The Hamilton Hangover

Two days post watching Hamilton in the West End, and I admit I have a hangover.  It’s not the headache, stomach twisting, “what did I do?” hangover.  It’s more of an emotional hangover.  I am a little late to the Hamilton game, but scored tickets one year ago for a performance this past week.

I had been listening to the soundtrack for six months, in preparation for the viewing.  I need to listen to rap repeatedly, to take in the lyrics.  I wanted to know and be present for all that would be happening in front of me.  For those who don’t know, Hamilton is an innovative hip hop play of America’s founding fathers.  The majority of the cast are ethnic minorities, which I appreciate.  It’s always been hard to connect to our American history as a multiracial individual, and now to see people who look like me onstage is exciting and relatable.  Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius.  He created this opera after reading Ron Chenrow’s 800 page biography on Alexander Hamilton

For me, writing about the play Hamilton seems to cheapen the experience of it.  It’s as if there are no words to describe it.  Brilliance. Movement. Reflection. Connection. Inspiration.

But why do I have a Hamilton Hangover?

I listened to the soundtrack en route to work yesterday, pre-workout and post-workout.  I arrived at work fired up!  I was feisty and ready to change the world!  My world.  I felt fury for injustice, but there were minimal outlets to express this.  I wanted to advocate for myself.   Emails, interactions with others, or small actions to be taken to stand up for myself. I am not sure that those who were the victims of my emotional hangover knew where my fury was coming from.

“If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”

On my drive home, I reflected on my stirred up, unexplained emotions.  What was the impetus of them?  I actually woke up in a pleasant mood, happy to bring in the day.  There was no answer other than Hamilton.  It was the musical, the lyrics and stirrings stayed with me.  I shared this with my husband and my mother.  Both of them delicately said, “maybe you shouldn’t listen to Hamilton before work.”

But this is what great works of art does! It remains with you.  Whether it is an amazing meal, film, sculpture, poem, or musical.  They haunt your soul, impact your emotions, and sometimes shift your actions.

Certain artistic creations, particularly musicals encourage me to want my change courses in my life in some way.  The longing within is ignited, sometimes for love, creation, travel, connection, and this time a desire to advocate.

I notice this arising, now the question remains, what do I do with this?

Being in the audience of Hamilton reminded me of the meaning of INSPIRATION.  The word comes from breathing in divinity.  It has been said that a higher power or God moves through an individual when they are inspired.  In a previous post, I had shared a Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert who talked about this aspect. When professional dancers in North Africa danced to sacred music for hours, the audience would shout Allah.  “And all of a sudden, he would no longer appear to be merely human. He would be lit from within, and lit from below and all lit up on fire with divinity.” This later transformed to “Ole,” by the Spaniards when bullfighters or flamenco dancers would perform something miraculous.

Ole’ to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the entire cast of Hamilton.  Ole’ to artists of all types who create art that moves themselves and even the masses.  And Ole’ to you to notice moments of inspiration and allow divinity to flow through you in whatever capacity that may be today.

I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine
So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane
You want a revolution? I want a revelation
So listen to my declaration:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident
That all men are created equal”

And when I meet Thomas Jefferson


I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel!”

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