Wednesday, October 7, 2015

When Dream Crushers Come Knocking

Someone once told me in so many words that it's OK to dream, but don't ever let it get in the way of real life.

At the time I was told that, I was crushed. You mean to tell me everything I've been dreaming about for years is not worth entertaining until you can turn it into reality? Dang! I can still feel the disappointment from hearing that. I can also still feel the determination I had then that pushed me to disregard that person's bleak statement.

At the young age of 3, my mother taught me to read and write. Since then, I've read thousands of books and I've written hundreds of stories and poems. I always sort of knew I wanted to be a writer. It just took me awhile to follow my dreams.

At first, I sort of put aside my writing and decided at 7 years old that I wanted to be a horse trainer. Funny, right? "Nobody can make a living off of that ..." I can't tell you how many "dream crushers" told me that.

OK, OK, fine; I enjoyed illustrating all of my stories, so at 12, I decided I wanted to be an artist. Here comes the dream crushers ... "Oh you can't make a living off of that either. You will have to eat out of dumpsters trying to sell your art." Well, gee, thanks ...

So at 14, when I started high school at a private school, I decided to pursue another passion of mine -- cars! I knew a lot of small things about them but I decided to really get involved. I enrolled in college-accredited courses. I was going to be a mechanic. While Italian Bulls and Shelbies put butterflies in my stomach, I knew I would never get far enough to ever live to work on one or drive one for that matter. Why? Because of the dream crushers. However, being a mechanic, the dream crushers and I knew I could make money. So I stayed with it even after I graduated high school, and I registered for college three years later. The saying is, "Nothing ever goes as planned," or something along those lines.

Long story short: I went through a bad bout of sickness in the ICU and missed too much college to make up the bookwork. So at 18, everyone began asking me, what are you going to do with your life? What are you going to be now that you are grown up? What about college?

Funny how those same people who ask you those questions are the same ones that are the dream crushers. Anyway, I went back to what I knew and loved and enrolled back into college. I was going to be a writer. I wanted to be qualified to write anything and everything. So I kept on until I graduated with my PhD in Fine Arts. Eventually, I went on to publish short stories and poetry. Still though, that wasn't really my dream or my validation. I needed to convince the dream crushers I could make a living off of being a writer.

In fact my validation didn't come until about three months into being a 20-year-old. I found my way into a position as a staff writer for my local newspaper in Blytheville, Arkansas. You wouldn't believe the joy I had receiving my first paycheck as a staff writer for the paper. Being a reporter wasn't the top floor of the skyscraper for me, but it definitely put me closer to where I wanted to be. Like I would always tell all the dream crushers, "Reporting is writing; writing is what I love to do; I'm getting paid to do what I love; it only gets better from here."

For those of you who are working at a dead-end job that has nothing to do with your dreams, you might be saying, "Oh, whoopty-doo, good for you, this means nothing to me." I'm here to tell you, yes it does. I'm living proof that hard work and determination will get you anywhere you want to be. You just have to dream hard enough. Do you honestly think a small town girl like me would ever dream of making it this far? If you answered no, you are right. But I have a flame that burns inside of me and you do too. A little poem I wrote about a year ago is just a glimpse inside of our "dream flames."

Chasing dreams is learning to forget the love you lost,
It's remembering to cross your T's and dot your I's.
Chasing dreams is not attaining riches despite the cost,
It's being who you are instead of living under lies.

Chasing dreams is having the courage to say goodbye,
It's the bodily empowerment to believe in nothing.
Chasing dreams is not being afraid to cry,
It's the unclear future that gives you your zing.

Chasing dreams is boldly facing your fears,
It's not meant to take away.
Chasing dreams is learning to love your own tears,
It's meant to bring you back to us someday.

Chasing dreams is leaving loved ones behind,
It's not a way to run and hide.
Chasing dreams is for the first of your kind,
It's a way to find who you are inside.

Chasing dreams is a reason to test your trust,
It's the soul shivering experience of a lifetime.
Chasing dreams is doing it before you return to dust,
It's not by way of committing a crime.

Chasing dreams is deciding which part of your heart matters most,
It's not self loathing that life could be different.
Chasing dreams is knowing where you stand and taking your post,
It's getting enough to make your heart sufficient.

Chasing dreams is letting the mind and soul freely roam,
Its remembering when to come back to your beginning.
Chasing dreams is getting your dream and coming home,
It's knowing that to do all of this does not involve a drop of winning.


Keep chasing your dreams, you will get there, don't ever let anyone tell you different.

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