Living the 'Dream'

04/16/2014 07:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017


A younger woman wore my clothes. An older woman held my soul. A teenage heart called my dreams. A mᅢᄅlange of ladies walked in this body of mine for years untold, unharnessed and dis-remembered. Now at last, these three of me have come together into an aching and powerful whole. I have sum and substance. I am learning myself full and complete. There is punch and pith to this lady that I am.

But before? How very little I really knew. How very much I ignored. How terribly brave I was in my self-bought confusion and never-admitted despair. For I had bought the dream of another, don't you see? I paid in the coin of a solidly useful education and a time-to-settle-down marriage. I paid in the coin of a beautiful house and a stylish car. I paid in the belief that if I did what was expected of me I would be happy and my life would be just grand.

How come it takes so many years and so many tears to finally see that what we have actually done is bought into someone else's version of living? How easily we pass off the particulars of our individual souls to the managed care of a cultural model that we don't even question. How sad it is that it takes so very long, if ever, for us to truly know that an alive and singing heart is worth all the world of purses, potions and patent answers. Why do we so easily allow our dreams to be squished before we can even fully mouth them -- much less dream them completely?

Why is it OK to pigeonhole and staple the uniqueness of ourselves into some path or purpose that only makes sense if money and being successful are the reasons we walk this planet? And, how does a big bank account and a designer house feed a soul, chime a heart or call a spirit awake to the true joy of life that is our birthright? We have let the outside world of expected-living terrorize and silence the inside. You know, that part of us that talked to trees, knew that lizards could sing and understood that the wind was magic.

I never thought to question the goals and "why"s and "wherefore"s of the path I was presented as a youngster and a young woman. I must confess: I did become a renegade. I did call my own shots and travel my own ill-starred path for a number of years. Then what? It was time to "behave." So, I got married. I settled down and got serious about doing the deal. I buckled up and battened down the hatches of my being to fit into the "life I'd always dreamed of."

Do you see the problem here? I never really dreamed of this life I so blithely plugged myself into. I just bought the "dream" package that everyone else was sold. It took me 30 years to figure out that it was all pretty much BS -- at least for me -- and that it was slowly killing me. Because the inner part of me -- that inside part that laughed and created and loved and joyed -- had gone to sleep, years and years before.