Often at night, I'll lay awake in my bed trying to grasp a picture of where my life is headed, or what I want the future to look like. I imagine myself a teacher, running around and playing with 3rd and 4th graders. Then I think about secondary education, and I see myself lecturing up front, but having deep meaningful conversations outside of class, and having youth groups over to my house on Friday nights. Then I picture myself running a business, decorating my own small bakery in a little town, baking away everyday. Then I picture myself traveling the world as a successful business woman, knowing multiple languages and selling medical drugs or something. Then I think, what if I became a physical therapist here in Coeur d'Alene and I owned a house and boat on Hayden Lake. Then I picture myself living in a small house, and teaching Zumba classes everyday as a side job from being a mom. And then I think, maybe when I'm out of college, and I'm still young and single, I'll go find an apartment in Seattle and work at a fancy restaurant. But after all of these options run through my head I always go back to remembering my secret dream as a child.
I remember being a tiny tike growing up and playing library in my room with my brother, and school in the playroom by myself, and house in the small playhouse in the backyard with my sister. There was one thing that I loved more than pretending to be a librarian, a teacher, or a mom, it was being a famous musician. All the way up to when I was about 5 or 6 I would sing songs all day, just making up words that maybe didn't make sense, but it wouldn't matter, I just sang all day long. I would go down to the basement with my sister and we'd stand on our toy box in the middle of the room and sing Shania Twain's "Man I Feel Like a Woman" over and over with hairbrushes as our microphones, at a "sold out concert." When we got a little older we'd record ourselves, using our tape recorder, being "broadcasted on radio talk shows" as special guests. We'd make country music video's with the old video camera, and watch the top 25 greatest hits every morning in the summer. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them with enthusiasm, "I want to be a singer!!!" But as I got older I began to notice that the more people I told about my dream, the more I got shut down. People would laugh at me and say things like, "Well honey, you better start thinking of another dream, that's just not realistic." And at first, I didn't believe them, but eventually I stopped telling people what I wanted to be, instead my answer changed to something like, "Ummm... I don't know, I've never really thought about it." I've never told people I wanted to be a doctor, or a firefighter, or a teacher, I've always just sort of known my passion, and tucked it away, because it's "unrealistic."
And I'm not saying that now, at this age, I still want to become famous. I realize what fame can do to a person. I've believed what I've been told, that I'm not good enough, that I'd never make it, and it's just unrealistic. But I wish people's opinions had never had an effect on me in the first place, because I've been changed by them, and I'm not the same energetic, passionate little girl I once was.
I wish I never listened to peer pressure, and I never had to battle with society's demands, but I think at some point, we all do. We all fall short of what we're meant to become. If only we knew how much we were capable of. If I could only see myself as I did when I was a kid, without the put downs and the doubts blinding me from potential, maybe then I would know what I wanted, and I would push for it until I made it become my reality.