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The Dream: Day 2 of 365 Days of Love

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The Dream: Day 2 of 365 Days of Love

Day 2 of the launch of 365 Days of Love initiative and I’ve received many inspiring, deep and raw stories. But the one that I felt I must share today is a true story of an incredible man (and dear friend) who had what was supposed to be a fun dream of him being a girl turned into a nightmare because of the threat of Kavanaugh coming into his dream.

As you read you will see, the act that has happened with Kavanaugh is scarring to many us on numerous levels including a man’s dreams. Below is an excerpt of his thoughts (read the full article below):

If you speak up, telling what happened to you, you will be condemned, society will support him, particularly if he comes from the same privileged set you come from. (Oh yes, you might have thought you had privileges, you may have felt entitled because you live in a nice neighborhood, your family drives a luxury car, and your sister goes to an elite college. But you’re only a girl. Wait until some Kavanaugh boy stumbles into your life – then you will learn what privilege means. The ultimate privilege, the get-out-of-jail-free card, is solely reserved for boys and men.)

If you don’t speak up, then you avoid the public horrors, but you subject yourself to the private ones, the dentist drills of guilt and shame, boring into your legs, your head, your heart, the center of your being, sapping your self-confidence at unpredictable times, lying in ambush to make you collapse when you least expect it. 

How does this relate to love you may ask? In my opinion it has everything to do with it because if all men valued women (and saw them not as a sexual object rather a woman of love and the potential holder of life) we would never hear a story like this.

I hope as you read this you take a moment to think:

  1. How you as a woman can better protect yourself from being in such a position. Sadly many men are still out there.

  2. How you as a woman can heal (especially if you have first-hand experience in such unfortunate events) and how you can love again without the fear ruling your life

  3. How you as a woman can speak up more to share your stories (I know it’s hard to share traumatic stories, i’ve been there too).

  4. How you as a man can become more conscious of your thoughts, words and actions to show more respect to women

  5. How you as a man can speak up more to be the true supporter of women you are meant to be.

Lets make sure our children’s children never have to have a dream like this let alone a reality like this. Let’s put an end to the Kavanaughs of our world today.

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Article contributed by Alec Hansen

Tunis, Tunisia


I had a most unusual dream last night. I dreamed I was a girl. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Maybe a few times in my life.

The dream started out wonderful. I was young, I was in high school but hadn’t been there long. I felt quite special, because my older sister was taking me to a friend’s fancy beach house. It was sunny, the beach resort was famous, and I had some freshly grown breasts and long legs that I planned to show off in a new bikini that I would never wear around my parents. I was far from home and I was clearly going to have a great time. 

We were pulling up to the beach house in a convertible, and my sister was talking to me. Even in the dream it felt like a dream, a dream come true. There were sand dunes near the house, I caught a glimpse of the sea beyond, and we were not far from a boardwalk where I would meet new people, my sister’s college friends, and of course lots of strangers. I was in for an adventure, and I was ready for it. 

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My sister is talking, and I’m only half listening because I’m just feeling all of these feelings, drinking it all in, and tingling with anticipation. But something she says pierces through my daydream, “this just might be your Kavanaugh Weekend.” At first I’m not really sure what she’s talking about. But as she continues talking, I start making the connections, and it’s like a dark cloud has appeared in my sunny sky, a feeling of uncertainty that grows into dread. 

That’s it. I woke up, and puzzled over what it meant, and why I was so disturbed. What a rare experience to dream that I’m a girl on a beautiful beach, and it should have been cool but somehow it got ruined by one remark. I had gone to sleep the previous evening after watching clips of the Kavanaugh hearings, filled with stories of high school and college girls who were out having fun and suddenly, out of the blue, were subjected to traumatic, life-changing experiences. 

My big sister in the dream was trying to protect me, to prepare me to always have my guard up. But the way it was put, it wasn’t even like ‘do the following things to prevent it, let’s make sure that this never happens to you.’ Instead, the way she put it was more fateful, like ‘it could happen this weekend, it could happen another time, it happens to all of us some time. You never know when or where, but it’s always lurking out there. And when it does happen, it may happen so fast that you won’t be able to do anything about it. But it will change your life.’ Behind it was a menace that yes there will be boys, fun boys, funny boys, smiling boys, charming boys, most of them nice, and all the pleasures of friendship, swimming, talking, kissing and more available; but one or two of them is a potential Kavanaugh. Oh, and by the way, it’s not just the boys, there are also the young men, to whom you are merely a ripe piece of fruit that they are planning to pick. And let’s not forget the middle-aged men, who could be teachers or priests or coaches or doctors. Not to mention the old men... 

This idea that there are predators out there who are attracted to the sunny beaches with the pretty girls, was so chilling. The innocence and vulnerability of the girl I inhabited in that dream was so delicious, she was so open to the experiences she was about to have. There are other menaces that she would need to be vaguely aware of going to the beach – robbers who might steal her mobile phone, undertow that could drag her out to sea – but those are known menaces, and if a robber were caught, he would be condemned by all of society. The insidious danger of the Kavanaugh Weekend was that if something happened of that type, you would suddenly find yourself in a looking-glass world, where up is down and down is up. Fairness goes out the door, justice is elusive at best. 

If you speak up, telling what happened to you, you will be condemned, society will support him, particularly if he comes from the same privileged set you come from. (Oh yes, you might have thought you had privileges, you may have felt entitled because you live in a nice neighborhood, your family drives a luxury car, and your sister goes to an elite college. But you’re only a girl. Wait until some Kavanaugh boy stumbles into your life – then you will learn what privilege means. The ultimate privilege, the get-out-of-jail-free card, is solely reserved for boys and men.)

If you don’t speak up, then you avoid the public horrors, but you subject yourself to the private ones, the dentist drills of guilt and shame, boring into your legs, your head, your heart, the center of your being, sapping your self-confidence at unpredictable times, lying in ambush to make you collapse when you least expect it. 


Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way.
— In Either/Or, Søren Kierkegaard writes

Speak up, or don’t speak up, either way, you will regret it. And it’s not just a one-time decision. At the tender age of 15, guileless Christine Blasey chose not to speak up; 36 years later, still guileless but deeply concerned for the sanctity of the highest court in the land, now Professor Christine Blasey Ford, she has finally spoken up, and the regret, the terror she feels, is palpable.

How can I interpret my dream? Only through the filter of my own experience and feelings, and as a man, those are necessarily limiting. Nevertheless, as a person, I’m also gifted with the capacity for compassion and even empathy, which can develop over time with experience. In my life I can truly say that my relationships with women have not been conquests, they have been with loving teachers. From the same tender age as Christine was, I have been blessed with relationships that helped me to slowly, slowly peel away the insensitivity and crassness that seems to be my default inheritance. But it’s a work in progress.

I sometimes tease my wife that if I could have her body for a week, I would have much more fun with it than she has, but at the end of the week when she got it back, she would have a somewhat lower reputation. From my point of view, as a man, I realize it’s a crass joke, but I always regarded it as fairly harmless, one we can share in privacy and laugh about. And (in case that hadn’t occurred to you) it’s meant as a compliment: you’re a beautiful person, and that means you could get more out of life, if only you didn’t have these pesky inhibitions. Only now, after waking from this dream, can I appreciate how cruel this joke has been, why her response is so seldom lighthearted laughter, why her reaction is more often tinged with a darker heaviness. And even when she does laugh, she never lets the moment pass without an emphatic “that’s exactly why I would never, ever lend you my body for a week!” Her vehemence never fails to impress me. My wife is a courageous woman, and she cares much less for her reputation than her inner peace. I think her vigilance comes from an appreciation that what seems to me to be a harmless fantasy of a hedonistic adventure carries much darker undertones of unhealable inner wounds, which in my version of the fantasy are mere quibbles. 

Without irony, since the day we met, I have called her a goddess, but she seems to appreciate the double-edged nature of being born beautiful. I only recently became aware of the haunting poignancy of the gift of beauty, when I read Madeline Miller’s novel Circe. One of the two goddesses who seduced Ulysses in the Odyssey (or did he seduce them?), Circe is a specific type of goddess called a nymph, whose only two superhuman powers are beauty and immortality. Miller’s Circe explains, “Brides, nymphs were called, but that is not really how the world saw us. We were an endless feast laid out upon a table, beautiful and renewing. And so very bad at getting away.” Sailors, pirates, adventurers and even the messenger god Mercury would descend on her island at any time, and have their way with her, and most of these goddesses were completely defenseless to resist. Under such circumstances, immortality becomes a torture, because the higher gods didn’t see fit to give them any powers of resistance. Of course, like my ‘week with a woman’s body’, the predicament of the nymphs is a male fantasy, created by Homer and countless other ancient bards, and it took Miller’s tender retelling to help me to see the other side of the coin, with eerily modern echoes.

Believe a girl, you will regret it; if you do not believe her, you will also regret it; if you believe a girl or you do not believe her, you will regret both; whether you believe a girl or you do not believe her, you will regret both.
— Later in the same paragraph in Either/Or, Kierkegaard writes 

 I suppose some U.S. Senators today are writhing in that Kierkegaardian existential angst, existential in the sense that they fear that doing the right thing may lead to them no longer existing as senators. Voting against the nomination would put them in danger of being voted out of office by the rabid hordes who felt gratified by Kavanaugh’s performance on Thursday, whose purple-faced incoherent defiant sneering self-pitying fury made him their righteous hero. 

 

For me the (sometimes painful) lessons learned from my sweet teacher/lovers, the rising drumbeat of #MeToo, my friends who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse, and now this most recent chapter with the Supreme Court hearings have culminated in a dream, in which two words – Kavanaugh Weekend– could pierce the tantalizing dream fabric and rip it to shreds. My dream of being a girl started out enticing and ended up deeply disturbing. For too many women, it is a living nightmare. 

I hope I can stay conscious of this feeling the next time I’m confronted with the towering edifice of male privilege and entitlement, and serve as a material support to my sisters in this world, rather than standing by gawking, or unconsciously reinforcing to the edifice. Otherwise this is going to take way too long.

 

 

Alec Hansen

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