In NYC, people are flocking inside to get rained upon.
People are waiting in lines for upward of four hours to be engulfed by a stream of waterfall-like rain without getting soaked. The Museum of Modern Art's newest art installation, the Rain Room finally accomplishes what we all have dreamt would happen when we’ve been stuck in the rain: the ability to walk through a downpour without actually getting wet. In an entirely black, cube-shaped room with a square platform in the center, water descends like rain. Floor sensors detect participants’ footsteps and create corresponding virtual umbrellas above them, so that rain falls around them but not overhead. The room is dark, with only one bright—nearly blinding—white light on the horizon. Your eyes lose focus as you stare into the abyss, surrounded only by the glistening rain around you and the room is nearly silent, with the exception of other people softly murmuring and the unyielding pitter-patter of falling rain.
Being a Junior Associate of the MoMA has its exclusive privileges and, on the night of Tuesday, July 17th, the exhibit was exclusively opened for us. Maybe I can attribute it to the exhibit being awe-inspiring ...or maybe, just because was dark in there, but either way—the exhibit made us all feel a sense of camaraderie.
As we all approached the platform, there was a palpable feeling of awe, excitement, and apprehension. Not knowing whether you were about to get soaked right then and there was both intimidating and exhilarating: like a giant leap of faith. As I immersed myself in the rain, I felt a rush and thrill that it worked, and then very aware of how alone I was, awkward and unsure of my next step. But then, as you stood and breathed, it became awe-inspiring. I let the experience wash over me and absorbed the sheer beauty… of the water. Like being swept away, I felt at peace.
By the end of my experience there (despite the claims of dry walking), I had somehow managed to have become semi-soaked. My previously dry hair, which I had straightened before the event, was soaked and curled. My look for the evening had entirely evolved and the rain bounced my hair back to its natural curly, wild mane-like state!
I love the fact that just, by chance, The Rain Room revealed my real hairdo: a style and a part of myself that I had not intended to share with my peers that night and that they would not have seen otherwise. I felt like the wet darkness of the rain had exposed a side of my inner self which I ordinarily would not have shown, but which I love about myself. It was a profound: a reflection of how the rain, even the most basic natural experience, can change us and change the way others see us.
It was beautiful to be able to share a different side of myself with my peers after my time in the Rain Room, thanks to my time there. I could have been frustrated that my hair wasn’t “perfect,” the way I’d envisioned it for the night, but instead—in embracing the humor and happiness and beauty of the situation, I felt such inner peace and serenity that I felt an even higher self-acceptance than before and an even higher sense of camaraderie with the other participants. I felt confident to have my hair curly. Having to forfeit myself the elements imbued me with a sense of release and relief. Having to give into the circumstances around us, and being able to appreciate the experience of doing so, is an act of growth and empowerment.
In our lives: despite the rain, beauty can come of it. We need not fear getting our hair wet. Even if we feel surrounded, nervous, scared, and uncomfortable—even if we want to run out at first—staying in and weathering that bad weather allows us to see things through different eyes.
Even if we get a little wet, it’s worth it. Maybe ESPECIALLY if we get a little wet.
Recognize the beautiful moments in life because it is beautiful to be able to see the sunshine through the rain.
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Have a good day and a great night! xoxo, Michelle