Friday, June 12, 2015

WHERE DID MY DREAMS GO?

When I was a young girl, my father moved us from a perfectly good home into a half-built home and left us before electricity was connected and plumbing was installed. My aunt and uncle lived nearby and had a small black and white TV where I remember watching Charlie Chaplin. Years later, my mother found a new boyfriend and he helped us to get a generator and a small TV. We were able see two channels, one snowy and the other clear, the latter being CBC.

I used to sit down in front of that TV so often that I could recite every commercial that came on. For some reason, I was enthralled by commercials. It came to a point where visitors—we had many back then—would comment on my silly ability. Sometime during the years between six and ten, I got it in my head that I was going to move to Hollywood, become a star, and buy a house in Beverly Hills. I guess that was my first dream or, what I like to call, illusion of grandeur. 

When I started puberty, that phase passed, and I went on to drawing and sketching evening gowns. I thought I was pretty good, and the people who saw my sketches liked my designs. I imagined myself with my own sewing machine and would spend hours daydreaming about famous movie stars wearing my designs. I guess that was my second illusion of grandeur.

At thirteen, I was fully immersed in rock ‘n’ roll. My mother got me my first ghetto blaster. She ordered it from a mail-order catalogue from a company called Sovereign. Columbia House gave away 8-tracks if you signed up for membership, and back then everyone I knew had a Columbia House membership. I eventually wore out the little blue 8x8 stereo system, which was a good thing because soon after, my stepfather went out and brought a new used one, and man, the sound system on that thing rocked the neighborhood. Well, okay, there were only three houses in that little neck of the woods, but I bet the forest animals also rocked along with Billy Joel, Blondie, The Police, Cheap Trick, Santana, and ELO. I used to sit on the roof of an old car wreck with my notebooks, studying, while rock played in the background; those speakers carried sound from 300/400 feet. My aunt—who was only a year older than I was—and I would belt out Pat Benatar songs like there was no tomorrow. That Heartbreaker song lived in our vocal cords. We could carry a tune better than anyone we knew and hence, the third illusion of grandeur: becoming a rock star.

After I graduated high school, I didn’t know what to do with my life. I thought that going to college or university was only an option if you had money to go. I moved away and got my first job as a housekeeper. I was really into The 20 Minute Workout then and the lady of the house suggested that I become a fitness instructor, and that idea played on my mind for a very long time. I dreamed that I had my own studio and became like Kathy Smith, a famous—and probably rich—fitness guru. And many years later, when the idea came upon me again, I did do a fitness instructor course, but before I could take the final exam I got pregnant and well, that was that.

Odd jobs just weren’t the thing for me, so once I learned what a Student Loan was I decided to go to college. I applied to a business college to take a Legal Secretary course and, once again, illusions of grandeur made me a fine lawyer, the first in the family to ever hold a job of such high esteem.  I finished the course, moved to Toronto, and got an entry level position as a receptionist. I applied to the University of Toronto and was all set to start law school, but I was in a very abusive relationship and became a mess. I went through a divorce and lost everything. I was broke with nothing to show for ten years of marriage but a few suitcases of clothes.

I went back to my hometown to live with my mother, and after I got my life straightened away, I went back to Toronto with a new partner and went back to work. I did the fitness instructor course, but didn’t make it to the final exam because I felt that it was too strenuous; I was carrying a baby. Once the baby was born, we moved back to our hometown where I attended school to be a Pharmacy Technician. Yes, once again, illusions of grandeur made me a wonderful Pharmacist with a fantastic bedside manner. I ran my own pharmacy, took great care of my customers and employees, and was very satisfied with my career. At the time that I was thinking about applying for pharmacy, my sixth “dream,” I got into a car accident and didn’t work for eight years.

Now, I do a little writing for magazines, am working on a novel, enter writing contests, and work on this little experimental blog. I do not have any dreams of becoming a great writer. If I get a few dollars from something I write that’s fine, but I will not be fooled into thinking that I can become something that I am not, for fear that something will happen to my fingers to prevent me from typing on the computer.

Does my story sound familiar to any of you out there? Did you once have a dream, but it just didn’t come to fruition? Sometimes, I wonder where my dreams went. Perhaps I did not work hard enough, perhaps I gave up to soon; maybe I didn’t put my heart into what I was doing, or maybe circumstances got in the way. Most times, money was the issue. Maybe the universe was trying to tell me something, maybe I just didn’t believe in myself. When I really think about it, I think maybe they weren’t really dreams at all, just thoughts to occupy my mind at the time.


Anyway, this is what I was thinking about on Tuesday, June 9, when I turned 48 years old. Where did my dreams go?