Whispered Dreams“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” -Shel Silverstein

If there is one lesson universal to the human condition, I would strongly argue that it is learning to let go.

For me, it is letting go of expectations. I have these expectations of machine-like perfection, of always being able to be successful, of things coming easily, or at least of things always being attainable. Ideals are dangerous things to cling to. There is a fine line between where ideals are that driving force that makes me want to work harder, do better and where, in a cruel twist of fate, they become a dagger anticipating my fall.

I’m as big of a dreamer as anyone else, I know I am.  So why do I see so many others succeed with apparent ease, when I feel as though I am barely keeping a hold?  What do they have that I don’t? Because my desire burns so deep, and so hot that some days I’m afraid it’s going to engulf me in flame. Why isn’t that enough? This is so hard for me. I work hard, I try, I hope, I take risks and get inventive, but it kills me that that spark has yet to catch and turn into something shining and beautiful.

Maybe because I’m expecting too much. Expecting it to come easy. Expecting it to happen overnight. I have to let those expectations go, but I also know I can’t give up. This, so far as I can tell, is the only chance I have to live–to truly live– and to create a life that is profound and fulfilling. I refuse to accept complacency and watch myself wither away in some suburban wasteland chewing my cud while yoked to the middle-class machine.

As children we are told that we can do anything, be anything, go anywhere.  We dream big.  But are these just empty words? Lip service payed to the foolhardiness of youth? Or are they the mournful glimmer of dreams long dismissed, abandoned, forsaken to fit into the mold of “responsible adulthood”?

I am learning to accept my failures, to grow from my short-comings. I am learning (slowly) to permit myself imperfection, and painfully expose that to you, dear friend, through this imbroglio of a blog filled with blurry sketches fraught with smudges and eraser dust. There is a lot I am learning to let go of, but if part of “growing up” means dismissing dreams as ephemeral wisps of a long-past childhood cliché, then maybe I need to start looking for my Neverland.