Dreams show us what we can be.

Unending dreams based on stories untold.

Music unheard.

Art unseen.

Words unspoken.

Visions untapped.

Ideas unimaginable.

Strength unknown.

Intensity unrelenting.

Wisdom understated.

Prayers unceasing.

Truth unapologetic.

Love unstoppable.

Failure untiring.

Revolution unexpected.

Territories uncharted.

Possibilities unseen.

Stars undenied.

Fire unquenched.

These fires in my head. Transformed into visions beyond words is unspeakable.

Dreams help you say it in your own way, unconcerned about the underlying consequences of your dreams knowing it is destined to be undenied. Structures of your thoughts become unbreakable with dreams undefeated. Dreams created for change unintended until they started to manifest unassuming. Impossible places turn into possibilities unwavering. These dreams that take us to new places of clarity undeterred.

I’ll rather dream these days unhindered by anything or anyone. I’ll rather hold on to my dreams unfiltered by the norms of today. I’ll rather soar to new places far and wide, uncharted places too that only dreams may allow undaunted by anything or anyone. I’ll rather go to spaces that value a wandering spirit that dreams unrestrained. I’ll rather be with people that dream unfazed by yesterday, but prepared to light a torch for a tomorrow full of dreams unknown.

Dreams show us what we can be. An undeterred dreamer, a writer, a mother, me, however long I choose to keep dreaming unhindered by your unwillingness to dream. Keep dreaming unending dreams.

We have orange day lilies in our garden. My kids and I spotted them. Their beauty greets the eyes in an unexpected, but magnificent way. It is impossible to stop staring at them. Nothing about them is hidden from view. Their distinctive orange color, in a sea of green shrubs, bores down into your soul. They truly demand that you notice them. And you will, even if for a brief moment. Not even your eyes will deny their communion. Yet for all it’s beauty, for all its dazzling mist which permeates your being in slow bursts, these blooming orange day lilies lasts for a day. For some reason, I keep dreaming about ways we in public health can become like day lilies, even if for a day.

This is because we have been dragging our feet through concrete floors for too long. Making no sound as we walk. With footsteps followed only by us and not the public. Our beauty is hardly known by the public, by us even. Ahead, knowledge of how things should be with no change in style or substance. Not with our curriculums or courses. Not with our frameworks or theories. None of it speaks of multiple layers of racism and the daily realities that even the public demand that we do something about. Behind, a new generation of learners, listeners, activists, gazing out to the field. Wondering whether this is truly what they signed up for. As they draw nearer, they too look outward to the direction of our gaze. They too become aware of a sharp disconnect between the public and the public’s health. We have not dared to glance behind us even though we know they are near. The new generations and us are inseparably linked forever by what the public demands and what we do even if for a day. Each failure to advance who we are, what we do, or why we do it, is deadly for the public, inaction with racism and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, being a clear example.

I keep wondering, why public health keeps being left behind. We got left behind during the pandemic. Our messages on wearing masks or practicing social distance was viewed by some in the public with suspicion. For their own health too. Our messages on getting vaccinated whether old or young, was also viewed by some in the public with suspicion. Even still for their own health. Our papers do not reflect the realities of every day people, including the insidious impact of racism in all spheres of our influence. Nothing in our introductions, methods, results or discussions humanizes the public either. We have grown accustomed to presenting findings that serve us and not the public we serve. No sane person talks about their health the way we do.

But now, the pandemic and acknowledgement of the pervasive role of racism has wrenched the doors wide open demanding that we do something. Demanding that we walk, so our footsteps maybe felt by people, not institutions or open sources. Will we wave our hands in surrender to the public, or will we keep walking, with no sound, along concrete floors?I suppose time will tell. For now, dreams of daylilies will do.