What are your American Dreams?
Hi. My name is Katie Powderly.
We are in the midst of a strange time in American history, between the political landscape, the economy, the environment, the state of education, you name it. It seems that, as a culture, our morale is sagging. More and more I am hearing a cultural narrative with the implicit message, “Why bother?” It’s as though many people have just quietly accepted the “fact” that, as a nation, we’re past the point of no return. Things are in too dire a condition to change, and certainly just one person cannot make a difference.
I staunchly disagree.
Like you, I am a lot of things. I am a writer, a musician, an artist, an academic, a patriot, a feminist, a foodie, a gardener, a lover and at times, a leaver. But, perhaps most importantly, I am a dreamer. More specifically, I still wholeheartedly believe in the American Dream.
Now, I do not believe that the American Dream must always take the form of “get married/buy a house/have two kids/white picket fence.” Though, that is a dream just as noble as any other. I hope to help cleave open a space within the discourse of the American Dream so that it’s big enough to encompass the American Dreams of everyone. Even outsiders.
I’ve always felt like kind of an outsider. Kind of a tomboy, compulsively creative, super sensitive, I just didn’t see myself as similar to other Americans. But I was missing one major fact. The United States of America was founded by flawed people who had a flawless dream: to create a literal and theoretical space in which everybody, regardless of religious or other potentially polarizing personal ideologies, could work hard in order to actualize their dreams of a better, more fulfilling life. Together. Despite our differences. We could all share a space to dream our different dreams together. The American Dream was born.
This blog is a space for articulating your American Dreams. You know, the ones so exciting that you’re afraid to even admit them to your friends or family for fear of failure or that they will make fun of you. Or maybe you’re even afraid to admit them to yourself for fear of what the act of naming them will mean. Is it a commitment to action?
This blog is your first, noncommittal step. You can post your American Dreams anonymously here. Just click the submit button under my picture to your right. You can even upload a photo that corresponds to your dream. No matter how silly, how impractical, how outlandish your dream, I will publish it. And perhaps in the act of publishing it, you will give yourself permission to pursue it.
I’ll go first. I have an American Dream. My dream is to travel to all 50 of these United States in an RV playing my music, in a tour called From Sea to Shining Sea. I want to see our country and get to know it and become friends with you, the people in it. I want to eat your region’s favorite foods and hang out in your homes and sing my songs to you and your beloved. Since I have gone public with my dream, people have told me that it is impractical, impossible, irresponsible, dumb, dangerous, and all other sorts of demoralizing and denigrating comments designed to make me loosen my white-knuckled grip on it. And while at first those comments were devastating, I am now viewing the people who uttered those words with much more compassionate eyes. I think that they probably had a dream of their very own, that they have given up because they feared it was too silly or embarrassing. Fear of failure, particularly public failure, is a powerful oppressor. Perhaps this project will inspire some of them as well. I hope so.
So, without further ado, what are your American Dreams?
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