158: “Not The Only One” (John Lennon)

                “We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’
                Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone.”
                -An honest TV commentator speaking to his frightened country in Network

                “You may say I’m a dreamer  / But I’m not the only one.” -John Lennon, “Imagine”

                When we’re disappointed, when we’re scared, it’s easy to retreat to smaller goals. If a country (our country) can’t be just, we’ll just make ourselves safe, and call that good enough. If I can’t make good friends and close connections, I’ll just keep myself entertained. If the world is going crazy, if it’s getting smaller, just let me have my toaster, just leave me alone and that will be enough.
                In January I was accepted to a graduate program. In June I gave up my spot because I didn’t get the funding I needed. The graduate program had been a big dream, an expansive leap, a hope; as the door closed, I felt myself retreating. I found myself settling for smaller goals, for weaker hopes, for caffeine and sugar and entertainment instead of fire and water and love. I played video games. I stayed alone in my room. I told myself it was comfortable, and it was okay.
                I’m letting that go, now. Everything calls to you when you listen. It’s not going to leave you alone. That’s a good thing. I think we need the world to shout at us every now and then. That reminds us to shout back. That reminds us that the world isn’t as small as we’ve been pretending. There is more to it than the room we picked when we were frightened, when we were discouraged; there is more to it than the ‘safety’ of a closed heart. I’m afraid, but I’m not only afraid. You don’t need to leave me alone. There are dreams and there are dreamers, and we don’t need to give them up. If you weren’t holding onto your toaster, if you knew you weren’t the only one–what would you hope for? What would you do? What would you dream?

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