May 8th, 2012


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Fear and pursuit of dreams

Reposting this comment because it is another case of a really good response:

And I do agree in principle, and wish everyone could do it. But not everyone is up to the difficult challenges of following their dream, and even if they are, their dream may require them get a menial job to pay the bills while they do their dream stuff on the side. How many authors have had the freedom to just write? My dad is a professional writer and author, but his one attempt at doing nothing but that failed because of money issues; ever since then, he has had to work in nursing homes or other jobs, which he complains about constantly, in order to pay the bills while he follows his dreams. For a while, I was also doing writing in my spare time while I wasn’t working, before life and depression fucked things up for me so bad that I’m only just now starting to really get back on track with writing.

Then you get to the unfortunate fact that there are a lot of people out there whose dreams will never come true because they’re just not qualified, or because their dream - frankly - is stupid or already done by loads of other people. Or because their dream is too unrealistic. In an ideal world, everyone would be free to pursue their dreams, no matter how weird or stupid or unlikely. But we live in a world where dreams often have to be set aside while we deal with the realities of making rent, paying bills, and feeding our families.

So, it’s all well and good to be in favor of dreams, and if you’re the sort of person who has the strength of will to risk your very life and possibly the lives of your family to pursue your dream, then more power to you. But most people are either too scared to operate without the safety net of mundane jobs, or are too dim-witted to do anything else.

Further, when you’re someone whose very existence causes some people to be violent towards you, the fear factor goes way up. With all the violence towards women, and the high murder rate among trans women, a great number of people face the very real threat of being murdered in some alley somewhere and forgotten, all because of who and what they are, and those dangers increase, and get nearer, when you’re living in poverty. And so for a lot of those people, the terror of being murdered is a very good incentive to not risking their neck by pursuing their dream, or complaining about something at a job. Because it’s a lot easier to put up with sexual harassment at the workplace than it is to live on the streets trying to avoid being murdered or raped.

Idealism is all well and good, but must be tempered with a dose of realism. Call them cowards if you will, but as a white male, your odds of being murdered are minuscule compared to to the odds of such for women and especially trans women and trans men, and people of color. There are a great many people who live in constant fear for their lives, and if you aren’t one of them, then you ought not criticize the ones who are.

This was cross-posted from
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