It’s been cool reading everyone’s I Have a Dream riffs from yesterday’s Dream Day campaign by NBC.
There’s a lot about equality, the hunger crisis, and education, along with a few gems about higher morality for people in power and longer, healthier lives for our children and grandchildren.
Since I’m a sucker for bandwagons and jumping on them, here’s my contribution:
I have a dream that we would all teach those around us how to love, respect, and take care of themselves by showing them.
Everyone gets self-conscious now and then, but dangerously low self esteem is practically an epidemic in this country, and it bothers me. I say dangerously because I see it as a source of all kinds of other societal plagues—bullying, suicide, eating disorders, shootings, etc.
It’s not always the people you think, either. I’m still pretty rattled about reality star Gia’s recent suicide (remember her from the Bachelor?).
This girl was insanely beautiful, probably not broke, and running around dating NBA players. And she hung herself with a vacuum cleaner cord after a fight with her boyfriend. (Sorry for the morbidity…)
I’m not saying that she had no reason to be upset—obviously I have no idea what was really going on in her head—I’m just saying that you never know who could be struggling, and you can’t easily tell how much they’re struggling. No one is immune to this and no one can be written off.
This whole phenomenon has bothered me for a long, long time. In high school, I wrote a story for a local writing contest about two cousins—one, the head cheerleader with the perfect hair and the perfect boyfriend, and the other, the weirdo outcast with strange hobbies and no friends. The beginning of the story was all about the outcast’s jealousy and contempt for her cousin, and how she would go out of her way to be as different from her as possible because she thought she couldn’t possibly be like her. It was only after the cheerleader committed suicide (kind of dark content for a teenager, I know) that her cousin learned the real story—the tragic rape story, the little sister who was actually her cousin’s daughter, and the recent news that the perfect boyfriend was dying from cancer.
Even at that age, when I was going through self esteem issues of my own, I knew that it could be worse, and that it could be anyone. Even the least likely people.
(I won that contest, too, which meant I had to read that entire, hugely emotional story out loud in front of a group of strangers at the award ceremony…I’m surprised, to this day, that I survived it.)
We might not feel like we have a lot of control over society’s education issues or the hunger crisis, but this is a dream that we can all participate in, starting right now. You never know who’s watching you, learning from you, and secretly molding their lives into a reflection of yours.
This especially applies to all of us parents, who are tasked with the monumental job of being positive role models for our kids. You can tell your daughter she’s beautiful all day long, but if you can show her that you think you’re beautiful, that’s going to be a thousand times more powerful.
On a lighter note, I also have a dream that I would learn to like black coffee.
Both to impress people (of course) and to not be so reliant on sweeteners, in general.
I’ve been trying to ease up on the sweeteners since I cut aspartame out of my life, but I still like a little somethin-somethin in there. I’ve been going for almond milk or natural creamers lately, but I wish I could break up with them, too. Has anyone else successfully trained themselves to like—legitimately like—black coffee??
The anti-Diet Coke campaign is going great, though. I haven’t touched the stuff and have no desire to—when I see a can of Diet Coke, I just think of those headaches I used to get, and suddenly it has zero appeal. I was actually even more embarrassed that it took me this long after reading your comments on my original post, haha—I guess everyone else dropped it decades ago. Where have I been??
I’m experimenting with different alternatives, though, just for fun. This is sitting in our fridge right now:
It’s very plain, and I didn’t immediately like it, but it’s a perfect little super-light refresher for those times I want something other than water. It’s definitely growing on me.
What’s your dream?
Favorite non-water refreshment?