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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Floodgates Have Opened

I would like to give sincere thanks to this wretched election cycle for bringing to light so many of the topics that have lain dormant, roiling beneath the surface, begging to be addressed.

We have not reached any conclusions or solutions, and for those of us who have been on any healing process (whether small or large, physical, emotional or mental) we know that it can get worse before it gets better.  Old wounds are being ripped open again, plenty of our citizens are aching on both sides of the proverbial aisle.  I'll share some of my thoughts here, but I'm not offering solutions either, really.  I am (mysteriously, somehow) optimistic that once we all have a chance to feel heard, we can find some common ground - even though -

Anger abounds, recriminations, accusations, and fear-mongering seem rampant.

And in the middle of all the wailing and gnashing of teeth hope flowers innocently in me.  In my core, at the center of my being, I am grateful that we are facing these difficult conversations, and facing our shame, facing our hatred.

We each host all the feelings of betrayal, of black lives and of blue lives, the disdain for immigrants, and the gratitude for the courage our ancestors showed immigrating themselves, the disgust and shame and guilt and rage for ever having such a thing as rape, such a thing as abortion, or such a thing as machine guns in the hands of mentally unstable people, in the hands of children, in the hands of terrorists.  And the disgust and shame and guilt and rage for having allowed men of certain privilege off with a slap on the wrist, or forcing women with unwanted pregnancy to travel hundreds of miles or carry the child to term or pay $25,000, or not having responded with legislation in the wake of Sandy Hook, or Fort Hood, or Colombine, or Newtown, or San Bernardino, or Isla Vista, or why is this list so long and seemingly never-ending when we have the ability as a people to limit access to the tools for mowing down dozens of people in a matter of minutes --- not just the ability, the responsibility.

I lost the thread for a minute there...a sea of unshed tears, of hopelessness and frustration with a deadlock-stalemate-checkmate which would be alright if so many lives were not lost in this fight over power, over money, over legislation.  I do support our right to bear arms.  If those arms aren't semi-automatic killing machines.  No one is coming to confiscate the hunting rifles, at least I'm not...I think we've suffered enough tragic losses to introduce better regulation, longer waiting periods, and maybe having certain priors should disqualify a person from buying certain kinds of fire power...And more regulations equals more jobs...

And wherever we turn our gaze, the floodgates of opinions and facts and emotion have opened, and people are sharing their pain, their hearts, their minds.

Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and I see the shining hope bursting out of the deepest darkest abyss, a female black police officer shouting her outrage in a video on social media and being seen and validated and heard and supported.  This world of false dichotomies, the suckers choice of pretend fences, as if there is a simple right or wrong, or a clear path or solution.

And refugees are merely an idea to most of us.  I have made many friends through the dance community, and even dated a handful of men from Mexico or Guatemala.  Maybe you can imagine being separated from your family, but this is different.  Living in fear of being deported.  Living here and knowing if you went home to visit you would not be able to come back across without risking your life.  Sending money home.  And then finding out your brother was killed in a car accident, and you haven't been home in 7 years, and you can't go home to bury him.  It's still only an idea to me, but it is an idea that breaks my heart.  And you hope you can be hired to do work that will pay you, without cheating you because who can you turn to if the boss doesn't pay you what they promised?  And what kind of a boss will hire an illegal immigrant, other than one who knows they can pay them less than any other kind of worker?  What a land of opportunity!  How can I want to close our borders when most of our American population is descended from immigrants ourselves?  Hypocrites.  And yet, my heart hardens and my blood runs cold at the thought of living daily as they do in Israel, and Syria, and Pakistan -- hugging their loved ones not knowing if it will be their bus that a suicide bomber boards that day.  I am uncomfortable with that level of paranoia, and so far have been blessedly shielded from that constant true terror.  But somehow my body understands the threat as real, and I cannot help but wonder and worry. 

And the amazing courage of a member of the LDS faith sharing on facebook about her late-term (but necessary) abortion.  Sometimes the worst choice is upon you, and at that moment you need the love and support of your doctor, your family, and your community.   Federal and state governments do not get to weigh in, do not enter the equation.  She humbled me with telling her truth, in spite (or maybe because of) the ideals she is raised with.  Thank you for stepping into the light with this gut-wrenching and tragic personal loss.  Along with at least a half a dozen more who felt compelled to share their painful stories in response to the presidential debate.  Women who might otherwise have hidden in the shadows, giving comfort to countless other women who did not know they were not alone, and that they are not murderers when faced with their own death or the unsustainable lives of their unborn angels.  Silence is tempting, and comfortable, but these brave souls stepped into the light to comfort others, educate others, and change the narrative.

And more women finding the courage to come forward and share #whywomendontreport, and the eye-opening stories that might give people pause rather than further shaming the great fictitious gender divide.   The writers blogging about all the things women face on a daily basis and are expected to accept.  Actually, no, there is no expectation...expectation assumes that it was on a list or on anyone's radar...but so much is so deeply buried in the subtext and underpinnings of "how things are" or "how the world works" that not only is it not an expectation, it's barely even been identified.  So well hidden, many (men and women alike) might even from within its very framework question its existence.  Non-binary gender identity may be what saves our human race.  Transgendered men and women may soon be called upon to bear witness and be our mediators in this battle that has been boiling beneath the surface for hundreds of years...because only someone who has lived life in both hormonal states can tell us what the common ground can be.

The honest authentic human stories people are finding the courage to share are ugly, repulsive, heart-wrenching, volatile, triggering...and what can be born out of this wreckage might just be empathy.  Bring out the worst, let it boil over, let the world feel seen and heard...

Perhaps the brave souls will continue to come forward as they have been doing lately more and more, sharing their personal struggles and overlapping loyalties.  We need, now more than ever, to come together in hurt, and in healing...and take action to weave our narratives into a new configuration.


  1. If only the things we worry about would cross the minds of our legislators who will start the next election fund raising cycle on November 9th.

    1. Yes. Perhaps we need to get back to stamps and envelopes and send those legislators a piece of our minds...?

    2. Or phone calls - they work best, especially when you get lots of people to make them and you can reach a human being.
      They get tallied (pro and con) and the numbers make an impression even if details get lost.
      Just be sure the action you want taken is in the first sentence no matter what method you use.
      During their many vacations, DC lawmakers are in their local offices like now, when so many are working to get re-elected. A call to the DC office too can't hurt!
      E-mail is second - but it can be overwhelming to the staff to sort through because it's the easiest therefore the most used method.
      But letters often are seen as representing a lot more than one voice since only 1 in 100 are likely to write - or even 1 in 1000. Petitions help too.
      Whatever we can do, we have ways to make our voices heard!