As many of the my clients and people in my life know, I like to talk a lot about dreams. Not only the ones that take over our consciousness when we are asleep, but those that have been with us from an early, early age. When I was very young, I always wanted to be either a writer or a movie star. Funny, I know, such lofty dreams. I remember seeing the movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and later seeing an interview with Darlene Cates who plays Mama in the film. She stated that she had been discovered on an episode of Sally Jessy Raphael discussing self-imprisonment due to obesity. And I remember thinking, if she can be a movie star, anyone can. And for years, when accomplishing their dreams with my adolescent clients I would explain that the only difference between me and Tom Cruise is that he showed up for the interview. Well, maybe more than that, but to some extent, I do believe that to be true. You have to show up to even have a chance.
But time goes on, we get jobs, settle down, design a path for our lives and all of a sudden what seemed like we had an eternity to accomplish now seems like thousands and thousands of miles away. My mother always dreamed of either being a movie star or a costume designer. When she and my aunt were little, they would perform musicals, especially “Singing in the Rain” in front of their house. She loved Alfred Hitchcock movies because of the elaborate gowns costumed by Edith Head and said that when she was young she had longed to work for her, sewing costumes Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn might wear in “Rear Window” or “Charade”. And every year she would throw a small gathering for the Oscars. She would always dress up as Sharon Stone, which meant that she wore a low cut silver sweater set and black capri’s with stacked black flip flops, not much different than what she usually wore, except that she would have a name tag that said “Sharon Stone”. And during the Oscars, all four hours, no one was allowed to talk, except for Bobbie…the queen of the cinema.
And I wonder what happened to her dreams. She constantly preached that we were on borrowed time and that you should make the most of your life now, but she never really practiced these lessons. In fact, I believe that fear and self-doubt kept her grounded in her proverbial mud of complacency and lack of empowerment to realize that yes, dreams were just around the corner, you just had to believe in yourself enough. And now I find myself falling into the same kind of rut, but maybe, just maybe, due to a small but amazing event, the realization of these dreams will come true again for me.
For the past few weeks, I have heard on the news and in the magazines about this woman, Susan Boyle, who took the tv show “Britain’s Got Talent” by storm when she surprised them with her awesome performance. Susan is a 47 year old woman from a small village who longed to be like Elaine Paige. I had not seen the broadcast but tonight was reading an article about her which stated that her performance had attained astonishing hits on youtube. So I sat down in front of my computer, looked up this Susan Boyle and laughed along with the others…until she began to sing. Literally within seconds, tears welled up in my eyes and my skin was alive with goosebumps. It wasn’t that she could only sing, it was that she knew that she could sing and she had a passion for singing. Inspiring. Awesome. A small sort of miracle. If you have not seen this, you must. It has set a fire alive in me that has not been there in a long time, once again igniting my creative juices and dreams.
Several years ago, I applied for a renewal grant through the United Way. Not once did I doubt that I would get the grant, not from a place of arrogance, I just didn’t doubt it much. I wanted it, put a lot of effort into writing the grant and then surrendered it. Amazingly enough, I got the grant. But what was interesting was that at the awards ceremony, I was the youngest recipient out of 35 with much, much less experience than most of the people in the room. I was baffled why I received the grant when I knew so many people didn’t. But looking back, I believe I had a sort of confidence or determination or dream drive that would back down. If I wanted something then dammit, I was going to get it. And usually I did.
And now I feel like I’m back. Digging my way out of this rut that I’ve been in and stretching out my wings to soar towards those dreams before it’s too late; which trust me, sometimes it is. And if I have to say this in every blog I will. We’re on borrowed time as it is.
So thank you Susan Boyle, I appreciate your strength to get up there and your candor in telling the world of your dreams and not being afraid. And remember, like at the end of the movie “Pretty Woman”…Everyone has a dream. What’s your dream? What’s your dream?