Garden of Steel Magnolias

Dreams from the trash

Although this ad is to encourage recycling, I started listening to the words. It transfixed me.  My family wondered why I was recording a recycling ad.  But listen with me: “They told me I was a piece of  trash and that is all I would ever be. . . a bottle couldn’t see the ocean . . . give up and go back to the dumpster.”

There are people told this every day.  I was one of them.  Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not important enough to have dreams. Dumb and ugly should know its place and stay there.  I refused, in little ways at first, but louder and bolder as I grew up.

It took years for me to dream, and more to feel I deserved to dream, but, much like that little plastic bottle, I have gotten there.

I wonder if the creators of the ad had any thought of deeper layers in  the words–of talking about people as well as plastic.  Life is recycling, after all, changing, growing, re-inventing oneself.

Am I  odd  alone in seeing this ad and thinking of all the “disposable” people in the world? Is it just my childhood memories coloring my vision?


6 thoughts on “Dreams from the trash”

  1. I can’t help thinking that they did. That they knew this ad would reverberate for those of us who were once made to feel like trash but somehow kept striving for our dreams.

    The ad, filtered through the interpretation of your post, sent shivers up my spine. I want to sit on that bench beside the ocean. I want to BE that bench beside the ocean.

    1. I know, Kassandra–I want to be that bench, too. For a minute-long ad, there were so many evocative images: the no vacancy sign, shivering under the newspapers, sheltering from the rain. It makes me tear up, and then smile. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. No, I don’t think you are alone. I think this ad was created with a lot of subtext. It really plays into our own insecurities. But then, maybe if they strike a cord, we will also relate to how garbage can affect our lives. What we do with garbage or how we feel about garbage. Many of us were made to feel like that mismanaged piece of garbage. Hopefully, most of us have risen above all the garbage abuse. This was a real post Elizabeth. And, as always, a well written post. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    1. There is a lot of subtext, Karen, I agree. Your point that people will make the connection with how we treat garbage is a very good one. We live in such a disposable world, of both garbage and people.

      Thank you for the compliments, and I appreciate your stopping by to comment.

  3. I remember that mantra from earlier decades, maybe the 1970s: Perseverance furthers! The video does remind us of our dreams. I think many of us still see ourselves as we once were as children — afterthoughts, sometimes with dark baggage to carry, to confront, to heal from. Writing a memoir requires us to look clearly at what happened to shape who we are. Maybe that’s another reason this beautiful video appealed to you.

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