Saturday, July 20, 2013

Truth in Dreaming Dreams

There are so many lies we as human beings listen to. We use every excuse imaginable to avoid success.  
We act as though accomplishments are something to fear.  We come up with every excuse to prove the imminent failure of any dreams we've ever had.  These internal put-downs are quite often the result of lies we were told in our lifetimes, which we diligently carried with us in order to avoid rejection or pain.

Growing up I was constantly reminded that dreams, especially mine, were ridiculous and stupid.  When I circled the modeling agency ad in the teen magazine, my mother and step-father laughed at me.  They told me the outfit I'd saved weeks to buy made me look like a bag lady.  They often made hurtful remarks about my overbite and crooked teeth, which were never fixed.  I was told I looked horrible without makeup, in harsher, more vulgar words.  I was told I was over-emotional and stupid, and that I would never be more than a factory worker.  I was told no man would ever stay with me.  My diaries were read and sometimes mocked.  I was made to feel worthless.

I was shy and introverted, but I did fight back.  I argued, stayed out longer than I should, hung out with friends they hated.  My own rebellion was comparatively mild compared to that of some of my peers, but it was still as much rebellion as I dared.  As much as I wanted to have my freedom, I was terrified of overstepping the strict boundaries I'd been confined to. I was terrified of exploring life, for fear I'd be ridiculed.

I was so afraid of living life that I took great pains to avoid it.  When my friends went skiing I told myself I'd probably get hurt badly.  When my best friend got married and moved into the cute little apartment in the city of Hartford, expecting me to rent a room with them, I told myself it would end badly and I'd only be a third wheel.  I told myself I wasn't smart enough to write anything worthwhile, even when everyone around me told me I should write; even though everything within me needs to write.  I opted out of events, parties, get-togethers, meeting new people, going to new places.  I settled for whatever seemed safest.

Lately I have joined a group of many other people who share some of the same fears.  Surprisingly, many of these people are successful and put-together.  I'd never expected anyone successful to have fears, especially fears so similar to my own.  Many other people are wall-flowers like me, preferring to shrink back from success entirely.  The fears they've expressed mirror my own; they fear others will think their dreams are crazy or stupid.  The group has been challenged to examine their fears, to share them, to discuss them, and ultimately to realize the truths their fears have hidden.  

I went into this with three goals.  The first goal is a major project involving a local organization.  I was certain this particular goal would be condescendingly laughed at and brushed off as a silly notion.  I took the initiative to create a proposal for my idea and delivered it by hand.  Much to my surprise, the proposal was warmly welcomed and even applauded.  I heard words like inspirational and exciting.  It was exhilarating, but more than that it was validating to be viewed as a worthwhile and intelligent human being.  

The third of my goals is a much larger one, which will take longer to achieve and much more hard work.  I've not talked about it much because it seemed to crazy.  It's not something so outlandish to have never been done before.  I'd just always assumed it was too much for me to expect of myself.  Within this group are a few people with similar goals.  One in particular shares many, if not all, of the same viewpoints I do.  I've gained a whole new level of confidence in my dreams through our conversations, and even in sharing these ideas with the group.  I've begun to see the possible reality in things I'd merely thought of as fantasies before, and have even dreamed some new dreams. I know this goal can be accomplished.  Some of the newer dreams might not, but I believe they're worth holding out hope for anyway.  One never knows what Providence might have in store.

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