So, I’ve avoided writing or posting anything about this song or video by Sia (Elastic Heart) on this or any of my other social media sites because, frankly, it’s been surrounded by controversy and I don’t enjoy controversy and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone. But in the interest of sharing my own opinion – whether that continues the controversy, changes some perspectives, or solidifies them….then so be it….and here goes.
I like to write. I enjoy it because (1) it’s fun, (2) I have a chance to express myself, and (3) I like to hear how others receive what I put out there. Because really, I suppose this is my art. I also think that art should move you. The very best art should resonate within you and become a part of you.
That’s where Elastic Heart comes in for me. I love this song. It touches me. I think it’s her voice – it’s so strained but beautiful – and the lyrics – “I want it, I want my life so bad, I’m doing everything I can.” But it wasn’t until I saw the video, that I was really and truly HOOKED.
You can watch the video for yourself HERE.
Now, I’ve read the lyrics, and I understand – this song is about a relationship ending (badly, from the sounds of it) and a person who is walking away strong but admitting their hurt and feelings of defeat. I get it. And I get why people find the video disturbing, given that it’s supposed to be about a relationship and it features a very grown Shia LaBoef dancing around with a young girl (it’s actually Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms).
So I watched a bunch of interviews about the video and the making of it because if it was meant to portray the mistreatment of a child or if the artist was callous to how her art was received by individuals who have been mistreated, then it was going to be banned from my home. I won’t spoil it yet because I still have an idea to share, so I’ll tell you what the interviews revealed later in this post.
But the truth is, I hadn’t watched any of this, or heard any of the negative comments, or anything else before I saw the video. So, when I watched it, I saw something VERY different…
I saw a parent trying SO HARD to parent a special needs child. I saw a parent literally breaking with frustration – pounding their fists against the bars of the cage they are trapped in – carefully reaching out for a wild child – a child tired and weary giving in – a parent making faces to get the kid to laugh and be happy – and a parent who helped the kid escape the prison but by that point, couldn’t go along themselves…the parent was just too damned tired. That’s what I saw. Basically, I took Sia’s art, and I applied it to my life and made it my own. And it made me cry. And I thought it was beautiful.
Then I showed the video to DH. And he saw…wait for it…a dad – trying to help his daughter – and she was so mad at him and frustrated but he never gave up.
Then I showed it to my dad and asked what he saw. “FOR SHAME!” he shouted. Odds were that at least one person in my test group would see something that made them uncomfortable in a bad way. It’s totally reasonable. Like I said, you take in good art and make it your own, in a way. Sia recognized that, too and she apologized for triggering any uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, or memories.
My perception of this song and the video is that it is beautiful. It still makes me cry…and that’s even after knowing what it’s really about! Do you want to know?
Here. I’ll let Maddie tell you herself.
She’s supposed to be a werewolf. She’s basically supposed to be stronger than him and killing him and escaping the prison they’ve been in for a year. A WEREWOLF. I also think it’s funny that she talks about how dirty they both were…and how she was grossed out. She’s also supposed to represent his “self states” and the cage is his skull – how people beat themselves up in their heads.
And in case you want to see a different version – one where there is a woman playing opposite Maddie, HERE you go. It’s just as beautiful and it also makes me cry. And here’s one with a group of dancers on Jimmy Kimmel – a TOTALLY different take. And here is a video about the making of the video.
So, there you have it. I’ve shared some thoughts on art. And I’ve shared an example of something that I see in a vastly different way than other people – probably because of the particular journey I’m on – one I watch so many of my friends go through. Even our kids without special needs – those that are neuro typical…I’m betting they can push their parents to the limit just as much – and I bet their parents have elastic hearts, too…