What's it about?
Invisible Thread is a musical with a fusion of pop music and African beats. It follows Griffin Mathews as he tries to figure himself out by going to Africa to volunteer. He learns the hard way that there are people in this world who need help and that he does in fact have the power to make a difference.
What'd I experience?
I have three yearbooks at home.
Elementary school. Middle school. High school.
Every so often, I grab those dust-collecting yearbooks from my shelf and flip through the pages, absorbing and reliving the past memories. After experiencing Invisible Thread, I had the sudden urge to run home and flip through those pages. For some reason I was especially excited about flipping through my elementary school yearbook. So at 10:45 PM I finally arrive home. I swiftly greet my family (like I usually do) and hurriedly rush into my messy room to fulfill that hunger.
There it was, propped up against my moleskin notebooks and my empty and unimpressive sketchbooks. My hand slipped into the bookshelf and grabbed that old and weathered yearbook. Black, white and dark blue colors fill my vision as I take in the aesthetically unpleasant cover. I flip through the colorless pages and quickly locate my class picture. The sound of my laughter fills the room as I take in the sharpied top hats, mustaches, beards, and moles that I had drawn on the face of my peers when I was younger.
I quickly scan each page. There's something I'm searching for but I don't know what exactly. I just knew there was something of significance on one of these pages.
And then I found it.
In big bold comic sans font letters the words “When I Grow Up I Want to…” are strewn across the top of the page. And I finally understood why I was so desperate to look through this book after experiencing Invisible Thread. All the boys and girls in my class had said they want to be - doctors, mothers, lawyers, teachers, and artists. But 11-year-old me wanted to be a philanthropist.
Me. A philanthropist.
Being a Bengali American I was well aware of the sadness and the poverty third world countries were faced with from a very young age. And as a result I grew up wanting to help those. I, surprisingly enough, wanted to be a doctor when I was a child because I thought it was the easiest way to help. Not for the money, not for the status, and not even to help men and women here in America - but to move to Bangladesh and help those men and women, the people who no one cared about. Lost in the world of the forgotten, the corrupted, and the used.
It’s funny how life works out because fast forward 9 years and I no longer want to be a doctor (quite the opposite) and I no longer have it in me to go out and help my people. I know it sounds selfish and I know it sounds privileged of me. But I’ve realized something important about who I am, right now. Deep in me, I am still that shy little 9 year old girl who wore two tight braids every day to class, who was hard to understand, and who wanted to make this world a better place. Don’t get me wrong, of course I want to help people, but I can’t even help myself on a daily basis. Some days, most days, it feels like I’m drowning.
But this musical opened the door of new possibilities. I never really thought about helping others to help myself. People need guidance and a reason to live. If you lead a life that is boring and uneventful, that’s not really living is it? Why live a life that requires you to only care for yourself? What’s the gratification of that? Wealth? Power? Status? I don’t really want any of that.
What if I was like Griffin and I decided to heal the wounds in my mind and soul with the gratification and the love that comes from helping. Men, women, and children who don’t have the luxury to care or worry about the things in my life that I care and worry about - like train delays, midterms, and wondering if you should have soup or salad with your sushi.
I think it takes a special and strong kind of person to go to their mother country in hopes to change things for the better. In Bangladesh I believe it to futile to try to help anyone, the country is so corrupt and the ones in power use the strong men and women to do their dirty work. How do you change a society that runs on greed? A society that runs on the blood, sweat, and tears of the working force? There is no way for a single girl to change things.
Or so I thought.
Griffin does change things. He learns that Africa is not the place he thought it would be but that doesn’t stop him, in fact is drives him to further his positive influence. He went there to build houses but left building the lives of his children. With education, dedication, and love, Griffin and his boyfriend take the hardships of these teenagers on their shoulders and help make them into scholars, workers, and helpers of the world, of their nation.
So why can’t I do that? What is in me that stops me? I know if I were to go to a village in Bangladesh I would meet people who would be eternally grateful for the attention and the help but why am I holding myself back?
Am I selfish?
Am I scared?
Unlike many of the questions I ask, this one can be answered in time.
I'm only 18 years old. I still have the rest of my life to answer these question. Who knows where life will take me, maybe in 5 years I will be in Bangladesh teaching underprivileged children their ABC’s and playing hopscotch under the sweltering sun on a hot Wednesday morning with my students during their class breaks. Or maybe I’ll be an advertiser for my favorite company.
Only time will tell who I will grow up to become.