Last night, I dreamt of Meryl Streep.
She was in her most furious stage in her advocacy towards women equality. She came as more assertive to talk about gender equality, human rights, immigrants, responsible reporting, and roles of the arts in bringing the world together in protecting our rights and safety regardless of age, gender, and race.
She was accepting an award that night. Everybody anticipated that she will again talk to make sense that while everybody is busy making America greater, they forgot about one thing.
She stood at the podium and began retelling a story so familiar to everybody, she recited the story like it was never told before.
I was there. It felt like I was watching it on TV but I think I was there holding a phone camera and shooting it from where I was standing, by the edge of the stage, closest to the podium where she stood.
The story was one of the parables from the Bible about the youngest of the sons who came back to admit his sins and ask for forgiveness. But an artist that she was, recreated the story and started asking the question “what if?” What if the one who came back was actually a daughter instead of a son? What if she came back not alone but with two daughters of her own? What if she came back for safety because the three of them, her and her daughters, were forced to do what they were not supposed to do? What if she came back because the society she found and lived in for sometime did not accept her because she was an immigrant and a woman?
She continued to ask more “what ifs” that she included: LGBTQ returning to their families and coming out for the first time; Older folks coming home to unfamiliar houses and people whom they are related to but never know them at all; she could be the young daughter of the son who left his home and is now does not have anybody…
She paused, looked around the theater. It seemed like she was waiting for everyone to answer her what ifs. In the end, she left the podium, walked towards this young girl who happened to be in the audience. She held her tight while she was in tears.
It was a loud cry for all to hear and see her agonizing tears running both cheeks. She cried, “Because we forget to tell you how much we love you. Every day, we and everbody in this society and all of them before us, asked you to be strong. We asked you to say what is on your mind. We warned you of the danger ahead, BUT… We forget to stop… While you show us your fear… the same fear that all sons show us… We forget to stop… I am sorry, we expected you to be weak. So when we see your fear, we take it as normal and we go on doing other things. We forget to stop… look at you, and actually see you… To hug and tell you how much we love you the same way we tell your brothers.”
She was crying, holding her tight as if she didnt want to let the child go. “I am sorry, we forget to see you”, she continued.
I thought I was going to die. Her speech got me all worked up and my chest was pounding. It felt like I was losing air. I was having trouble breathing.
Finally, I focused my camera on her face, then to the little girl who seemed confused about what is going on.
Her words resonated inside me. It was echoing into my ears and into my heart, as I hoped that it made the same effect on everyone. It was reminding us that tonight: we should find a girl, lady, female, mother, daughter, grandma, aunt, sister, a woman to hug; to tell her how much she is appreciated. Remind her that she is loved; that she is strong; period!
I started to tear as the camera zoomed in to Meryl Streep. Other cameras live on TV panned to the crying guests and audience. The world was crying at that moment.
Then there was a loud cry from the middle of the theater and from where it was coming, a loud thud like a sack fell heavy on the floor. People screamed, “She’s dead!”
Last night, I dreamt of Meryl Streep.