Let’s face it: there is no one who doesn’t at least appreciate the Beatles. Growing up, I didn’t know exactly who they were until I first listened to “Here Comes the Sun” on a car ride home one day. That song didn’t change my life, but it did change my outlook a little bit. Whenever I’m sad, distressed, or angry, reminding myself that the sun will come up another day is refreshing.
This comic especially interested me because of its relevance to my own life. I’ll admit it: I’m a self inhibitor. I convince myself that my dreams are impractical, unworkable, and impossible because of a whole variety of factors -hierarchy, capitalism, patriarchy- that are mostly unrelated to what I actually want to accomplish. To say that these factors don’t hold people, especially women, back would be a farce. With that said, I’ve used these inhibitors to justify my inaction on a constant basis. I used to want to do neuroscience, but hearing my mom’s stories of being a woman in STEM scared me off, so I decided I didn’t want to do neuroscience. I used to want to be a politician, but seeing how few women make it to congress and how even fewer hold the presidency (none), I decided I probably shouldn’t. I’ve ignored and suppressed my interests because I see the uphill battle not as an obstacle to overcome but as giant impassible wall that I shouldn’t attempt to climb. Sure, it may be difficult to be a woman in these fields, there’s no denying that. But avoiding challenges out of fear doesn’t get much done. No one is going to remember the people who identified the problems; they’re going to remember the ones who overcame the challenge, solved the problem, or died trying.
I guess that’s why the phrase “produce your own dream” really stood out to me. I’m doing women a disservice by standing idly by as others do the work that I dream to. The signposts that John Lennon mentions in his comic that lead us are absolutely true. The artist, Gavin Aung Tang, draws pictures contrasting a statue of John Lennon himself and a crowd of people. In the end, we see that the group are the empowered ones and that the statue is just the mirage that our dreams are unachievable. Our leaders can’t do our work for us; however, their successes can guide us. People who have achieved great things tell us to “just do it” every day, but instead of focusing on their message, we focus on the strangeness with which they deliver it; I’m looking at you Shia Leboeuf. It doesn’t matter what you worship- God, food, success, happiness- we’re all fish in this great big sea and the only way we’re going to make something out of ourselves is by finding our coral reef. I think I’ve convinced myself that doing what I’m interested in must entail me finding my comfort zone. Now I realize that mistake. We can be interested in something and still bloody at the nails from fighting to stay relevant. Challenge those preconceptions that women can’t do science; fight the stereotype that men are more credible speakers; battle the status quo. In the words of John Lennon himself,”it’s quite possible to do anything.”
Need your own inspiration, look here: