And this movie, rather than a literal, historically accurate retelling of the life of the infamous ringmaster is more of an inspired commentary on giving a voice or a stage or a spotlight to those who've been invisible in society.
But as I'm guessing is true for so many others, it also hits me deeper with a laser-like intensity. In This Is Me, Lettie Lutz, the bearded lady in PT Barnum's menagerie, sings:
I am not a stranger to the dark. Hide away, they say. 'Cause we don't want your broken parts. I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars. Run away, they say, No one will love you as you are.
But I won't let them break me down to dust. I know that there's a place for us. For we are glorious.
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down. I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out. I am brave. I am bruised. I am who I'm meant to be. This is me.
Look out 'cause here I come. And I'm marching on to the beat I drum. I'm not scared to be seen. I make no apologies, this is me.
Another round of bullets hits my skin. Well fire away 'cause today I won't let the shame sink in. We are bursting through the barricades and reaching for the sun. We are warriors. Yeah that's what we've become.
So while I'm no bearded lady (although I can't find my tweezers and there is a bit of a situation brewing) I feel like every word in this song reverberates through my soul. Going through a dark time of questioning things I used to think I was sure of, and the well-meaning but surprising reactions some people had to those questions, made me feel a bit like I had to hide. Like if I didn't believe the "right things" then I had no right to be a believer at all.