Early last Saturday morning, I was at the gym when a friend sent me a YouTube clip. Needing a good laugh, I watched it. I’ve heard people say you can’t eat while you’re crying. Well, I can now add: you can’t do push-ups while you’re laughing…
Tori Locklear Burns Her Hair Off
On Monday, February 18, Tori Locklear, a middle school student in Florida, posted a YouTube video tutorial for curling hair. Except it wasn’t your typical video tutorial. In the midst of the 109-second video, she makes one pretty critical mistake: she burns her hair right off.
[Click the video immediately above this line to watch it. If it doesn’t appear in your feed or e-mail, click here to watch the video at UnTangled.]
By last Saturday morning, the video had begun to go viral, and within one week, it had been viewed more than 12 million times and the young lady had appeared on the morning talk show circuit.
“Virality” is, of course, what so many YouTubing teens are hoping for these days. Yet, I’m certain the clip didn’t go viral because she wanted it to. I think it went viral because of one basic truth of existence: our mistakes make us beautiful.
Our Mistakes Make Us Beautiful
We secretly believe we have to be fixed before we can be beautiful. But the opposite is true. Our brokenness is an integral part of our beauty, because:
Our mistakes make us human. When she realizes her hair has come off and begins to go through the full range of human horror—from stunned shock to a flash of sadness to a kind of angry resignation—she reveals her humanity. Our perfect veneers keep us separate and lonely. So, when we experience the broken, fragile, and beautiful humanity in others, we feel a sense of connection. It may even connect us with the broken-beautiful humanity within ourselves.
Our mistakes make us interesting. If Tori had ended up with a perfect curl and posted the video to YouTube, she would have gotten a hundred views from her closest friends and family. There are—probably quite literally—a million beauty tutorials on the web. They’re instructional, but they aren’t interesting. Tori is interesting to us because her mistake made her unique. We all have our own unique set of mistakes, and that makes each one of us incredibly interesting.
Our mistakes make us courageous. The video was an epic fail, yet she posted it anyway. And I adore her courage. Our mistakes make us vulnerable. They are the chinks in our armor, so we spend most of our time hiding them. Tori did the opposite. She embraced her mistake and made it available for a global audience. This might sound ridiculous, but I think that kind of courage can change the world.
Our mistakes make us joyful. Happiness is what happens when everything in life is lining up just right. Unfortunately, life always regresses to chaos, and usually pretty quickly. So happiness becomes this fleeting experience that we’re always struggling to hold on to. Joy, on the other hand, is not dependent upon any kind of circumstance. It’s the belly laugh in the midst of our sorrows and failures and disappointments. Without mistakes and disappointments, there is no possibility for joy. I couldn’t do my push-ups because joy had me shaking with laughter.
Our Cracks Let the Light Out
I walked out of the gym last Saturday morning still giggling. As I approached my car, I stopped short and my laughter died away.
My car was parked in a line of seven cars. Every single one was a four-door sedan of exactly the same silver color, with slightly different makes and models. They looked essentially identical. And it occurred to me: “Without our mistakes and miscues and foibles, humanity would look like this line of cars: identical and boring and bland.”
Leonard Cohen sang, “There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” I think he may have told us only half of the truth, though. Because I think there is a crack in everything, and that’s also how the light gets out.
Tori Locklear has given us all an opportunity to look inside, to see the light we carry within us, and to see our cracks—our mistakes and failures and disappointments—in an entirely new way. They aren’t something to be ashamed of or to hide beneath pristinely coiffed hair or a perfect public image.
Our cracks are the place our light gets out. The world doesn’t need another perfect person; it needs the light pouring out of every one of your mistakes.
Thanks, Tori, for the reminder.
Why do you think the video went viral? Share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post.
Free eBook: My eBook, The Marriage Manifesto: Turning Your World Upside Down, is available free to new blog subscribers. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can click here to subscribe, and your confirmation e-mail will include a link to download the eBook. Or, the book is also now available for Kindle and Nook.
The Mess: The messy places in life—and the messy places within ourselves—present us with a choice. Because the mess is where our shame collides with grace. We can choose to succumb to shame. Or we can fight back. Come visit The Mess, and join the rebellion against shame. And as always, thank you for reading; it’s a gift. Sincerely, Kelly
Preview: I pre-empted my next post, “How to Transform Marital Conflict into Common Ground,” with this one. The “Common Ground” post is now scheduled for this Friday, March 1.
Other Posts Related to Brokenness and Beauty
- JoePa and the Death of Story
- The Mess Will Set You Free!
- We Wish You a Messy Christmas!
- Why Broken Lampshades Are the Best Gift This Holiday Season
- A Manifesto for Grace: How a Radical Embrace Changes Everything
- Why Grace is Free and We Still Don’t Buy It
- Why Good Enough Love is Better Than Amazing Love
- The Best Way to Guarantee A Blog Post is Not Shared on Facebook
- What Dressing Up Like a Rockstar Taught Me About Shame and Grace