column for V Magazine (I'd very much recommend the entire article):
Now while she is clearly unique, that in itself is not enough to qualify her as a Nazirite. After all, you can't throw a brick into a room full of artists without hitting someone "different" looking! Merely looking strange is not enough, for a Nazirite is never odd just for the hell of it, a Nazirite is different for a purpose and that purpose involves other people. Here is where she transcends most of her peers. As you can probably tell from her quotes, she certainly does use her uniqueness as a platform to reach out to others, to remind them that it's OK for them to be different too. To see how successful she is with her message, look no further than her fans. Especially to unpopular, bullied teens and those in the LGBT community - in other words, those under the most pressure to suppress who they are and conform to societal expectations - she has been a light in the darkness. This is her message and it is heard far and loud, you don't have to be like everyone else, you can be a freak and be proud. You don't have to try to fit in, there's no shame if you don't, you can be who you are and be loved and valued for it. If you let her, she will remind you that being yourself is a good thing.
|"You have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way."|
— Lady Gaga
So then, may I present to you - Mother Monster, Champion of the queer, Friend of the odd, Goddess of the Night, Queen of the freaks, High Priestess of the Holy Darkness, Hammer of the Status Quo, Enemy of Conformity, The Voice of change calling you out from the desert of bland, the Strange Beauty, the Lying Truth, Patron Saint of Aggressively being yourself: Lady Gaga, Last of the Nazirites!
|"I want you to walk out of her tonight not loving me more, but loving yourselves more."|
— Lady Gaga