You ask me what’s my pleasure,
A movie or a measure.
I’ll have a cup of tea
And tell you of my dreamin’
Dreamin’ is free.
When I think of all the dreams I’ve had over the years, I wonder why some came true, some didn’t and some didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted.
The Dreams that Didn’t Come True
Fame and Fortune
As a youth, I had dreams of being a star, (model, singer) and moving to New York. It was the late seventies and the music scene in New York was brilliant. I would hang out with the Ramones and Mick Jagger and then expire at the “old” age of 25.
Well, clearly that didn’t happen. Instead I ended up in a clerical job right out of high school and basically that’s where I’ve stayed.
It wasn’t because I didn’t try to get into the arts or because I wasn’t talented enough. This town I live in on the damp coast is a very small town when it comes to the arts. What I was trying to break into was a very limited and closed scene. It consisted of a group of people who “were here first” and despite some of them having no talent whatsoever, they dictated who got to be part of the arts in Vancouver. Let’s just say that in this town, there were a lot of people who liked to tell you what you couldn’t do.
So the dream of being a professional performer faded away.
I always dreamed of having a strong, fit body. Never having to worry about my weight. Well, THAT certainly didn’t happen. Never would I have dreamed that I get cancer, twice. Nor would I ever have thought I’d be so consumed by depression that I couldn’t even enjoy my baby boy.
Yet I’ve come through, a few battle scars, but still standing. And my “little” boy is doing just fine.
The man I love
My husband and I have been through a lot: deaths, insane sibling, betrayal, cancer, births, separations, divorces. We’ve had many rough moments but I thought we’d somehow stick together. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Had he put us first, we may have made it. But clearly he didn’t feel the same way and literally said that I wasn’t worth the effort.
Cue the music: On my own (Patti Labelle, Michael MacDonald)
There were other dreams that were simpler.
Like having hair that always looked smooth and perfect. I’d spend an hour styling my hair just so. 10 minutes outside and my hair did what it wanted.
Another was always looking well groomed. There were moments I achieved it but somehow I always felt a little wrinkled around the edges. Things like my clothes never feeling just right so I was constantly tugging and pulling at them. Or my accessories weren’t quite what I’d hoped for. The only time my nails ever were perfect, no smudges or chips, was on my wedding day. They looked perfect that day.
The funny part is no one else noticed or cared! Ridiculous creatures we humans, eh? So self absorbed.
The Dreams that Came True
I always dreamed of having children and while the fates didn’t allow me more than one, he is a wonderful gift. Junior has been the source of many laughs and joyous moments. When he was little, I had to slow down in order for him to keep up. It forced me to enjoy the moments that I otherwise would have plowed through. With each age, I’ve been able to see the world through his eyes and discover quirky new wonders that I would have missed if he hadn’t pointed it out.
Room of My Own
Virginia Wolfe said, “A woman needs money and a room of her own.”
I have the great pleasure of having a room of my own with a garden which I’ve been able to turn into my personal sanctuary. When the world gets crazy, I can retreat to my sanctuary and feel safe and calm. If the other people who inhabit my sanctuary get crazy, I can retire to one corner where I have candles and objects that help me be quiet.
I have been blessed with many good friends and acquaintances along my way.
Some were only friends for a season and enriched my life experience while they were in my life. Some left this dimension too early but I will always treasure their laughter and support in my heart. When things get tough, I can send them a thought and pretend I feel their strength coming back to me.
Other friends have been with me through many years and hopefully will be here for many years more. Friends I can laugh and just be myself with.
And, of course, there will be those friends yet to come.
While I never “made” it as a professional performer, there were still lots of places I could perform and I went after them.
I had to perform for free of course but I performed for a lot of people over the years and it has been fulfilling in a way. I even had the chance to sing for the Queen of Denmark. I loved being in musicals where I could sing, dance and act all at the same time. What a hoot.
All the great performers and people that I’ve had the privilege to work with! So many interesting and quirky people. There was rarely a dull moment.
During one period of time where I was off work, I decided to go to music school. It was a wonderful 3 years. I studied and performed music every day. My voice was good enough that I could join the Madrigal singers. It was sheer heaven to stand with a small group of people where you could hear how each voice fit into the mix. So exhilarating! I discovered that I love singing in choirs. The power of the human voice raised in song has to be the greatest power on earth.
Performing also kept me sane. Clerical work can really suck the life out of you.
Those yet to come
Fame and Fortune
With age, my dreams have changed slightly. I still crave the spotlight but not in the huge arena type of way. It’s the discreet back room kind of way.
So, I’ve chosen to write about what I know and what I think about. Perhaps I can connect with a worldwide audience? It would be fun to gain enough notoriety so that when I run into, say, Anthony Bourdain, he’ll say, “Oh yeah, Damp Coast Dame. Love your blog. Want to do lunch?” Heck, I’d be happy if I go to my local cheese shop and they say, “Oh hey, love your blog! How about 25% off your favourite cheese?”
While I may be struggling right now, I WILL get fit and healthy. I do not intend to be wheelchair bound or even walker bound. I’ll use a cane but I’m working towards not having to. My great grandfather was riding his bike to town until he died at 96. That’s what I’m aiming for – full of vim and vinegar until the day I move on.
Today I really couldn’t give a damn if I looked wrinkled around the edges or my shirt isn’t perfectly ironed. I still like a nicely pressed shirt but now it’s a question of whether I want to spend my time ironing or listening to the robins on a spring afternoon. The robins win every time.
My other dreams, which I have no control over, is that I NEVER get cancer again and that I get to live to be 100. One hundred is a nice round number to expire at. I also wish for my son to have a life full of love and happiness, never to know the pain of illness or premature death.
In the end, dreams are what help one get through the tough aspects of life. I’ve had many, some which I don’t even remember now. If you stop dreaming, I think you stop living. Without dreams, life becomes sad and untenable. I’ve been there and I wouldn’t recommend it.
Life is much better with dreams and sunshine. I wish you both.
Sunshine lollipops song by Leslie Gore. Enjoy!