Broken and Barren, but not dead

      As 2017 comes to a close, I’d like to talk to you a bit about Dreams, what it means to be a dreamer, and why you should never let your dreams die.
     You see, I am one of the dreamiest dreamers I have ever met.  I mean even my dreams have dreams, lol!  And even as I write this, I am dreaming about everything that life still has in store for me and just that thought alone makes me all warm inside.
     For the past month, my students and I have been discussing the American Dream and whether or not it is still alive, and we have discussed a variety of claims.  During our unit, I used a couple of Hughes’s poems to make an argument about what happens when we do not achieve our dreams.  And I don’t know what happened to me during our discussions, but I came to the realization that dreams are everything that make life worth living. That having dreams is where it all begins.  That having dreams helps create and shape our paths in life and that these dreams need to be cultivated so that they can be achieved.  I also realized that somewhere along the way, my path was fractured, and the dreams that I once envisioned, had for whatever reason(s) been lost, and I had allowed it happen.
     Bottom line… I had been getting in my own way!  I was the reason why many of my dreams had not been actualized. See what Hughes says is true.  He tells us that dreams are worth it.  In his poem entitled “Dreams”, he warns us that a dead dream is both “broken and barren”.  And for the past four- now almost five- years, I have been “broken and barren” not able to soar or grow.  Even when I looked in the mirror this morning, I saw those words, “Broken and Barren” written on my face.  I felt the weight of those words for almost five years literally sitting on my shoulders, and I realized that something had to change.
     As I stood in front of my bathroom sink, my thoughts continued.  And the more I thought, the more negative my thoughts became, and then it hit me.  A cold rush overtook me like it does when I am eating a York Peppermint Patty, and I thought that as long as I am alive, my dreams are not dead.  Immediately I thought of Beyonce’s lyrics from her song “Freedom”, “I’ma keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves!”, and wow! was all I could say.  Wow, I have been selling myself short, telling myself no, compromising my dreams.  Living a lie, a very unhappy lie. It was as if I was coming to terms with my false life in a matter of minutes.  I wanted nothing else to do with that life.  I wanted my life, my truth, my un-compromised dreams.
     When I finally took another look in the mirror, I looked more vibrant.  I even to told myself “You’re beautiful!”  And another Hughes’s poem came to mind- “Harlem”.  I realized what Hughes meant in his poem “Harlem” when he wrote about “a dream deferred.”  He was telling us even then that “a dream deferred” is a life unrealized, wasted, both broken and barren, dead.
     Well, not anymore, and definitely not ME anymore.  Not MY life.  I won’t continue to waste another minute of this life, my dear life.  Call me romantic, but I don’t think it should be anyone.  We don’t need to let our dreams die because essentially when they die, so do we.
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Hughes’s Poems
Dreams

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Harlem
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

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