You might recall from my last post that my word of the year is “dream”, or “DREAM” – depending on how I want to sound when I’m typing it. And it’s already making me a wee bit crazy
When I think of dreams, I think of Martin Luther King Jr. (who doesn’t?) and then I think of my childhood fantasies, wishes and hopes. Rainbows. Unicorns. Things I think are hilarious and totally ridiculous and why bother. Just the word “dream” is so fucking earnest. It’s reality TV shows and dying people’s wishes.
But for me, choosing the word “dream” for 2018 is already seriously threatening my well-being and balance (random crying jags yesterday), and not because I think it’s kind of corny and I’m too cool for dreams.
Throughout my childhood and up until my senior year in high school I was a good singer and musician. When I was really little I wrote songs on the piano. I learned violin and cello and guitar (never got great at any of them, but quickly got “good enough” to get bored). When I got older I got into my school’s amazing Glee Club a year early.
At boarding school I was introduced to a visiting voice coach who used to sing in the Metropolitan Opera chorus, Ruth Lansche. She pushed me to learn the basics, to train and to build my repertoire of songs and languages. I started entering and winning State singing competitions, getting leads in the school musicals, giving solo recitals and I got ready to pursue it as a career, which meant auditions at all the best conservatories.
And, while they were essentially absent during these competitive, intense singing training years (because my father was newly married to a horrible person, and my mom was reinventing her post-divorce life), both my parents made it clear they thought I could and should do this singing thing and they were ready to pay for the schools and private coaching.
But I gave it up.
Get this: I decided I wanted a “normal” college experience with boyfriends and parties and cigarettes once in a while, like my sisters and their friends had.
You might recall from the rest of this blog that I was overweight this whole singing-success time, and not exactly a boy magnet. My plan was to take my grandmother’s traditional $3000 graduation gift and give it to NutriSystem so I could lose all the weight (30lbs) the summer after high school and start over in college. I’d finally be a cool, pretty and popular girl who didn’t have this weird singing training thing, and weird theater community/group of friends, and didn’t have to wear scarves all the time to protect my throat, and didn’t have to learn a million foreign languages so I could sing them properly.
And my plan worked. I lost weight. I got a very hot boyfriend. I smoked a ton of cigarettes and drank a ton of drinks. I had a “cool” group of friends. And I stopped singing except for the odd attempt at seducing boys with an obscure cover song on my guitar.
Today, 25 years later, I am not thin. I am not in touch with anyone from college. And I still don’t sing. Luckily, I do still have my two best friends from boarding school because- duh- they were real friends from a time when I was the real me.
It hurts so much to think about it. Not a day in my life goes go by that I don’t kick myself and wish with all my might that I could go back 25 years and un-do that decision.
After being given a special talent, I threw it away like a piece of trash.
So I don’t dream. I don’t deserve to dream.
When I do come up with something fun and exciting to try, I picture it as a huge bright floating orb, and then I pull out the “what’s realistic?” garden hose and spray at it until it fizzles, shrinks and drops back to earth with a light thud, looking a lot more like a new work task, less like a fun project.
So, reader, this is going to be a long haul in 2018. Wish me luck.