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MaisyS's avatar

Is there any advice I can give my friend or is this kind of a dead end question?

Asked by MaisyS (652points) December 29th, 2019
41 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

One of my closest friends has, for a long time, harbored a dream of being a dancer. Her parents have some problems with it though, that extend into religious matters. In fact, my friend herself too says that she doesn’t know if she would ever be able to take the final leap into professional dancing due to her religious upbringing.
Her parents don’t allow her to take lessons, but she has strong natural talent.
She’s ready to put in the hard work that will take her places, but she knows she will never be able to take the final step and go professional, and she has accepted that this will only ever be a dream.
Despite the fact that she recognizes that she probably would not be able to do that, be it due to familial pressure or her own religious reservations, it still weighs heavily on her that she doesn’t even have the chance to ever make that choice. Natural talent alone is not enough to go on nowadays.
And although it’s a bitter pill to swallow, and she has shed many tears over it, she’s come to accept nothing will ever really happen.
I have always done my best to lift her mood when everything starts seeming pointless to her, but today while we were talking, she told me it was useless for me to tell her that things would work out and she’d find a way, because for her, religion trumps all. She asked me to just tell her how she could find peace with her own decision.
I was stumped for an answer. Is there really a way she could find peace with her decision? She loves dance more than she loves her religion, but prioritizes religion more, if that makes sense. So she has her personal priorities straight. Is there any way she can learn to live in peace with that and not constantly feel pointless?

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lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Since she has made her decision, there is no use whining about it as that won’t change a thing.
She needs to find a way to come to terms with her choice.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I know that this will sound tasteless. Maybe worse. But…

Has she considered being a stripper?..
If she saves her money, she could retire, at 35…

She could make $1,500–3,000, a night. Way more, depending on her ethics. I know it’s not a moral choice. But, I’ve been forced into doing things, I morally object to, to pay the bills.
If I were a female, I wouldn’t hesitate to make bank, like that.

I wish she could make that living, from dancing. I wish I could make a living, from my talents too. But, here we are, on Earth.

I’ve forged a living, by being a violent, and hard person. All, against my ethics. But, I’m alive, and pay my bills…

I’m not trying to be a counter, to someone’s dreams. But, reality, is what it is…

I feel bad suggesting such a thing. But. She, could make bank, and sort of live out her dreams, too….

If I was a female, I’d do it…

Peace n love…..

rebbel's avatar

I’m not sure her religious reservations wouldn’t be in the way for that recommendation.

kritiper's avatar

Honesty is always the best policy, but some things are better left unsaid. The latter here may well apply to you.

SEKA's avatar

@MrGrimm888 I don’t understand why guys think it is so easy for a woman to be hooker or a stripper when you’ll never understand what it is like to be degraded like that! Plus, you act like the only option a woman has is to be a hooker or a stripper. We have the ability to make good money without degrading ourselves.

SEKA's avatar

She’s ready to put in the hard work that will take her places, but she knows she will never be able to take the final step and go professional, and she has accepted that this will only ever be a dream.

Part of the hard work would be defying her parents. If she has accepted her fate, she’d let it go and she obviously hasn’t. Be a good friend and support her dreams. I wouldn’t want our daughter to defy us; but it might be this girl’s only option. I also don’t think that I would be willing to squash our daughter’s dreams thereby forcing her to defy our wishes

KNOWITALL's avatar

I would urge her to seek religious council. Perhaps her religious leader has insights she doesnt, or loopholes per se.

MaisyS's avatar

@SEKA Thank you so much for your response. She says that if it were merely a matter of defying her parents she would’ve done so long ago. What’s in her way is her own religion which she believes strongly in (for anyone wondering she’s Muslim).
@lucillelucillelucille Yes, it’s true that now that she’s made her choice there’s no point whining. Unfortunately things don’t always work like that, especially among us angsty teens. What I would like to know is how to help her swallow this bitter pill, so that she doesn’t feel like whining about it anymore.
@KNOWITALL thank you for your response. I will definitely tell her to do so.

SEKA's avatar

@MaisyS I had already figured that much of it out without really knowing. If she can’t get past her own religious beliefs then she’s not willing to do what it will take. She needs to admit to herself that she’s not really willing to do the work and stop blaming others. She’s the only one who can decide what she is willing to do and in effect she’s standing in her own way. If she’s not willing to push past her religious beliefs, then she needs to accept her choice. Maybe reminding her that “she” is the one holding herself back so whining over what she can’t have is silly because “she’s” making the choice

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Reinforce those reasons that brought her to that conclusion and it might help her.

SergeantQueen's avatar

It is hard to come to peace with your own decisions, when you know it’s the right thing to do but it doesn’t feel like it’s the right thing to do. I think it is really up to her to decide whether religion is what she wants to follow or if it’s her heart she wants to follow. That’s a tough choice and only one she can make. I really wouldn’t weigh in by telling her what you think she should do. Let her make that herself. If it’s this much of a dilemma, then she needs to figure it out on her own.

@MrGrimm888 I won’t jump on you for the stripper suggestion, according to OP the girl in question is Muslim and upon doing some research it sounds like overall, they aren’t supportive of dancing that mixes genders,is touchy, or sexual. Scholars said dancing is forbidden only if it leads to indecent touching or movements

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve been smostly successful, as a strong arm. Regardless of my intentions, in life. And that’s my call of duty. Like it, or not…
I’m a master of hurting people. If needed. That’s my main purpose, to the world…...
That’s lovely, to society, but I hate it….There we are, with problems.
I don’t want to hurt anyone else, or be hurt, by another. Is that so wrong?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Making lots of money didn’t fit into the sad story anywhere, so I don’t know how or why you even made the leap to being a stripper.

longgone's avatar

The next time this happens, ask “Would you like me to try and help you feel better, or do you need me to just listen?”

If she wants help feeling more cheeful, remind her that stress and sadness have a meaningful root. If she didn’t care deeply, she’d shrug it off. Ask her where that meaning comes from. What are those religious beliefs, and why are they so valuable to her? On the other hand, what feels so good about dancing? What does her religion say about conflicts like that? Has she maybe experienced similar conflict in the past? How did that turn out? What does she feel when she lives her life in harmony with her inner compass?

If she wants you to just listen, do that. Remember that listening does not mean silence from you. It just means keeping the focus on your friend. When she’s talking, nod and make sounds of agreement whenever something seems true or understandable. Say things like “That makes sense”, “I would feel sad, too” or “Of course! That must be so hard.” Interject your own stories, but very briefly – and make sure to ask a question afterwards so the focus is back on her. Don’t disagree about her feelings – being told to “cheer up” can feel very hurtful to vulnerable people. Even if she says things that seem wrong to you, find the nugget of truth in there. There’s a time and place for everything – debate can be energizing, but understanding and acceptance are of paramount importance in any nurturing relationship.

When you feel like she’s done talking, offer physical comfort – hugs, tea, chocolate, warm blankets, music, a favourite movie. She might have to grieve for her dream, and you can help by just being there.

It sounds like you are a very caring friend.

Inspired_2write's avatar

She could be in a group of women dancers..which is acceptable?
Ballet, etc

Dutchess_III's avatar

Dancing is against her religion. Ballet is dancing.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Religion, and ethics, are great. But, those things don’t pay bills.

I feel like there’s a connection here. The OP, is good at something that involves physical advancement.

She, and I both, could make a ton of money, off of our “God given” traits. If you put ethics, aside…

It’s not something that I’m proud of, or that she could be proud of. But. I was simply referencing true data. Both her, and I, could be making lots of money, doing things we don’t morally agree with.
Feel free to attack me, on this, but you cannot deny the logistics of my responses.
Both men, and women, can make a lot of money, using their bodies, to make large sums of money.
It sucks. But, it’s the way it is.
Don’t shovel it down my throat. I already understand that. But, it’s a way to keep your lights, and electricity running.
I’d do ANYTHING, to change it. But that’s what’s going on.

I’d be homeless, or worse, if I abided by my my moral code. It’s just that simple. Hate myself, in a half way decent lifestyle, or be living in a homeless shelter, and still hate myself. Those are my options.
That’s the truth. The world I live in. If you want me to live in a homeless shelter, while working, you are the ones, that should be looking in the mirror.
Ethics, are a comforting thing. But. Not as comforting, as a roof over your head.
A lot of people here, need to check themselves.
You have to do, what it takes to survive. And THAT isn’t always what you want it to be….

Grow up. And understand the world we live in. I’m happy with those who have a place to sit in judgment. I really am. But, don’t you dare to prescibe, what others should do…
Most of us, have one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel.
I work my ass off, with two jobs.
Don’t you forget, that I’m one of millions. And I have no healthcare. My POTUS, is in jeopardy, because he withheld $450 million, to a foreign aid nation, while our own people starve. That’s good to know.
I live on $5 pizzas, but countries, I could give a fuck about, receive hundreds of millions.
Our own citizens, are starving. But we have to look out, for other countries. BULLSHIT….

I have an an idea. Let’s take care of our own… Then take our forces, and resources, out of other lands….

Yep. I’m just crazy.. Pffft.

Fuck, the Whitehouse. What about our own people?

Dutchess_III's avatar

She isn’t thinking about the money. She wants to follow her dreams. She doesn’t dream about being a prostitute or a stripper.

Doctors and lawyers make a lot of money, too. Why don’t you encourage her in that direction? Why are you so fixated on the sex trade @MrGrimm888?

SergeantQueen's avatar

@MrGrimm888 If dancing is against her religion, stripping or going into any kind of sex work is too.

Listen, that is not a horrible profession for people who willing go into it and truly enjoy it. Those people do exist. Unfortunately, people get into the mindset you have (”She, and I both, could make a ton of money, off of our “God given” traits. If you put ethics, aside… It’s not something that I’m proud of, or that she could be proud of. But. I was simply referencing true data. Both her, and I, could be making lots of money, doing things we don’t morally agree with.”)

That mindset isn’t good. People who go into it for money and all that end up realizing that depending on what you are doing, it’s a lot of work to make that money, and most people don’t last that long in that business. Watch “Hot Girls Wanted” on Netflix. It’s more about pornstars but lots of those women only last a few months and many of them leave because their family finds out, and/or they just aren’t happy. That’s the key. If you aren’t happy doing that kind of thing and/or you aren’t doing it willingly, you will put yourself in a very bad position.
Somebody in that movie was a person who did some very hardcore porn. She was watching a video of a young college girl (can’t remember her name, but she went to an ivy league school and made the news) do that same porn. The girl watching kept talking about how “she doesn’t know what she’s getting into.” Most women don’t.
I think society really looks down on people who do that, and it may be a choice that affects you for life so that’s why it isn’t something to do unless you truly want to.

I think making money is important. You need to make money and you need to consider that when finding a job. But, in reality, your happiness should be a priority and that’s why it is important to not just focus on money, but you and what you want to do. She wants to dance. Dancing can be very beautiful and is a form of art. Stripping is a form of dancing but sounds so far off from what OPs friend wants that there is no point in bringing it up.
I do get your point @MrGrimm888 people can make money off sex work, but it isn’t a steady career even if you do love it.

SergeantQueen's avatar

My main point to you @MrGrimm888 is that it can make money, but it isn’t something you should suggest to people, especially when said person is very religious…

MrGrimm888's avatar

Point taken.

SergeantQueen's avatar

sorry for that

MrGrimm888's avatar

No need to be sorry SQ…
You spoke your mind. I’d be offended, if you didn’t.
Thas my girl….

Mimishu1995's avatar

Warning wall of text ahead

As someone who is also striving for a “crazy” dream myself (publishing a graphic novel), here is my input:

I live in a country where comic books are seriously looked down on. They are widely regarded as trashy media and only suitable for kids but even kids are discouraged from reading comics as a young age in favor for other kinds of books. Even now, when several new artists have risen to innovate the comic scene, most of them are either just writing for children or the “hippie” youth, or read too much trashy comics themselves and delude themselves that they are making a change. So generally nothing has changed.

But I have seen the truth. There are comic books out there that are truly works of art that can rival novels. There are even countries like France which consider comics to be a form of art. So my dream isn’t just about surrounding myself with things I love as a kid, but also solving a problem. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, so making comics is just something I can do.

But talent isn’t the only thing that I can rely on. I have my responsibility, my job, and most of all my parents don’t want me to go for such an uncertain career. There are so many things standing on my way. So when I read your question, I can see there are a lot of similarities between your friend’s story and mine. They both can be summarized like this: “I dream of doing this, but my circumstances are pulling me back”. I’m only 2 more pages before I end my rough draft. So what keeps me going? Everyday I try to squeeze every little time I have in my hand to work. I even draw at work when I have nothing to do. It has come to a point when my colleagues see me drawing and they’re like “Nah, just the usual stuff around here”. I also ask for help a lot and so far there is at least one person who is willing to help me. You may say that I’m lucky enough to have a job that isn’t too demanding and have some good friends, but the point is that once you are determined, you will find a way to process, and those who aren’t assholes will accept your way no matter what. When people see you are determined, they will have no reason to stop you.

But there is also the “real life”. In an ideal world I would have given up my job and stayed at home drawing forever. But this isn’t an ideal world, so we have to find a way to adapt. I have come to accept that I will keep my day job even when the comic is already published so that I will have a steady source income even when I fail. Is your friend working? Or does she have any company that is interested in hiring her for dancing? Or is all this just ideas in her head? Grimm’s answer may be crude, but if you look deeper, he made an excellent point of considering the reality. All of the “follow your dream” quotes are nothing if you don’t have a solid source of money, and you know how uncertain the entertainment industry can be. He is basically suggesting your friend to find a way to reconcile the dream and the worldly demand so that they can support each other, like what I’m doing with my day job. Although I don’t agree with his “selling your soul” suggestion. It’s like asking me to draw the shitty comics I bashed earlier just for more publicity.

Another problem I see with your friend’s story is that she isn’t specific about her dream. “Dancing” is a very broad word. What kind of dancing does she want exactly? Ballet? Hip-hop? Anything in mind? She has no focus, so she doesn’t know where to go. This is the reason why Grimm’s stripper suggestion slipped through. If she was more specific about what she wants, I’m sure Grimm couldn’t even think of stripper in the first place. For me, my goal is to make an epic, thought-provoking, intellectual graphic novel that has a coherent plot and isn’t another cheap instant entertainment in the market.

Having no focus can also be very dangerous. I’m worried she might just be interested in the “idea” of being a dancer and not actually want to be a dancer. If she just saw people dancing on TV and thought “wow! I wish I could dance like that” then that’s a red flag. Her supposed “talent” would act as another red herring. I’ve had people telling me they wish they could draw as well as me, and so far I haven’t seen anyone willing to go through all the hard work, self-doubt and heartbreak that I do (I’ve been drawing for 2 years now).

I still don’t know if I will make it in the end, but at least that’s my experience with following my dream so far. I hope your friend will consider all the reality of following her dream and come up with her own decision. There is nothing wrong with not following your dream, but if you are saying your circumstances are holding you back, you could be making excuses for not doing hard work. I mean, Oprah Winfrey’s grandma used to tell her that she should just be nice so that a white family would adopt her, and there is that Muslim girl whose name I forgot that won a Nobel Peace prize because she fought hard for her right to be educated; so can someone’s religion really what’s holding them back?

MaisyS's avatar

Thank you all so much for your responses.
@Mimishu1995 Since my main focus is actual music and singing, I guess I wasn’t very specific. My friend does have focus (she dances contemporary and interpretive). See her main grievance is that her family won’t let her even approach a company, or audition for anything and that, I think, is her main source of disappointment. As she says, she could maybe swallow this down better if she knew whether she actually even could achieve her dream or not. But her parents won’t even let her do that. But then she also recognizes that that could come with it’s own set of problems, since if she turns out to be good enough to get hired by a company, she would want to do that, and that’s where the actual struggle with her religion and upbringing would come in.
I guess it’s true that now she’s come to a decision, no point crying over it. But she tells me, that’s all well and good, but there are days when it really hits her that her decision means she will never be able to do what she loves. So I’d like to ask on her behalf, and I quote “is it all right for me to grieve sometimes, or would that be too petty and selfish? Because I don’t think I’ll be able to live out my whole life knowing I never even tried and not being allowed to feel sorry for myself once in a while. But when I do let myself feel bad, it feels futile and dumb. But I can’t help it. So is it okay to let myself feel bad for me once in a while?”

snowberry's avatar

@Mimishu1995 that’s so insightful, and a succinct explanation of the creative process! Bravo!

Even if your creative pursuit isn’t recognized for years- or decades for that matter- you’ll still have the satisfaction of pursuing your dream. The joy is in the journey, as they say.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@MaisyS Being religious and a believer means you willingly sacrifice for your religion. I’m concerned that she is in so much pain from this-as she should know from childhood what her options are. And I hope that she continues to embrace her family and religious leaders and draws closer to her Deity and community for comfort.

In some ways, that’s why people of a certain belief system hang out together and do not include people with other beliefs. It’s easier in a way, as they all have the same freedoms and restrictions we have. I just hope you love and encourage her no matter her choice, as a true friend.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wait…her parents won’t “let” her apply…how old is she? Will there ever come a time when she won’t be under her parent’s rule?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Oh lord. I keep forgetting about the age thing. I hope that I didn’t suggest that an underage girl become a stripper….SMH…

Mimishu1995's avatar

@snowberry you are one of the people who helps me on my way. I can’t thank you enough for your kind support, enthusiasm and bad jokes ((((((((HUG)))))))

@MaisyS As many people here have said before, you can say whatever you want, but it’s ultimately up to her to decide. I just don’t feel like she has made a decision though, because if she had already decided to resign, she wouldn’t feel bad about doing nothing. She still seems to be holding onto her dream. You need to ask her again if she really, truly makes up her mind to stop chasing her dream.

Can she ask for solace from her God? I don’t know anything about Muslim, but does the Higher Being offer love and acceptance for all good followers like Christian? She sacrifices her personal desire for her religion, so I guess she can ask for acceptance from her Muslim God.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(BTW, @MrGrimm888…for you to work in the sex industry, your main audience would be gay men. Are you cool with that?)

MrGrimm888's avatar

^No. And that is an honest response, by you. That’s my Dutch.
I have been approached by females, who have offered me, tempting deals. Typically, they are in their late 40’s, or so. Slightly older than me. I have so far, declined. I may have to take them up, on their offerings though…. I have to pay my bills…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Let’s put it this way….IF your only clientele were men, would you still be so gung ho about working in the sex industry?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Honestly, no… But I’ve seriously received offers, by slightly older females. Usually, in the $300, a night avenue.

Most of those women, were very pretty. They groped me, for free. And offered me money, to come stay with them…

I remember taking an intoxicated woman, down a freight elevator, once. She was pretty, but probably 5 years older, than me. She literally said “can I just smell you.” I was taking her down the freight elavator, so she wouldn’t fall down the stairs…
I told her,it would be inappropriate, to “smell” me. I am positive, I could have gotten, at least a blow job, from her. But, I’m a professional.
She got safely, to an Uber cab. And I assume she got home, from that point on….
Call me what you want, but I’ve backed away from multiple scenarios. I was HIS, head of security. And I took the position, as well as I could.
I hooked up with a few girls, after 2AM , but that was when I was off the clock

And it was rare. But always off the clock. Therefore, off of of my legal timetable.

It was consented, and therefore, legal…
I’m not a rapist…

SergeantQueen's avatar

it is best to not give advice you yourself would not follow, or be okay with doing.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^I didn’t bring up homosexual prostitution.
I’d honestly sell myself, to another man. But the price would be quite high.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If I were a female, I wouldn’t hesitate to make bank, like that.” Well, why would you hesitate at homosexual sex for money? Why would you charge a lot more? And WHY did you ever turn down $300 for sex?

MrGrimm888's avatar

I turned down the money, because I was a LEO. I don’t have to tell you that just because I am an atheist, doesn’t mean that I don’t have ethics Dutch.
I wasn’t just a LEO. I was the HOS. I had to lead, by example. I would have hooked up with most of those women, for free. But, I maintained my oath. Like I said, I did get with some, after, I was off the clock. I’m only human. But. I never abandoned my post. Only twice, did I go outside of the law… That ain’t so bad, for all the years, I was a LEO. One woman, practically raped me. She wouldn’t take “no,” as an answer. And I was only 20 years old. She was relentless, and I eventually gave in. I’m not proud of it, but, it was a great night. I’m not sure if people were protected, that night. I fucked up…

I’m upset with myself, about the situation. I’m not perfect. I don’t pretend to be. But, what a night… I got no money, but got something better. She didn’t really speak English, and I knew just enough Spanish, to help it happen…She was the only Latino female, I have been with.
I fucked up…Probably should have been fired….

It was around the time of my birthday, and had just did some things with friend Laura. It’s not an excuse. But, again, I’m only human. I let her do, her thing. I said “no,” multiple times…
But, she kept on, and got me….

She was older than me, by a few years. Like I said, it was pretty much rape… But, I couldn’t resist… She knew what she was doing…

It made no sense. It was crazy.

The other girl, was crazy. I knew it. But, I ignored the signs, and hooked up stupidly. I was mesmerized, by her, and fucked up again. I eventually turned her down. It cost me a lucrative job, and her….

I’m just a fuck up….

I try SO hard, and usually fuck up everything… That’s me….

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ethics? I don’t think sex is unethical. If someone is willing to prostitute themselves, then go for it. It’s just sex. BFD.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I felt it unechiical. At the time. And so, I responded similarly.

It wasn’t easy….

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s that straight laced Christian attitude of anything that’s fun must be a sin.

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