What Happens To A Dream Deferred?
My grandmother on my father’s side always dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower. She always dreamed leaving her Homeland of Haiti-just for a week or so to go straight to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. Raised under the strictest patriarchy rules, she was never allowed to travel without the presence of a man. Her first husband- the womanizer- never acknowledged what she wanted and her second husband-the wife beater-was too cruel to take her. When her second husband passed away and she decided she could go on her own “when the time was right,” she began getting these cloudy spots in her right eye. Merde. She murmured when those cloudy spots turned into blurred and impaired vision. She had developed glaucoma, and would never see anything clearly again, let alone the Eiffel Tower.
My father always dreamed of driving across America. Always the taciturn individual, this was the one subject that would make him quite talkative. His goal was retirement. Once he retired from his job he would go, just him and my mom. I was 15 when his eyes started getting cloudy. “Things are different here,” he’d tell his mother. “A couple of surgeries and I’ll be fine,” he assured her. When I turned 17, he stopped being able to drive at night and by the time I hit my freshman year of college, he could no longer drive at all.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up from a wonderful slumber and half of my left eye wouldn’t work. It was cloudy.
Barriers Between Us and Our Dreams
This isn’t a story of glaucoma. This is a story of dreams deferred.
Every day of our lives is a chance- an opportunity to work towards our goals and find a way to make our wildest dreams come true. And the only person that actually stands in our way is us.
We give people the power to stop us from following our dreams. We set limitations on our goals. Even my dick head grandfather did not hold a gun to my grandmother’s head and tell her she could not go to Paris. She allowed her inner voice to tell her not this year, every single year-even after he died. My father worked at the same company for 20 years, they would have given him a couple of weeks off to have his adventure if he asked, if he pushed for it.
Moving Out of Your Own Way
The point is, we don’t know what tomorrow brings, we never do. Yet all we do is push things off until tomorrow and then blame everyone but ourselves when our lives don’t turn out the way we want it to. Shit, I’ve had a book written and ready to edit for years now yet I allowed my insecurities and fear of rejection to keep me from releasing it to the world. Isn’t that such a fucked up concept? That our own fears and insecurities can hold us back from living our lives?! Our best lives, as the kids say.
Stop pointing the blame at other people and other things and ask yourself: how am I standing in the way of my own success? How am I keeping myself from my dreams?
The thing about life is that it can take us anywhere. You can spend your whole life working out and eating right and still die at thirty from cancer or some random act of violence in the streets. Those are the type of things that are out of our control. When we decide to take a trip, publish a novel, see the world, ask someone out-those things are not. Stop waiting for a sign or for your body to look nicer or for your situation to change. Stop creating invisible barriers and live your fucking life. Do it now.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not out here trying to get sued or anything. So I must say that although I talk about Polaroids, I’m really referring to instant film cameras only. I don’t know jack shit about the actual Polaroid company or their business.
I remember when I was six or so and I was sitting at the dinning room table of my old household eating a bowl of soggy Corn Flakes with an inch of sugar at the bottle of the bowl and my sister walked in with a big ass camera.
“Look what I got today!” She was ecstatic.
She held it up and snapped a picture of me shoving a spoonful of the cereal and sugar down my gullet.
“Stop!” I yelled.
“No look,” she held up a faded pic of the picture to me. Isn’t this so cool?!
Cut to a couple of months ago when I was celebrating the birthday of a close friend of mine in Saratoga Springs, New York. She took out this little pink plastic camera and said, “let’s take a selfie!”
We posed and she clicked the button and instantly, she was holding a faded little pic of us looking…well, faded.
“Isn’t this so cool?!” She beamed.
The problem is, it wasn’t cool.
The Polaroid Plummet
I’m a 90s baby, so growing up Polaroid cameras were a big ass deal, dominating the camera industry. They were a household name: everyone was shaking it like a Polaroid picture. Then, when the digital camera came, they just…disappeared. Now I know the argument is, they didn’t disappear Polaroid has a big name in the digital industry and blah blah blah but as a consumer I went over (or under, idk math) 15 years without hearing about the thing that made them cool: the instant print picture. With the age of digital cameras everyone was so obsessed with the quality of the pictures and having their pictures right where they could see them at all times, that we forgot about the awesomeness of the Polaroid instant picture. We went from instantly holding a picture of a chubby kid eating soggy cereal to pictures on a camera: having to go to a local Walgreens and sit in one of those uncomfortable ass plastic chairs looking at a little screen and clicking the pictures we want to print; praying to God that it doesn’t freeze on that one blurry pic of our tits. Or, if you were lucky, you had a printer at home that did it for you. But that’s besides the point. My thing is, where were the instant pictures?! What happened Polaroid?!
Here’s My Theory
I think Polaroid got discouraged. I think someone in the office said that digital was the wave of the future and they just went with it. Didn’t put up a fight, didn’t see the importance of their product.
They stopped believing in the thing that made them great.
Could you image how lit our iPhones would be today if Polaroid has kept their instant pictures and just advanced with the times? Now, to give Polaroid some credit, they did make a come back and you can buy an attachment thing that makes your photos instant for you. But still. If they had done this all along, I wouldn’t have to buy an attachment and I sure as hell wouldn’t have a shitty quality photo of me at a party in Saratoga Springs.
This is Why You Shouldn’t Be Like Polaroid
Polaroid didn’t stand by their shit. They sat around and let the next wave take them away from their awesome product. Instead of saying hey digital cameras with instaprint, cellphones with instaprint, they just jumped on whatever was popular. Don’t do that.
Whether it’s an actual product, an idea, or something in YOU that you think is dope and that you like, don’t let that thing go just to do what is popular.
Popularity and clout are about having something dope, KNOWING it’s dope, then telling those around you. I didn’t even know there were different types of yogurt until everyone started talking about Greek yogurt. It’s a cool yogurt and now every yogurt brand and their mama has a Greek cousin but that’s because someone knew that Greek yogurt was the shit and told others. Whatever your “thing” is, if you know it’s the shit, OWN THAT SHIT! Make sure people know your thing is the shit. Don’t abandon it when something else comes along.
And If You DO Abandon It
Bounce the fuck back! This blog post was about instant film yes but the real Polaroid company was bankrupt like three times! Them mofos are the bounce back, come back Kings and Queens! Pick yourself back up, take a look at the thing or quality that you know is awesome, dust that bitch off and TRY AGAIN.
For actual information on the Polaroid camera, go here.
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Let’s Talk Prayer
So my mother is sick- and I’m not talking cough cough here’s some Robitussin and some Campbell soup. I’m talking frequent visits to the hospital, can’t leave the house, eats food from a blender kind of sick. The kind of sick that cashiers at Walgreens ask you for money to help find the cure. Yeah, that kind of sick. She no longer leaves the house aside from doctor’s visits or hospital visits and can no longer take care of her herself or her household. Now tonight, I had about fourteen people come to my mother’s house for an hour and a half long prayer session. They all marched in like the Christian soldiers they are and started praying immediately. This was that kind of prayer that vibrates through the house: voices carrying upstairs into the attic and straight out of the roof as they ascend to heaven.
Now, don’t get me wrong, although I don’t identify as a Christian, I am definitely a lover and believer of God and all the amazing wonderful Blessings that God brings. That being said, I have an issue with prayer. Here are FOURTEEN people standing in my kitchen: arms spread wide, lifting my mother, her illness, and our whole family in prayer. Fourteen people who walked through this door and greeted her, not as a stranger but as a friend, a co worker, a neighbor. Fourteen people who knew my mother from various locations, before she got sick. Yet, the only time I see any of these people are on nights like tonight when they lift her up in prayer for an hour and a half and head on on their merry ways saying “God bless you and all the people that help to care for you.”
The Problem with Prayer Lies in This
The problem with prayer is that whole “I’m praying for you/let me come pray for you” bit. Not because people are physically doing the prayer, not because of who they are praying to, and not even because I have fourteen people crowding my kitchen at 8pm.
The problem I have is that this is ALL people do.
When you are sick, when you are well, when things go wrong, people pray. And let me tell you: prayer is the bees knees because God is the bees knees (…and the rest of the body. Not that God is a bee I’m just saying God is awesome) but that’s not the only thing in our wheelhouse to do. Whether you believe in my God or your God when you are praying you are praying to good. You are channeling your version of good epitomized and asking that good to reign down blessings on you or whomever you are praying for. Now very RARELY do people pray and act. My God comes from the Christian Bible and in this Bible there are like a gazillion examples of people who are blessed by God. Moses with the freeing of the Israelites, David with the killing of Goliath, Rachel in finally getting pregnant- the list goes on and on. But in these Biblical examples and all the other ones, these people don’t just pray they fucking DO. They got down and dirty and did shit to help their situations or to help the people that they wanted God to bless. Could you imagine where the Israelites would have been if Moses stayed in his fucking farm land when he saw that bush burning and just prayed?
But he didn’t, he got up and did something.
Back to my house. Here, I have fourteen people in my house who see the condition that my mother is in and not a one has taken her to a doctors visit, cooked her a meal, done her hair, even purchased her a pen from the dollar store. Nothing but a prayer.
With Prayer There Must Be Action
Don’t sit around just praying for yourself. And don’t you dare get in your car travel all the way to someone’s house just to pray. Prayer is a connection to good. It is you asking the greatest power of good to aid in a situation. And that greatest power of good can be telling you, hey- I want YOU to be the one to help! That power of good can be out there delegating and has decided that it wants YOU to use whatever tool you have to solve the problem. Moses was a great leader so when he prayed for the safety and well being of the Israelites he got off his ass and helped lead them to safety.
I’m not saying all Christians and people who pray should be it here parting Red Seas and making commandments but shit, action speaks louder than words! When you ask ANYONE for something you still gotta do shit. You can’t ask the guy at the bank for a loan and not have a plan of how you’re gunna give him his money back. You can’t ask for a cuter hairstyle without going to the salon or buying the hair dye from Hair Stop. No matter what you are asking of someone you still have to have SOME action behind the ask. Sooooo why do some of us think it’s okay to go to the source of all things good and just…ask? No action-not a step!
All I’m saying is, if you’re going through it, do your prayer but also, do something else. It doesn’t take much to go to the grocery store or help someone mail a letter. The littlest things make a huge difference.
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