I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write this last lecture. Whenever I would try to start this blog post, I would only get a paragraph or two in before I would feel restless and uncomfortable. Dreams have always been a touchy and strange topic for me. It seems like in order for me to have dreams, I have to believe that I can realistically achieve them. Seeing as I have a nasty pessimistic streak, I will always put myself down and turn away from opportunities in favor of more "realistic" goals in my life. What I have come to learn about life and about myself throughout my adolescence is that it's not necessarily completing the dream that gives one the most satisfaction; it is the thing one learns along the way and the unconventional way of achieving said dream that means the most in the end.
At first I could not remember my childhood dreams for the life of me. I have a terrible memory to begin with, so I had to turn to my parents and close friends to dig up what I used to daydream about. As I talked with them, I got back snippets of memory and incomplete dreams. I wanted to be a fairy, a mermaid, a nurse, an actress, an artist. These dreams reminded me of what it was like to just freely imagine without the heavy weights of reality and pessimism pulling me down. Now that I think about it, I was able to achieve these dreams, albeit a little unconventionally.
As for being a fairy, I was cast in The Stolen Child and even won an acting award for my role as the Head Fairy. So not only was I a fairy, I was a Fairy Queen; it was like I totally one-upped my childhood fantasies. It would have been cool if I was not as evil/could fly, but pickers can't be choosers. The mermaid dream has yet to happen.
Then comes the weirdly somewhat realistic dream - being a nurse. I don't know why, but I distinctly remember being in second grade and my teacher asking us to say what we wanted to be when we grew up. We went down the rows of kids saying highly improbable things -- rockstar, President, astrounaut -- and my voice just squeaked out "Nurse". I still find it to be the strangest thing, to be honest. So this dream of mine carried me throughout elementary school until middle school hit,
where I realized that I was very, very bad at science. Down the drain of disappointment went that dream. So then I was left floundering for a while. I had no real direction; what scares me more than dreaming unrealistically is losing control. But then I had a revelation on the stage here at Saints and in my heart of hearts I knew that the stage was my home (see college essay for why). I went from a completely steady and well-paying dream job to one that is filled with emotional turmoil and financial hardships at every turn. I will admit, I have very supportive parents that went through the acting process with me. They looked at performing arts colleges with me, learned about audition processes, signed me up for voice lessons and have supported my love of music and theatre. I honestly don't think I would have made it this far in my growth as a performer without them being my backbone. But I had to soon realize that I don't want to hate theatre. If I am forced to the point of desparation for a part just so I can have food to put on the table, then I would not enjoy my art. And the last thing I want is for something I love to become a chore. I looked back at the line of dreams I have had and I now know that there was a central theme to my "dream jobs" - I wanted to help people. Whether it be through medicine or through acting, I have wanted to connect with and inspire others. It's scary to constantly be changing up my dreams and trying new labels to see which one fits best on me. But through this whole process I have come to find that I have my life stretched out ahead of me. Who says I can't still be an actress? Or a nurse? Hell, I'll give being a mermaid a try. What I need to remember is that I am still learning who I am. I am reinventing myself and growing and experiencing many things throughout my short life. I can have dreams and goals I can strive for while keeping my feet on the ground. I could not have reached this conclusion without the help of my family and peers, so I want to say thank you for everything. I will miss this class and the creativity confidence that has blossomed within me because of this class will not be taken for granted.