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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...

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why I'm with her

I think my grandmother might have wanted Bernie to be our nominee, he aligns with so many core-values I know she holds so very dear.  A lot of us still do love him and what he stands for.  But if we can't have Bernie as our nominee, I know that she would have been fiercely in Hillary's corner.  And now, for the first time publicly, so am I. 

She is certainly flawed, no doubt about it.  Maybe she comes across school-marmy to some, or triggers mom-thoughts in others.  Maybe she's not relate-able enough.  Maybe she is kind of boring, or a stickler.  Maybe she smiles too wide, or not enough.  Maybe she tries too hard, or not hard enough.  A woman being scrutinized for showing too little emotion (cold-hearted b*tch) or too much (hormonal and hysterical) emotion.

Sound familiar?  Being measured not on our content but on our delivery is so frustrating, I wrote a whole blog about it.  In case you missed it, here's a link: Just a Little Uptalk(?) with a Side of Vocal Fryyyyy

And all the avoidance of the topic of gender, all the while hinting and strumming the patriarchy.  We haven't asked ourselves out loud in a long time, but the question of a woman's place in society, a woman's strengths and weaknesses, a woman's temperament, a woman's judgment is hovering around the outskirts of this whole campaign like some kind of toddler asking why who won't be silenced by "because that's how it's always been." 

Maybe she is boring.  And steady.  Willing to take calculated risks, such as the (from his perspective anyway) low-blow about DT looking for tax loop-holes, which so famously provoked his "such a nasty woman" comment, which has fired up - finally (and hopefully not too late) - a *lot* of women.  I did not watch the Benghazi hearings, but I understand they went on for many, many (11+) hours.  I did sit through 2.5 out of 3 of the Presidential Debates. 

Maybe she will compromise on something that makes me very unhappy sometime in the future during her term.  Maybe she will continue hemorrhaging money into our military, rather than education, veterans, social services programs, or building a stop-gap so that Obamacare does not increase the premiums as much as is being predicted.  I would hate that, for sure...but I don't think our newsrooms would be able to keep up with the daily back-pedaling or weekly gaffs and scandals.  DT has bragged about being predatory/inappropriate with women and taking advantage of his celebrity status.  Whether you believe he was egged on or not, no one forced him to say the words, and no one forced him to feel this way toward beautiful women...oh was their beauty, right?  He had no control their beauty - it's like a magnet...

My paranoid mind is thinking the predictions about increasing premiums for Obamacare were released at a suspiciously pivotal time in our election cycle - was it to create fear and influence the voters to choose DT?  Of course the audio of DT's unfortunate bragging about violating women's personal boundaries also was released at a pretty strategic time to influence voters to choose HRC.  So this paranoid mind of mine begins to wonder what is at stake and who stands to benefit and who is pulling the strings, whipping the media's nose this way and that?  Have we all seen Wag The Dog, a brilliant political satire?  If not I highly recommend it.  But who is producing this shit-show?

At the end of the day, I am a lot of things, but I am also a woman.  I went to a highly-intellectual college where I tried every day not to allow my gender to be a factor...but it was a factor more days than I care to admit.  It was a factor when the young men around me would debate each other and dismiss my question or contribution to the discussion, or ignore me altogether.  It was a factor when my emotions made my voice shake with passion and conviction but my peers heard that shaking as weakness.  It was a factor when I started to slowly swallow my own voice, and hope someone else would say my thoughts.  And not just in college, because there have been times in my career as a manager that I had to get creative in order to get results.  I found a male counterpart to speak to a male staff-member because at the end of the day I didn't need to be perceived as powerful, I needed to get a job done.  I had to be willing to be underestimated, undermined and side-lined sometimes, and swallow my pride to get a result.  I am still learning to control how my face shows my emotion, and electing to navigate waters that don't require me to fake a stone face.

By the way, I cannot imagine DT ever had to swallow his pride to get results.  Just saying.  And maybe some of you are voting for him because you believe his show of strength will get results...and maybe they would get short term reactions/responses because he is basically a bully.  But I also think he would burn too many bridges, and stuff it to too many foreign dignitaries and we would be left cleaning up the mess in 4 years...if it can even be repaired.  No.  I cannot allow for that possibility.  The risks are simply too high.  We need someone more moderate.

I have never been married, but I have been cheated on, and maybe a part of me resents the fact that she didn't choose to leave Bill during or after the harrowing humiliation and public proceedings of the mid-'90's.  Maybe I thought staying was a choice that showed some kind of weakness in her, or that she in some way sanctioned his behavior by not divorcing him, or separating from him.  On the other hand, maybe staying takes more strength of character than leaving does.  Maybe staying gave their marriage a new dynamic.  It is not my place to judge, really.  But in a way we are being asked to judge who might be best at leading this country, and aside from policy their lives are also sort of on trial.  But why oh why is her marriage on trial while he has had three marriages, two of which began as affairs??  Is it still high school where if a boy is promiscuous he is some kind of stud-muffin and a girl who gives it up is a slut? 

I know that any political figure will have gaffs, and need a spin room.  But electing a reality superstar like DT whose sole purpose seems to be to stay in the headlines as much as possible (for better or worse) would be a COLOSSAL MISTAKE.  He has demonstrated to us in the last year that he does not have self-control.  He does not keep his cool under pressure, and he takes pride in being unscripted, but the things that come out of his face unscripted are nearly always offensive to someone.  He has not demonstrated a willingness to admit wrong-doing or wrong-saying, has no desire to compromise because he is only interested in winning, or screwing his opponent.  And he certainly does not have a shred of humility.  He is the classic abuser, in the sense that he tells you what to expect and also tells you you're gonna like it, and then delivers, and then if you object he starts calling you weak or sensitive or whiny and suggests you're over-reacting.

I hear the Donald might get his own channel on television...and that would be perfect.  People can choose to tune in and watch All Trump all the time, let him rant and rave and rally on the telly.  Like the evangelicals, he'll probably have quite the following and they'll probably even open their wallets for him, and fund him.  Let them make a program where they address him as President Trump and he can afford to build his own little pretend Oval Office and be like a little critic jabbing at all the mistakes being made by the actual current administration.  He could get rich doing more of that for a very specific audience of neo-nazis, KKK members, and other white-supremacists.  Let them have their outlet, they clearly need one.  Let them voice their intolerance to each other.  Let it end there, safely, in a make-believe TV-land...there could even be a children's show called Mr. Trump's Neighborhood.  (I shudder to think, but let them have their slice of the universe...just leave the rest of us alone.)

Hillary is imperfect, as we all are.  And she is not pretending to be otherwise.  She does not claim infallibility, or make so many promises of greatness or winning.  She is not as exciting to watch, perhaps.  But I think we've had enough excitement.  She is capable, and she is steady, and I believe she will win this race, and more than that - I believe she will guide this nation through some treacherous waters, while keeping a few important priorities straight, not the least (nor the most) of which is Roe v Wade.

And though I do not know HRC any more than I know DT, I see in her a breadth and depth of experience and character.  I see in her self-control.  I see her ability to keep her cool under pressure.  I see in her the ability to rise above conflict.  I see in her the impulse and desire to reach across the aisle and compromise - to find common ground.   She has demonstrated a willingness to learn and evolve, a willingness to admit wrong-doing or wrong-saying (famously recently the basket of deplorables comment, which she has apologized for) and the steely determination to soldier on through the thick and thin.  She has the ability and humility to shoulder the awesome responsibility of being this great nation's leader.  And I'm with her - 100%.

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