why doesn’t it ever end?

Simple.

‘The challenge with being an initiator of projects is that you are never, ever done.’ (Seth Godin)

Amidst mountains of projects and to-do lists, battling the rising fear that I am doing something wrong because work never ends, it’s comforting to know that my place is one of privilege. If we are given the powers to initiate projects, we have unwittingly signed on to a life that constantly looks ahead.

I am not done because my dreams and goals aren’t. Not because my time management sucks, or that God didn’t give me the energy and 36 hours in a day I need to complete everything.

It’s because I still believe.

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the dreaming, the dreamers & me

Last night…

I was a reporter doing a story about the prisoners on death row. Needing to pee before conducting my first interview, I unwittingly exposed one of the inmates’ weird habit of filming his fellow prisoners when they went to the toilet. When an entourage of wardens and I decided to confront him, he killed himself by piercing a long, thin poisoned metal shaft into his thigh. He would rather die than face further condemnation… but I wondered, what else could a man sentenced to die lose?

Further up a few layers of subconscious…

I was a volunteer at the ‘orphanage’ for mutant animals. There were kittens with distended, engorged bellies, rabbits that were discoloured… various animals that had no parents, which nobody wanted. The more I cared for them, the more I grew to love these abhorred creatures.

‘So, what do you think my dreams meant?’ I asked the Sister, on our way home today.

‘I read that there are two ways of interpreting dreams,’ she answered. ‘The first is to view them as an alternate reality that you really want…’

‘Right. I really want to hobnob with prisoners and mutant animals,’ I remarked.

‘Wait… the other way to understand your dreams is not to focus on what it featured, like the prisoners and weird kitties, but how the dreams made you feel,’ the Sister continued.

Interesting.

‘Well, the main thing I woke up with was this sense that I’d misunderstood these characters,’ I said. ‘I recoiled inwardly when I first met the prisoners and with the mutants, I felt a little grossed out. But when I got to know them better, when I had the chance to understand their situation better… there was such repentance in my thoughts. I felt sorry… for myself that I had such biases, and for them, that meeting people who disdained them was part and parcel of life.’

‘What do you think brought about those thoughts?’ the Sister asked.

I was quiet for a while.

‘Maybe you aren’t satisfied with your job?’ she probed.

‘Nah… I am more than satisfied. I get to work with people, help them… it’s something more. I think…’ I paused for a bit, before continuing. ‘I think it’s the sense that I’ve misunderstood someone… like I have a perceived notion of someone or something in my life, and I’m waiting to be proven wrong. It’s as if I want to be proven wrong…’

‘Maybe…’ the Sister said.

‘Maybe…’ the silent Husband finally looked up with interest. ‘Maybe you just like weird shit.’

*

Dreams have never scared me. The worst scenario I’ve encountered was to wake up with a pounding chest, sweaty palms and a very confused sense of reality. My dreams feel real and yet, at the same time, I have the uncanny ability to stop them for a bit, and return to them later… or to go back to a particular scene where the ending wasn’t satisfactory to choose a different path to take.

Yes, they are always, always interesting.

They don’t always mean something.

And sometimes, they really do hint a little at the thoughts I’ve kept submerged.

So I couldn’t help but ponder about last night’s alternate reality. What was I trying to tell myself?

*

I do like some weird shit.

I like seeing beauty in something ugly.
I like seeing the quirkiness in something elegant.
I like seeing blue glitter on my nails when I’m dressed in a suit.

And yet, at the same time, I like my happy endings.

But not all dreams have happy endings.

Sometimes, they end with questions that aren’t readily solved by a simple google search or a popularity vote.

Sometimes, the dream’s only purpose is to make one ask the right questions.

what colour, the new year?

The new year heralded the news of…

1. a wedding (congratulations Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer!)

2. two engagements (yes, two! Within the span of two weeks!)

3. three people terribly sick with gastric flu (me, the Hubby & Joe)

… and terrible dreams of me wandering the deathly cold streets of chaotic Tokyo at midnight, pulling together a production that was way past its deadline and realising that a video due for screening this weekend was not completed yet.

Thankfully, it was was all just a nightmare (the dreams, not the announcements), which I gratefully got up from, albeit in cold sweat from both the stress and the breaking fever. It has not been the most promising of starts for 2011 and I can’t help but feel a sense of detachment, as I read/watch/hear everyone’s vivid, technicoloured celebratory messages.

Yes, it’s the new year. Now what?

Maybe it’s the general blahs I’m entrenched in, seeing how I’d just come out of a mad event-filled, sleep-deprived December, straight onto a plane to Japan, the freezing cold, further sleep deprivation and midnight flights, and now back home, rushing again to get many things done before the start of a new work week, all while feeling like I’m going to hurl my next meal out into the great white throne.

But it’s more than that. There’s a slight twinge of disappointment… as if, somewhere inside me, I’m asking, ‘Where was the wonderful blissful sigh of fulfillment at the end of the road?’ because the road doesn’t seem to have ended. If anything, it seems to curl ahead in an even more complex, diaphanous pattern.

I haven’t had the pause I needed. The breath between the strides.

The quiet.

I miss that.

*

‘Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.’

– Wassily Kandinsky

When life looses its colour, I know I’m in need of some desperate down time. I’ve been a grouch for too long and its starting to bore me. So today, I decided to start small.

I painted my nails a wonderful glittering blue, as if a jewel box shattered itself upon my fingertips and now, they sparkle, somewhat incongruously with my surroundings and, well… me. I haven’t quite lived up to that spot of colour yet, but slowly, bit by bit, I’m sure I’ll catch up.

Today, I’m a muddy brown with spots of blue glitter swirled in. Tomorrow… I’ll add some purples, orange and a shot of fuschia. Who knows then, how my world will be affected? I’m not worried. I’m not a new year’s depressive. I’m just sleep deprived.

*

‘Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody draw whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall – it’s wet.’

– Banksy

Welcome to my world – the place I live in.

A place where everything is possible and all dreams are tried out, at least once.

Now that I’ve worked out the tired angst within me, I am ready to dream about 2011…

… a year where all the roads are walked.

… a year where the adventurous will smile with great satisfaction.

… a year filled with more colour than I’ve ever seen in my entire life, more laughter than my belly can hold.

… a year when I will jump into puddles, skip into rainbows and dance with the clouds.

… a year I will experience what it means to be a little girl again – the one who only knew what it felt like to ride high on her father’s shoulders – taller than any human being, stronger than any other man, bolder than any other creature.

… the year I will live with ultimate abandon. Because of whose shoulders I ride on.

Hello Dream Maker.

I’m back for your dreams.

I’m ready for the impossible.

*

Now what is the colour of the conquerable impossible?

the tears of dreams

Living my minutes stretched out thin over a slice of life, I finally crossed over the crusty edges and careened on a downward spiral into hormonal madness.

It began with the evaluation of a singer. All I wanted to do was enjoy the music, to let it wash over my parched soul and fill in the cracks but each time I did that, my eyes watered. Yes… I was dry. And standing before a fountain, I neglected my thirst and very purposefully reigned in my thoughts, checking the boxes on the form, filling in the blanks with my comments…

I began questioning my purpose as an evaluator. All I really wanted to say was that the singer was doing a great job as a courageous vocalist – one who’s grown stronger and better, rising boldly from each failure. But no, I needed to quantify that growth with numbers. I know the importance of the evaluation but dammit, maybe it’s time I back out of all this. Maybe it’s time I turn away from what I like doing, to return to what I love.

*

Next up – auditions for a short drama.

So many of them tried their best… only to hear us say they weren’t good enough. I looked at them and again, was bowled over by their courage to try. The worst bit came when the Amazonian stepped in. God, I’ve missed my darling friend. She began her monologue, only to stop halfway…

‘This is too hard to read,’ she choked. She tried several times but was overcome by tears. The words I’d written in the script cut too closely to her heart and I knew, something was up. I wanted to reach out and ask if she was okay, what was going on, how was work, the family, the children… but all I said was, ‘It’s okay dear.’

I walked her out of the audition room to say goodbye, my eyes tearing again. I’d just watched her live through some pain she had yet to articulate to me.

‘I miss you…’ I said.

‘Me too. See you around.’ And then she was gone.

*

The part I dreaded the most though, was calling up three of the dancers we needed to turn away from the upcoming performance.

The first chap, I met face-to-face. We talked and he understood why he hadn’t made the cut. He appreciated the fact that I’d personally contacted him and I felt relief. It gave me the boost I needed to make the second call.

I picked up the phone, took a deep breath and dialed the numbers.

‘… so I hope you understand why we need to take you out of this performance, this time round…’ I finished my explanation, half expecting the same reaction as the first guy.

‘But I really want to do this…’ she replied, finally breaking down and sobbing on the phone.

My heart ached.

I spent another ten minutes talking to her, encouraging her and making promises about the future that (dear god) I hope will come to pass. When she finally stopped sobbing, we put the phone down… and that was when I finally broke. This was all getting too much for me.

‘Hey… are you okay?’ JapGirl asked.

‘Yeah…’ I sniffled. But I wasn’t. How can you be, when you’ve just spent an entire day judging if others were good enough? How does one determine that anyway? I’m not an expert. All I can go by is my heart and what it tells me… and I know when something fits right and when it doesn’t. But how do you make someone else understand that? How do you quantify that for them when all they hear is the sound of breaking dreams?

How do I convince myself that I’m right when all I hear is how wrong it feels?

*

What is the weight of a tear?

How much does it bear, as it rolls down your face?

What sound does it make when it hits your chest?

And where does it go when it’s finally released?

As a child, crying was the answer. It solved all problems. The cathartic bawling gave way to sunshine and smiles. But as I grew older, crying became a choice, one that sometimes, I didn’t want to take. Walking away and ignoring the ache was easier. Or so I thought.

*

I sat in the empty auditorium tonight and looked out at the sea of velvet chairs. I tried to hear the music, imagine the crowds, feel the energy… but was a little too late. The curtains had closed on yet another day of casting and preparation work for the event.

It will all be good. I don’t fear the outcome.

But for once… it’s not the performance I’m thinking about. It’s the people, their dreams and the journeys they are all taking.

I hope they aren’t alone.
I hope they turn to the Dream Maker.
I pray… that they felt my love, though frail.

Because if it weren’t for people like them, there would be no event, no curtain call, no applause.

There would be no chance of other people’s dreams coming true.

the struggle

He was so excited. The box held such potential.

Just before dinner, he unpacked the model kit and began building the boat, piece by piece. It was a little too complex for someone his age but he didn’t care what the label said. It was all tremendously intriguing. Half an hour later, the enthusiasm waned and he was struggling. Crying out in frustration, he tore pieces of tape and threw them into the bin.

‘They don’t work!’ He sobbed. His eyes were tearing but it never occurred to him to ask for help.

I sat there watching him in silence.

‘Have you read the instruction manual?’ I prodded.

The little boy picked up the booklet, stared at it for a while, then threw it aside. I didn’t know then that the instructions were all in French. Five minutes later, the boy was banging the table and throwing the pieces that didn’t fit on to the floor. Quietly, I watched him although my heart ached. When was he going to ask for help?

‘Mommy… can you help me?’ He finally looked up, tears streaming down his face. I didn’t want to hurt his already broken pride, so I showed him how the tape worked and where he could attach it to fix the sails. The boy’s little fingers began its work again. And then… the boat materialized.

‘Look! It works!’ He shouted, ‘Look! Watch me!’

I watched. And saw my life and its perpetual struggles.

How many times have I found myself trying to make sense of life with the logic that I acquired over the years? How many times did my pride break when the best of plans, efforts and commitment yielded no results? How many times did I push myself to tipping over before I turned to the Dream Maker and said, ‘Help me, please?’

Too many, too often.

Oddly, watching the boy struggle made me love him so much more. All I wanted to do was wrap him up in my arms and absorb the angst. Did the Dream Maker feel the same way, watching me struggle to make sense of a world that is too complex to understand?

*

Hope.

I fear that word.

Images of failures, frustration and disappointment cloud my mind whenever I find myself in the place where – as a dreamer – I long for something to happen but am scared that it wouldn’t pull through. I don’t want to be disappointed. But that was because I was trying to do it all on my own.

I’d hold the instruction manual to my goals in my hand, its rules and guidelines memorized. I’d make sacrifices, in hope… but I was depending on the wrong person to make it all happen.

You see, my dreams were birthed in the supernatural realm – the spirit. And what’s birthed in that realm is made flesh there too. Natural progression can only bring you to the point where you almost break, you can’t go on. Nothing works anymore.

‘It doesn’t make sense!’ I’d throw my plans to the ground. The worst bit was the shame that came with my failure.

Just like the little boy.

That’s why I’m making a change from this minute on.

I’m giving up.

I’m letting go of my plans and I’m going to recognize the weakness in me.

‘Can you help me, please?’ I turn to the Dream Maker. And I know… this is my beautiful moment. It’s the tipping point, if you’d please. This is the place where it all changes for the better.

‘Here,’ the Dream Maker’s finger points my next step ahead. He doesn’t intrude because He wants the plans to be fulfilled in my hands. He wants to see me glow with pride at what I did.

Except… I didn’t do it. He did.

*

The greatest struggle in living the impossible life is NOT the impossibility of every challenge, every mountain, every problem.

The hardest thing is giving up on yourself, and giving it all to Him.

Hope.

It sings to me.

 

building my cardboard dreams

I was a race car driver, soaring down the tracks, the rushing wind swirling my hair into a little chaotic frenzy. The engines purred powerfully beneath me as we headed off the road down little unknown valleys, between the mountains, stopping somewhere beneath the vast open skies.

I was a cat, curled in her tiny home, seeking refuge and comfort from the cacophony of a busy world. My resting place was the eye of the storm and in it, I was invisible as I watched people quarrel, bodies passing by in a frenzy to meet their personal deadlines. All that mattered to me in that tiny house was the now.

I was a robot, looking through tiny pinhole eyes, my entire body a wall of protection against anyone who tried to get inside. But they would never find me as I was a robot, an unfeeling machine, immune to hurt, rejection and sadly, laughter.

I was a princess who just received a parcel from a prince who admired me, the gift filled with treasures from his land, a trumpet call to the man he was, and what he could provide. Riches? Glory? Magic? The parcel held secrets untold, passed down through the generations. What delight lay inside the parcel? With intense patience, I slowly peeled back it’s covers.

All I needed was a cardboard box. And the world of imagination unfolded whichever way I wanted it to.

The humble material of my early dreaming which today, was made tangible, thrilled me to bits. I’ve always wanted to do something in tribute to Michel Gondry’s Science Of Sleep and Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. Both the movie and book impacted me deeply with its childlike perspective… something I lost when I grew up.

“Would it be possible for me to see something from up there?” asked Milo politely.

“You could,” said Alec, “but only if you try very hard to look at things as an adult does.”

Milo tried as hard as he could, and, as he did, his feet floated slowly off the ground until he was standing in the air next to Alex Bings. He looked around very quickly and, an instant later, crashed back down to the earth again.

“Interesting, wasn’t it?” asked Alex.

“Yes, it was,” agreed Milo, rubbing his head and dusting himself off, “but I think I’ll continue to see things as a child. It’s not so far to fall.”

– Norton Juster

We laboured over every element of our cardboard world – adults seeking play as children would, with the added finesse of skill that maturity brings. Every moment was gloriously relished because isn’t that what growing up is all about? We get to let our imaginations run wild with aplomb.

*

I cried a little today. Silly things but they got to me. I think I was worn thin with trying to look happy over the past few weeks and the more I tried to look like it didn’t matter, the truth ate me up from inside. I felt wretched.

The week was finally over but for me, the challenges have just begun. It’s going to be one long week. I am however, looking forward to playing with my cardboard world and fantastical characters. In them, even when I am weary with pulling together my damning emotions into a solid state of ‘okay-ness‘, I have fun… and in that fun, hope is strengthened. I resurface from the imaginary with new belief that it can all be good.

‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could build an entire building with cardboard?’ someone said today.

‘Yeah, but would happen when it rains?’ came someone else’s reply.

‘We’d just build another one,’ I replied quietly.

Which is pretty much what I’m doing with my life now. Every single day, I build a new dream. The days are filled with both accomplishments and disappointments but I carry none of them with me to bed. Like what Michel Gondry once said, ‘I’ve dreamed a lot, but I’m not a very good sleeper.

Instead, I search out for that place in my cardboard box where I once hid in a corner, alone for a while, the silence punctuated only by the sound of my rhythmic breathing…

‘Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.’

– Norton Juster

In that silence of my cardboard box, I am satisfied. For a moment.

And sometimes… that’s all I need at the end of a long, long day.

pocket full of dreams

The boy with his pocket full of dreams walked past a group of teenagers.

He saw a man watch them from behind a wall. He stood beside the gentleman and said, “She loves you. Beneath the nonchalance, she just wants your acceptance of who she’s become.”

As though he’d heard his own thoughts, the gentleman walked over to one of the teenage girls. Awkwardly, he told her that he’d watched one of her plays and thought it was brilliant, well-written and inspiring. The girl looked at her father, seemingly unaffected, but the smile was warm – the first smile she’d given him in months, since the day she’d told him she was not going to continue her studies to write stories instead.

The boy with dreams walked on, now into a tired-looking cafe where the tabletops were worn, the flowers were wilted and the seats unoccupied – just like the owner who stood behind the counter alone.

He sat in front of the man.

“Your dreams lie beyond the doors…” he whispered.

Looking up from his introspection, the owner suddenly put down his dishcloth to take a break. He moved slowly out toward the door, right into the path of an old friend from high school he hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. Together, they walked back into the cafe and as he made coffee for her, they sat and talked – the beginning of a conversation that would last a lifetime.

And the boy walked on.

He saw a bench and sat down, between a distraught man and an angry woman.

“Isn’t love a funny thing?” he pondered aloud. “We hurt the ones we love the most, when all it takes to cross the great divide is an outstretched hand.”

They sat there, the three of them in their own worlds for a long time, before the man hesitatingly stretched out his hand to hold the woman’s. Sliding out beneath the connection made, the boy continued his journey.

Reaching the street corner, the boy suddenly stood transfixed. Unseen, he watched the girl across road. The harlequin’s maiden. She was one of his favourite characters in his imaginations, one of those in this world he had no control over.

She was what made him want to make others’ dreams come true – the dreamer’s muse.

Dashing across the road, he walked alongside her as she struggled to carry her bag of groceries home.

“Hello Collette, loved anyone today?” But she didn’t hear him, her eyes glazed over with pain.

“Need a hug, a kiss or a dream?” the boy asked. Silence.

“Want someone to help you with the load you’re carrying?” the boy continued his monologue. This time, the girl began to tear.

“Oh no! Don’t cry! I’ll make it happen! Someone will come help you okay?” the boy continued, terrified of making his fair maiden sad.

“Oh god…” she whispered to herself, nearly choking on her cries. “Oh dear god, the pain is too great…”

The boy walked helpless beside her. He put an arm around her but she didn’t feel it. He wiped her tears but there were too many. What could he do? What could he say? And fearing her pain would become his too, he ran away with renewed fervence to make others’ dreams come true.

Daily, he’d peer into her kitchen and see her sitting alone at her table, a photograph clutched tight in her hands, as her pain tangibly pierced his heart through the window. This went on for months. Summer turned into autumn and autumn into winter.

And the boy walked on.

One especially cold winter’s night, he stood outside her window and watched as the girl huddled alone. The doorbell rang. A little shocked, the girl walked out of the kitchen. Running to see who it was, the boy reached her front door in time to catch her visitor. It was the owner of the cafe.

“Collette, the Mrs and I thought of you tonight and we were wondering if you’d like this turkey, pie and wine. You know, cos we don’t want you missing your dinner again. You’ve lost enough weight as it is.” the owner of the cafe said.

“Oh! Th-thanks.” Collette replied, not used to the sudden kindness.

“And we were wondering…” the owner continued, “if you’d like to join us for Christmas. It’s just dinner with us, you know… and if you’d like some company…”

“I’d… I’d like to. Thanks.” Collette replied, smiling.

The boy with his pocket full of dreams grinned.

The next night he peered into the window and saw that Collette wasn’t alone. She was with the story girl. As they talked, the boy saw Collette’s eyes brighten. The talking was releasing the sorrow she’d held on for too long. The more Collette shared her story, the more certain the story girl was about immortalising the pain of loss in her next play.

The boy grew busy over the holiday season, realizing dreams for others while his own was neglected. Only when the first flower broke through the frost did he finally get the chance to peer into Collette’s window again. But wait, Collette looked different, somehow.

The pain that had doggedly followed her footsteps was gone. Collette had even begun to hum to herself! Smiling, the boy watched her as she made breakfast and settled down at her table.

“You’re happy…” the boy whispered to no one.

“I’m happy.” Collette said to herself.

“Are you dreaming again?” he asked outside the window.

“I’m dreaming again,” replied Collette, as if she could hear him. “Touch one life, and you touch many others, even those whom you never thought you could reach.”

Then Collette looked up at the window and smiled at the boy of her dreams.

*

This was a story I wrote more than 2 years ago, in February 2008. I thought of sharing it here today as I rarely write stories on this blog, although it’s still what I love to do. I used to write at least three a week and harboured dreams of releasing a book eventually. I’m not nearly as good as everyone around me who writes but I like doing it, and I guess, that’s what matters…

Growing busier with production and script writing of a different genre, I neglected the stories and 2009 – 2010 saw me rarely writing any. I still want to write them. I feel as though one reason why life has so much drama… is because I am supposed to be a story-teller. If not to help someone, it’s to make them feel less alone.

The stories helped me too. They encouraged me to deal with life from a surreal point of view… and in doing that, I found myself equipped to face a life that is sometimes, very strange.

‘We owe it to each other to tell stories.’

– Neil Gaiman

Maybe the next few months will allow me some time to do what I’m passionate about. And I can share my pocket full of dreams with you.

If I’m bold enough to do so, that is.

*chuckle*

my stars…

I watched her dance, oblivious to the people who giggled at her extravagant enjoyment. Twirling, laughing and clapping her hands, this was the band and their songs that spoke to her alone. And within that pure expression, she was at a height that none of us reached.

*

I watched them laugh, drunk on cheap beer, heckling the band, the audience and anyone else who crossed their path. Finally, one of the gang launched an object at the lead singer and hit him squarely on the head. It stopped the show as the singer walked off stage. Another band member had to chide the audience and welcome the singer back on – which he did, gamely – and finished the set.

Their amusement was not found in the music. It was in the high.

*

I watched them grouped at the perimeters of the action – the sideliners. They didn’t want to take part in the atmosphere because they either couldn’t understand it or weren’t impacted by the band that was giving their all, their heart out on stage. They were just there – disengaged.

*

I stood in the centre of it all.

Early this morning, the Husband told me that we had free tickets to the Stereophonics final show before they returned to London.

‘Do you want to go?’ He asked. It was a loaded question because I don’t ever give up gigs, whether paid for or not. It’s just a matter of work and time. I find that there’s always something to appreciate at a performance. I understand the hard work that goes behind the scenes – from the crew to the performers – and I won’t disrespect any of it. I may not always get it, but I will honour their passion. So I checked with the boss, who wonderfully excused me from the night’s responsibilities.

I’m glad with my choice because tonight, I was made a fan.

I listened to the odd Stereophonics track here and there back in the late 90s but was never into their music. I just happened to identify more with other bands like the Ride, Cocteau Twins, Suede, Pulp, Blur, Stone Roses, the Smiths, Spiritualized… somehow, the Stereophonics was not on my listening to-do list.

Today, I was a captive audience. Watching them perform was exhilarating and I think I fell in love. Not with the singer but with the songs and with his voice – one that sounded like it’d been drenched in too much cigarettes and alcohol. It’s broken edges wrapped me in a blanket of hope, sprinkled with the stars of yesterdays and tomorrow’s clear skies.

I stood there in my beautiful moment and looked up at the moon, the twinkling blanket above the trees… I closed my eyes and swayed, allowing myself to be pulled in to the place where I no longer cared about anything at all.

I was caught up in their untold story.

It’s a thrill to see your imagination
Just watching you is an education
What’s in your mind is my fascination
It blows my mind, it sets my heart to racing

You’re my Sunday, Make my Monday come alive
Just like Tuesday you’re a new day, wakes me up
Wednesday’s raining, Thursday’s yearning, Friday nights…
Then it all ends at the weekend…

You’re my star

– The Stereophonics

*

What made the lead singer continue pursuing his dream? It’s been so many years on and he’s still doing it, chasing his star.

If I met setback after setback, would I still chase my stars? If you met me on the streets and asked me what today was all about, and what tomorrow held, how would I answer you?

Yesterday, I might have hesitated. Tonight, I’d have come alive.

Under the stars tonight, I finally believe that dreams do come true.

doing it for the girl

‘I’m the one that has to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to.’

– Jimi Hendrix

I received an interesting question today via email. A friend asked me what I dreamed of as a child.

I wanted to be many things but the truth is, I’ve always wanted to fly. The idea of being completely free of expectations, demands and boundaries, to spread my wings and take off to wherever, whenever I wanted to was an exhilarating thought. I first fought for that freedom when I was 16.

‘You will go to university!’ the Father shouted at me, banging hard on the table.

‘No dad, I want to do this. I want to do things that are creative. I don’t need to be a doctor, a lawyer… whatever it is you want me to be. I’d rather be doing something I love for the rest of my life.’ I mustered up enough courage to stand before him – the man I saw as my hero.

‘You mean you’d rather be poor? You think when the day comes you have no money, that if you’re surrounded by things you love, it’ll be enough? Will it feed you? Clothe you? Give you a future?’

I remember his eyes. They were filled with such anger and… tears.

‘Yes. I’d rather be doing what I love than to go earn myself a piece of paper that means nothing.’ I shouted back, before turning around and leaving the house.

And like all dramatic moments, the skies opened up to a thunderstorm so I had no choice but to walk in the rain. I sobbed all the way to the nearest shopping centre and called up my close friend but guess what? Friends can’t help you solve your problems.

‘I seriously thought you weren’t coming home that night,’ the Mother said to me, years later. But I eventually did. I returned with a battle plan.

‘Look dad, I’ll get myself a qualification. While the rest of my friends are off playing, earning cash or lazing around, I’ll study what you think is beneficial to my future. But after that, you’ve got to let me do what I want to do. This is my future.’

He agreed.

I got myself a diploma in Computer Programming and slogged my nights away, learning languages that no man should learn. I learnt how to create software. Thereafter, I pursued another diploma in Communications and majored in television production and journalism. And still after that, I got myself another diploma in Education.

I never got my degree.

Sometimes I wonder… did I get to fly?

‘I think that’s why I love reading and writing,’ I replied my friend. ‘Reading takes me to places I’d never get to explore; into the vast world I’ve not yet walked and into the psyche of another man’s mind he wouldn’t otherwise reveal… And that’s why I write – it gives me wings.’

I’ve not stopped fighting for my dreams since that day.

I do it for the girl in me.

*

‘In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.’

– Albert Camus

Today, I wanted to be alone. But the boss called me out to have coffee with the team to chat.

Today, I wanted to climb my mountain. But the year’s projects came in and while it is the usual list of major things to do… I found out that two of the events will be taking place in the precise month I’d been planning my getaway.

Today, I wanted to listen to music and read my book on the train. But two friends spotted me on the train and came over to chat.

And yet, today, I managed to smile.

This is because of a secret I have.

Early in the morning, I made a decision to pursue a dream that I’ve longed for, the past 6 years. While the rest of the world lay in slumber, I made a call – a call that will cost me dearly. But it will be worth it. It’s my precious, fragile dream and I’m going to do it.

I’m doing it for the woman in me.

*

‘I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God – it changes me.’

– C.S. Lewis

After the call, I felt so completely and utterly alone. I walked the corridors, hungry for a quiet corner to meet the Dream Maker. Eventually, I found one by a stairwell. I placed by head on His shoulder and stayed there for a very long time.

We didn’t talk much. We didn’t need to. He already knew the turmoil that lay beneath my skin. Him just being there enveloped the fragility of my hopes.

‘I want to run away,’ I whispered.

‘I’ll go with you,’ He answered.

‘Won’t you be upset? You’ve trusted me with so much… It won’t disappoint you that I’m not becoming the person you wanted me to be?’ I asked.

‘I loved you before you made those choices. Why should that change the way I feel?’ He hugged me tighter.

*

The cage the blackbird lives in is still there but the door is open. The blackbird walks tentatively to the opening and peers out. She spreads her wings and flies away but returns soon after. No, this cage is different. It’s one of complete and total acceptance. She lands in her favourite corner and begins to sing the song that was written before the ages, before she began to live.

She was doing it for the dream in her.