A dream? Wait, what is that? I think I heard about that once in Mrs. Jones kindergarten classroom. I vaguely remember someone telling me about my ability to be “whatever I want to be” and “do whatever I want to do” when I grew up. Only neither one of us took into account that I was just a small girl, really unable to do and be a whole lot of things – wishful thinking on Mrs. Jones’ part.
I don’t think she intentionally lied to me. I don’t think she intentionally misled 25 imaginative five year olds, but she did. What did I want to be? A dinosaur. Oh man, Land Before Time was my all time favorite and if I could really be ANYTHING I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a dinosaur. I told everyone, and everyone smiled. “Aw, that’s so cute”, they would say, always failing to mention that little girls don’t grow up to be dinosaurs. I figured that one out the hard way. But that’s the truth of it. Little girls simply don’t ever grow up to be dinosaurs. Ever.
Somehow, I quickly moved on. You would think that I would have dismissed their promises of being anything I wanted to be and doing anything I could set my mind on. But I didn’t. I walked blindly straight back into dreaming of the impossible. After all, they promised right?
They would ask, and I would tell, of the dreams I had for my growing up.
“Wait, you want to be a movie star?” they would ask, confused. “No no no…” 6 year old me would respond as I pointed to the sky, “I want to be a twinkle-twinkle little star.” Cue laughter and dismissive pats on the head. “Silly kids and their imaginations.”
What they failed to realize is THEY are the ones who told me over and over I could be anything I wanted to be. After the country western singer, veterinarian, and bull rider phases past, (wow, can you tell I was raised in the sticks) I finally settled on astronaut.
Since before I can remember I have been fascinated with the stars and space. I have spent many nights staring at the moon, wondering if anyone was staring back at me.
“Lets go to the moon.”
Great plan, Alison, too bad you can’t ride a roller coaster without vomiting all over everything. I doubt the space program is looking for someone to throw up on their nine-bajillion dollar equipment. And, I highly doubt leaving the earths atmosphere would go smoothly for you. Devastated. Once again my physical limitations prevented me from being whatever I dreamed possible. It’s probably a good thing that my space adventures didn’t work out – they recently cancelled the space program and I would be out of a job.
So what distracts me? You. You do. You tell me I can be anything I want to be and then you tell me all the reasons why it won’t work. You praise and push and encourage and cheer – you do all these things knowing that in the end, it will never work. Someone shoot me straight. Tell me I can’t be a dinosaur, but that I can be beautiful and strong and mysterious. Please, remind me that little girls don’t turn into stars. But tell me that I can be unique and can stand out and amaze people with my light. Tell me that it is possible to twinkle and shine and push back the darkness. Please tell me that. Tell me that I can’t carry a tune in a bucket and that I probably won’t be the next Shania Twain, but that I can and I should sing as loudly and as often as possible.
And just straight up tell me that I shouldn’t ride bulls. Ever.
Please tell me that it is probably not likely that I will ever go to the moon or see the stars up close or turn around and take a picture of an earthrise over the horizon on the moon. Tell me that I get motion sickness too easily and it wouldn’t be wise or dignifying to attempt a zero gravity spin around a circular NASA room.
But show up and tell me that I can go on wild adventures. Tell me that my feet can leave the floor through stories and dreams and that I can travel to all sorts of places. Don’t lie to me telling me that I can do anything I want to do and be anything I want to be, but show up and tell me that I can and will do a lot of really great things. Don’t distract me with your empty promises and don’t tell me I can’t do it.
Tell me what I CAN do. Tell me what I will do. Tell me all the places this little girl will go. Tell me the stars she will sleep under and the adventures she will go on. Tell her she can be lots of things, lots of really great things. All realistic. All grand. All amazing.