Last year, I wrote a post entitled ‘Dear Daughter, Dream Bigger’. It started out as a rant resulting from an early morning confrontation with a terrible ad on the subway for breast augmentation. It ended up being an impassioned prayer for my daughter, myself, and females in general.
I’ve never shied away from dreaming. My Dad takes great pleasure in telling a story in which I encounter a strange electrical socket in our backyard. It stood about two feet above ground, but the actual plugs were covered. To everyone else, it was an intrusive nuisance. To me it was a microphone- and at scarcely four years old, I would pause in front of that backyard eyesore and sing my little heart out. There was some poetry and spoken word too. It was just so obviously an instrument for amplifying my stories.
Over time we start to believe that our hearts desires and dreams won’t always bring the accolades they once did when we were young and cute. We learn that there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, and everyone needs a plan B, right?
It took me a while to get back to the place of dreaming, but now it’s my manifesto:
Dreaming | Scheming | Always Believing
Even when dreams die, schemes fail, and my belief is momentarily shaken, those words bring me back to center and remind of the importance of time and space for dreaming freely.
Last week I abandoned my manifesto. I was scared. I had a freelance gig that stretched me and taxed me and made my eyes cross just a little. I remembered what it felt like to have a boss, and earn money and praise, but also an evaluation and it was scary. I was afraid that in order to achieve success there, I would have to abandon my own dreams. I was afraid that someone’s vision and dream would edge mine out because maybe there isn’t enough room for more than one dreamer in a single space. And when I believe the lie that dreaming is not ok, I start to feel less and less like myself and the person I know I was created to be.
In a fear saturated moment (and probably the height of PMS) I scrawled on my white board in Moby, STOP DREAMING, $TART WORKING. It was a defensive posture against the inevitable dream crush that was surely coming my way. It was a reminder that there are seasons in life and now was a time for gainful employment, not abstract dreaming.
Later that evening, I found my daughter erasing my new manifesto.
“Did you write this?” she asked. I felt like our roles had reversed and she was showing me a pack of cigarettes demanding to know if they were mine. I couldn’t speak so she continued. “No. No no no, this is not ok. You can never write that and you can never think or believe it either.”
I have never been overly confident in parenting. I started too young to pretend to have it all together, and I am now too seasoned to perpetuate any possible myths that I’m Mom of the Year. But wait, there's more.
It would seem that miraculously, the combination of my many shortcomings as a mother, plus all the time I invested in dreaming while being a mother, had amounted to a daughter who not only believed in that power for herself, but also wanted the same for me. Because this realization salvaged what was an otherwise terrible day, I am not even going to get mad that SHE ENTERED MY SACRED SPACE WITHOUT PERMISSION.
Dreams for the win.