A year of Fears vs. Dreams.
- Posted on: 23 July 2012
- By: Alyce Youngblood
It started last summer.
In the dusty fields of music festivals, throughout a cross-country road trip, in crowded hallways at events, on Twitter timelines and Facebook feeds, these questions emerged:
“What’s your biggest fear?”
“What’s your greatest dream?”
We posed these questions—and we needed your answers. Over the past year and around the world, we’ve asked thousands of people to write just a couple phrases in response to this prompt and then share them with us. It seems such a small thing—a few scribbles of a dry erase marker, a quick snapshot. But then again, it is no small thing.
Fears vs. Dreams was birthed out of a desire to remind people that they are living a story, and that they should not give up on it. As a lover of all things literary, I especially connect with and am intrigued by this concept of life as story. I remember in my high school English courses, before we were ever allowed to touch pen to paper, we had to outline our story. We had to become familiar with its characters, develop a plot and setting, determine the obstacles, and aim for a satisfying, meaningful end. It didn’t always end up exactly as we’d planned, but it would often come close. At the least, we would get points for intentional storytelling, for any consistent thread that evidenced our passion and persistence, as opposed to a meandering effort.
Fears vs. Dreams is just one way to encourage you to clarify what kind of narrative you want to weave with this precious life you have been given. It allows you to identify the conflicts of your tale, but cast a hopeful vision for its conclusion. What kind of character do you want to become? What will be the theme of your journey? What might rise up against you—and will you be ready for it, braced with the determination only focused dreams can bring?
Being new to the TWLOHA team, I’ve mostly watched Fears vs. Dreams spread and grow from afar. I’ve been at a couple events where people have gathered at the TWLOHA table, taking a moment to jot down their weightiest ideas and feelings. I’ve browsed the filtered photos we’ve collected online, so many of them startlingly similar, but each of them unique. And I’ve marveled at the bravery of those who’ve participated in this display of powerful vulnerability. There are few things that require more strength than acknowledging your fears and claiming your dreams; there are few things more courageous still than sharing them with others.
Below are just a few highlights of the many submissions we’ve received during this first year of Fears vs. Dreams—and beneath them, an addition of my own. From failure to disease, we have cataloged our deepest dreads; from true love to world peace, we’ve renewed hopes in our highest aspirations. If you have participated in this campaign in any way, we applaud you. We call it Fears vs. Dreams, and you better believe we are betting on the latter.
“I am living a story. I will not give up.”