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Defining Identity & Self-Worth: The American Dream.




In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. described his American dream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials & tribulations. You have been the veterans of CREATIVE SUFFERING.

Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back [home] knowing that somehow this situation can & will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties & frustrations

of the moment, I still have a DREAM.

It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up & live

out the true meaning of its creed:

"We hold these TRUTHS to be self-evident:

that all men are created EQUAL."

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation

where they will not be judged by the color of their skin

but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill & mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain,

& the crooked places will be made straight, & the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, & all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South.

With this faith

we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith

we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation

into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

With this faith

we will be able to work together, to pray together,

to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

I can hear his voice ring out with conviction, chills trickling down my spine as inspiration nestles in.

Do I dare speak up about the injustice happening all around that so many people are completely unaware of? Dare I hope to live in a nation better than this? Dare I challenge America to do better, to be better?

Yes, for it is far less terrifying that daring to continue suffering in silence.

Photo Credits to Lauren Uhlendorf with Lauren Emily Design & Photography.


Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed his American dream decades ago, & it was transformational for thousands of people. His memory will live on forever.

I take great inspiration from this, for I, too, have a dream.


Although my struggle is not being judged by the colour of my skin, massive judgment is still hurled at me from all directions on a regular basis, & it has for over ten years, dramatically damaging every aspect of my life.

I am judged by my appearances, from the superficial beauty of my body to the general success (or lackthereof) I have within society's constructs.

Far too frequently do I hear remarks such as, "You're too beautiful to be so sad," "Come on now, pretty girls don't cry," & "But you're so beautiful; obviously life can't be that bad."

To insinuate that I am incapable of feeling the average spectrum of emotions that I am not allowed to express my feelings, that I am not permitted to be human & flawed & struggling simply because of my appearances is absolutely absurd.

To assume my life is wonderful, easy, blissful, & free of pain & troubles is insulting because, not only are assumptions being made without bothering to get to know the real me, but all of my pain & experiences are invalidated when those things are implied or directly said to or about me.

On top of that, it is assumed that because I am aesthetically pleasing to many people, I automatically have great friends & no problem finding a wonderful romance. This couldn't be more inaccurate, for my physical beauty has led to more heartache than anything else. People often assume that a pretty girl like me will be shallow & therefore require merely the mirage of a deep love, rather than an actual true love.

I have been approached as "easy," as a desirable yet worthless object, repeatedly by literally hundreds of people over the past decade. When I seek more & attempt true intimacy, even on a friendship level, I am, more often than not, scoffed, ridiculed, insulted in the deepest ways, & thrown aside without a second thought, abandoned for some other pretty human or pleasure-seeking habit.

I dream of a day where my beauty will not be held against me; where I can be proud of who I am & no longer live in fear of society & its humans; where people innately know that we're all in this crazy journey of life together so we may as well be kind to one another; where I can be respected for who I am rather than lusted after for how I appear.


Like Martin Luther King Jr., I, too, dream of a day when I will be judged by the content of my character, rather than by the labels I carry.

Aside from a very short list of positive labels I've heard over the years, the list of negative, harmful labels I've been given by society—friends & family included—could fill a thick book, easily.

I am a "lunatic" because I view the world & experience life & perceive things differently than most, & people would rather think of a simple label than take the time & energy to try & understand me.

I am a "slut" because I am confident in my own skin.

I am "crazy" because I hear voices inside my head. It makes others uncomfortable, &, to soothe their own fears about who I am, they slap a label on me,