Be A Dreamer! Encourage Others to Dream!

For a very long time, I didn’t have a dream. It’s almost sad. I was confused on what defined a dream and what was expected of me to do. Graduate college, get married, have a family.

My husband is a dreamer. Thank goodness. Because of him, I’m able to see what believing in your dreams looks like. Up until now, I was living vicariously through him.  My husband, who is Deaf, dreamed of being a pilot. But for years, he was told NO, due to his Deafness. Last year, he stumbled upon Deaf Pilots Association and ever since has been working on his pilot’s license. He is on track of obtaining his private pilot license this year.  His biggest dream is becoming a reality.

I tried to reflect and pinpoint, did I ever have a dream? What was my dream? Why did I not pursue them? I keep coming back to one very vivid memory in my mind. The actual event probably was about 5 seconds of my life, but I have carried it with me for a very long time.

My brother and I were the only hearing kids with Deaf parents in our neighborhood. Actually, during our entire primary education. I’m the oldest, by two years. During elementary school, I got teased because of my parents. They would mimic their voices, act really stupid and laugh at me.  I was such a sensitive girl. I didn’t have a scar on my heart before these kids got to me. I was so innocent and trusting. I couldn’t believe these kids were talking about my parents, I would cry. I just couldn’t contain it. My crying only resulted in more teasing. My brother, who is two years younger than I, was “cool”. To my knowledge he was never teased. He seemed pretty popular actually. 

I can remember thinking in 6th grade- Junior High is going to be different. I’ll be able to start fresh. New kids from migrating from different schools. When I arrived to junior high, a few kids didn’t want me to start fresh. During this year, was very difficult. Kids shared with others my history, my sensitivity. They knew I was a “crybaby”. I remember it being pretty tough at times. It did start to get better and by the time I was a freshman in High School the teasing seemed to stop. However, my self-esteem was crushed. The damage had been done. People had already made their opinions of me. I was very timid, shy and withdrawn during this time.

The 5 seconds I pinpoint of having a small dream was during my sophomore year.  I really wanted to audition for a play. I have no idea what play it was, but auditions were being held after school. I never told anyone my desire to try out. I remember walking past the front office from my locker, on my way out. The auditorium was across a wall of doors that led to the parking lot. I was walking in the middle of the 4 foot wide hall way. The doors to the auditorium were closed, except for one. As I walked past the door, it was only natural to glance to the right. Just like when you are driving a car and you glance to the driver in the next car. As I glanced, my steps stopped. I found my eyes had adjusted perfectly to the stage, where one dim light was shining on a female student, Melanie.  I saw her, at just a glance, and my body just froze. The feeling I had was awe and envy. I was not in awe of her talent, but that she was putting herself out there. I wasn’t envious that she would ultimately get the part, but the envy of having the nerve to try out.

I remembered feeling the teasing had just stopped, I didn’t want to start all over again. I couldn’t bear it for the remainder  of my high school sentence.

I put that dream of performing out of my mind. Technically it was forgotten.  During college, I learned to breathe a bit better. No one knew me! I didn’t have to tell anyone about my parents. I attended numerous colleges and universities trying to find my occupation. I graduated, worked as a paralegal, became a mother, stayed home to raise my children only to find, I don’t have a dream.

I live in a small town, we moved here 2 years ago, from Chicago. In my small town of 35,000, we have an active theater community. Last fall, I saw an ad in our local paper for auditions. Immediately, I knew I was going to try out, regardless of being cast. I was going to try out! I wanted the experience.  To my amazement, I was cast as one of the 5 ladies for Vagina Monologues. It was a tremendous experience that had us performing 11 sold out shows. We were also hired at another community theater one hour from here, another 2 performances.  A total of 13 shows! I had a bit of the bug, so I went on to do another audition, this time through the community college. Prior to being cast with three small parts in Nickel and Dimed, the director sent me an email. He thought I had a strong read and considered me for the lead role. Since it was a college production, the part needed to go to an able student first.  I totally understood, and he could have been trying to make me feel better about the three parts, he succeeded. I was on cloud nine.

I still don’t have a dream, but I am beginning to define it. I know it is within the arena of performing, whether it is a speaker, an actress on the side or something more. It feels great.

I don’t know if my parents had the tools to be encouraging in my dreams. Perhaps being raised in the 1960’s, they were not encouraged to envision dreams. To see BIG dreams and go for it. They certainly understood goals. They understood the nature of being hard working. They understood what others explained a good life looks like. Go to school, get a job, have a family. I certainly can’t blame anyone.  I can only learn. I’ve learned if I see a speck of interest in anything from my children, I’m going to let them explore that passion. It may result in their wildest dreams.

As a side note, I googled that female performer. She is doing theater in California.

What’s your dream?

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  1. Good post and enjoyed your writing.

    For twenty+ years, I had a dream to write a book and it was a big dream. I finally achieved my dream and wrote the MindField book.
    I realize that you cannot achieve without a dream.
    And I still have big dreams, to have every deaf children in America to be bilingual, ASL/English(writing and reading).

    Keep on Dreaming!

    John F. Egbert

  2. Karen Mayes

    My dream is to become a farmer. No kidding! I worked on the dude ranch in the remote part of Colorado, toiled the soil at Vegetarian Hotel in Catskill Mts., and my hands tingle at the vibration of the soil. And I eye with envy at the certified organic small farmers at the farm markets I go to. I know it is possible to make the dream come true… buy a few acres of land and do something about it. Like you, I too attended colleges, got married, had kids, had part time jobs (still do), putting my dreams aside. I do have potted plants out on my apartment’s balcony…but it is not enough for me.

    My husband knows my desire… we are bidding our time until the day we buy the land in which my husband would comfortable commute to his full time job as a software developer and I could work on the small farm…

  3. codadiva

    Thank you John for your nice words. I’m flatter you enjoy my writing, coming from an author!

    Mary, what a beautiful image. I saw your balcony plants emerge into a farmland. Thank you, for sharing.

  4. *Boston

    My dream is to create things out of materials. I finally got to live my dream by having a “side” job creating greeting cards, making stuff out of polymer clay and I’m really getting into the hang of it. Just to live through this dream, nothing could not be more fulfilling that that!

    My next dream is to become artist full-time and having my own studio… I think that’s the dream I’m going to pursue after I retire from the state job. That’ll take me 10 years!

    I had other dreams and they came true for me:

    1. Saw Barbra Streisand concert here in Boston, last October and;
    2. Married the love of my life in this state of Massachusetts where they allow gay marriage.

    My husband is also a dreamer, he quitted his job as a psychiatrist to become an actor… Right now he is extremely happy with his new career and moving on very well.

    Bottom line: Dream a little and you get huge results!

  5. Barbara Derengowski

    Lisa, you would never know that you were a shy little girl. You are a very outgoing person a leader and a helpful friend. I’m glad to have shared times with you. Your dreams have come true thew your children and husband. Keep up the great blog.




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