Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Our #Stories

Hey Everyone!

My friend, Kate, is back with us today with some thoughts about tolerance and acceptance.  I think her essay is awesome, and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

My brother now rarely drinks so he instead he runs. He runs miles upon miles, half-marathons turned into Marathons which turned into 31-mile trail runs. Trail runs turn into ultra-thons and on and on it goes. Because he no longer reaches for a beer or a vodka bottle he has found something else to reach for and while occasionally my family worries when he comes back and his toenails are falling off, he's limping and he can barely move we all just quietly look at each other and say “You know what? We've seen where he was. If this is what he needs to do instead we'll take it.”

My little sister decided when she was eighteen she wanted to join the military. Something my older brother would have failed miserably at. My little sister is five foot two, one hundred and thirty pounds of compacted muscle and the sweetest smile you've ever seen. She's feisty, she's opinionated, she's strong and she's intelligent. My older brother, in contrast, is six foot two, nearly two hundred pounds of lean muscle and large bones, very intelligent, thoughtful and articulate as well as highly educated because he's deeply philosophical and reads. Relentlessly.

My sister has performed admirably in the military. She's hauled the same gear at the same pace as men twice her weight and many inches taller. She has guarded the same gates carrying the same weapons as everyone else and she has made the same decisions as anyone regarding the team of individuals under her care. My older brother has never managed a team of individuals because his leadership skills consist primarily of leading himself in this astonishing array of bizarre directions only he and those he does business with understand. He is generally successful at that as well. My older brother has three little boys that he fought for two years with the most incredible determination to be able to see and care for after his ex-wife decided she was going to use them against him in a custody battle. He won full custody and after two appeals at the Supreme Court level retains that custody

If I told you these stories using gender neutral pronouns and then asked you to guess which of the two were involved in which story I nearly guarantee that most people would get most if not all of it wrong. And see, the problem is that most people would think they could guess at all and even make the attempt rather than looking at those two as individuals and going “You know, I have no idea because each of them is capable of being the hero of their own story.”

That is what those stories are actually about and what most stories about people who do things differently or defy expectations are aiming at. It's not that women are better than men or that men are all horrible people. It is simply that given a clear shot, most of us are fully capable of being the heroes of our own story and the fact that the story includes chapters other stories don't is irrelevant. It is OUR story, OUR book that we sit and write every day of our lives as we get up and begin the day once again.

It does not need to be a story of a “little girl” or a “little boy”, it needs to be the story of a person. Complete with strange side trails, odd hikes that lead to cliff faces we either decide to climb or walk away from, decisions we wish wouldn't have made and those we are proud we did. These books do not need to be written by societal expectations, heavily gender-laden thought processes and ideals. They do not need to include racism, misogyny, or any sort of phobia related to who people love or how they present themselves. The books just need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Provided that the pages do not involve harm to others, those pages do not need to be edited, rephrased or rewritten to appease others.

In this year, perhaps the best thing anyone can do is decide that they do not need to demean others, judge others, hate others, control others or force others into boxes to write a story. They just need to go out and be the hero of their own story and give others the space to do the same.

No comments:

Post a Comment