If there’s anything that life has taught me I guess it would be that dreams do come true; just keep in mind that it can take a really, really, really long time. I’ve had a List of Dreams my whole life (2nd grade is my earliest memory of my List of Dreams. I wanted to be a writer and announced it to the class), and so far, I keep plugging away at them. It’s like my Spiritual To Do list. Now, these are dreams that are—in theory—attainable.
Keep in mind that I grew up with a split family. My mom was a single mom for a long time and there were a lot of money struggles. Then I moved to my dad’s and with my stepmom’s kids, there was a total of 5 of us. Money was tight but more than that, my stepmom had a lot of psychological issues that affected the whole family. It deeply affected my sister and I and how our high school years happened. It’s a miracle I did as well as I did at school. It also meant that from age 18, I was pretty much on my own and kicked out of the house to figure it all out. If I didn’t have money, I went hungry. If I didn’t have a place to live…I’d have to find one. If I needed help emotionally, I had to figure it out. There wasn’t a support system, though my mom did try. My dad and stepmom…well, that’s a whole book there.
This isn’t a sob story. It really isn’t. The benefit of being on your own is that you get really strong and tenacious, and maybe it’s that background that’s made me indefatigable with these Life Dreams. I don't think my List of Dreams are that big of a deal...but when you start from nothing, every little dream can be a very big deal and can feel almost impossible.
I dreamed of college. At the time, I was the only one of the 5 kids who did it. (My siblings have since gone back.) I paid for everything myself, with occasional $50 gifts from my Aunt. From 18-23, I worked as a waitress until 3 in the morning and went to class. I worked in the library. I took out student loans. And I got my BA in English.
I wanted to be a professor. I put myself through grad school while pregnant and then with a newborn.
I wanted children, and thankfully, I have them.
I wanted to write a book; I’ve written four.
They’ve all taken time and tears and moments where I’ve nearly given up, but time and again, I’ve gotten there.
Now, in a few days, Kealoha and I are heading to Paris. For our wedding, instead of gifts, our wonderful friends and family 'donated' money to a fund so that we could make this trip. It humbles me and makes me all weepy every time I think about it.
I’ve always wanted to go overseas, but this has been my first real chance. I couldn’t afford it in college and would watch other family members go on long vacations overseas. I never felt jealous. Mostly, I just felt hurt. It hurts to watch others get the things you dream of. But it just wasn’t in the cards for me. After college, I was too busy working and never had money. Then when I had enough saved to go, I didn’t have anyone to go with. Now, now…it’s me and my perfect partner, my Kealoha, off together.
I sorta can’t believe it’s finally here. But I guess like the other things I’ve wanted, it has eventually happened.
What else do I want? (Never fear. There’s more on the list. There’s always more.) I want to be published by a ‘big’ publisher. I want an advance for something I’ve written. I’d like to be a voice on a cartoon or video game. I’d like to own or rent a cottage where I can walk to the beach and hear the waves at night. And I like to go to England, and Ireland, and Italy. And I’d like to take a cooking class in one of those places.
I’m not wishing for world peace or to be rich and famous (although all those things would be nice.)
I guess I’m saying that there have been some pretty dark times in my life…times of deep struggle and times when I’ve been very, very alone without anyone to fall back on. But things change. THINGS CHANGE.
And they usually change for the better, if you can just wait long enough.