Dealing with Active and Passive Goals in Matriarchal Storytelling

There are differences between dreams and fantasies. A dream is to become an author or artist. A fantasy is to lay out a script about how you will be top dog and people will throw themselves at you as your enemies are proven wrong, stupid, evil, and defeated. As an author, I am aware of the difference and do my best to nuance my stories. The Matriarchal style is one where various perspectives are explored, not just one of the protagonist. The job of the author is to expand the heart and mind, not constrict them and then entrench them in some life-draining vortex where people use those stories as the manual on how to settle shallow vendettas and then spin their propagandistic narratives to justify their toxic misery as they hold on to those poisonous excuses and traumas.

For the Matriarchal storyteller, it is the realm of dreams, not fantasies to explore, but even then, dreams are essential goals created in the world of What If that we wish to turn into the world of What Is, and a Matriarchal Storyteller must understand the levels of dreams in order to construct solid stories.

I am often surprised by the kinds of dreams we have and the subtle, yet profoundly large differences among them. Not all dreams are created equal and the point of the Matriarchal is to explore whether our motives and the kinds of dreams that guide us push us forward or keep us back.

I often find that people exchange one set of dreams for another and sell themselves short in the bargain. I have, for example, known many young and promising women who for a spell, had active dreams, but when the going got tough, rough, and bleak, settled for passive ones, getting suckered into relationships with exploiters for their troubles.

It is the difference between contents of dreams versus their structures. Active and passive dreams differ in structure, even if the content is the same. Dreaming of becoming an artist but then dreaming of being an author differ in content, but not structure.

To explain what I mean, let us suppose there is a young woman who dreams about being a famous singer. She takes lessons, auditions, and pushes like crazy, but she never gets her break, getting her heart broken in the process. 

She invested years of time, energy, and focus with no return on her investment. Her oblivious family does not understand the fact the she worked hard and invested; so they shrug their shoulders and figure it was an unrealistic dream and she should get over it and get a real job, not considering that she had talent and is watching helplessly as those with less talent, but connections breaking through as she is left behind.

She has no adequate support system to help her function with the rejection. People who are jealous and petty are relieved that she didn't "make it" and make certain they do  nothing to help her realize her dreams.

So what choices does she have?

She can just give up. It will negatively impact every aspect of her life until she dies.

She can stick of her original dream, network, be a pest, put herself out there on YouTube as she plays dives. She can think of clever stunts and schticks to gain attention. She can work on her style, sound, theme, message, and look.

She may not be a monster hit, but if she sticks to her active dream, she will have a viable career as a singer. 

Then there are the two choices in between.

She can decide she isn't going to be a singer, but use what she knows to become a songwriter, actress, or a producer. She still works on her own career, but makes a lateral shift. It is still an active dream, but the content has changed, not the ultimate goal of being  the queen of her own life.

Or, she can opt for something else.

No, she decides, she doesn't have what it takes to be a star, but if she marries a singer, she can help him make it big. She still reaps the rewards of her original dream, but she does so through a proxy. They delegate: she manages his career while he focuses on the singing and stage presence.

She puts her knowledge to use, but is the king-maker, not a queen.

In this case, the content of the dream remains unchanged, but the structure of it has completely altered.

It is a passive dream, not an active one.

In the Patriarchal, such differences are minute, and hence, left unexplored. The Patriarchal protagonist must triumph somehow in a way that does not offend the optics, and hence, any of the above outcomes looks good.

She found her groove with her boyfriend, and at the end of the story, he writes a song in her honour and serenades her during his breakout concert. Yay!

The Matriarchal has different ideas.

Because the Matriarchal is all about exploration and multiple points of view over a long-term basis, examining active and passive goals is not something to brush off as a happy ending. What brought the shift? What are the ramifications? What happens when dreams are left unfulfilled? Does a proxy respect his position as puppet and stand-in, or does he now fancy himself as a master manipulator who can turn anyone into a minion to be exploited to further his career?

How do their clashing and changing dreams ride the storm of truth and reality?

Do those dreams turn into nightmares?

The Patriarchal does not dare to go down that complicated route, lest a protagonist be revealed as a secret villain, but the Matriarchal is made to ask bold questions to expand our hearts and minds.

It is about opening paths and possibilities, not shutting them out; so that we can better understand the nature of our dreams in order to fulfill the best ones living in our hearts.