Thursday, April 10, 2008

Untitled Novel

"Tearful Dinner"
"Dreaming Isn't Hokey"
"I Love You So Much It Hurts"
"From Merely Sustaining and Maintaining to Soaring"
"Where Do I Go From Here When God Plants Ideas In My Head"

All worthy titles to describe what I experienced today. All of them swirling around my head at the same time, bumping into each other and becoming intertwined.

Yeah. No kidding. That's a lot to process.
And believe it or not, I'm not the one in the family with ADHD.

What happened today to precipitate this post?

The knowledge and relief and excitement that after several years of feeling as if I've been merely hanging on, making every desperate attempt to maintain daily life, (while keeping up the appearance of wellness, with the occasional complete meltdown witnessed only by a few) it is now time for me to explore some personal dreams that I have.

My least favorite speech at Mary Kay's Career Conference was by the number 1 Sales Director in Illinois, Jeanie Martin. She spoke about the importance of allowing ourselves to dream, acknowledging our dreams, visualizing our dreams, and going after our dreams. She even held a "Dream Book" in her arms while speaking. Come on! Throughout her speech I kept a strong, emotionless face. No notes were taken. I gave her no non-verbal head nods of agreement. I even left before she was done to go to the bathroom. What a waste of my time.

Dribble. Fluff. Sap.

My personal reaction to Jeanie has gnawed away at me every day since hearing her speak last Saturday.

I have been consumed with telling others how disinterested I was with what she had to say.

I recall another time in my life where I was consumed with telling others how disinterested I was with something. Or someone.

About 18 years ago, I told my friends, my family, anyone who would ask, and even people who didn't ask, how very disinterested I was in dating a man named George Atkins. I told them this hourly and daily. I told them this when we weren't even on the subject. I told them this out of the blue. My mom put it best, "For not liking someone, you sure do talk about him alot."

Good thing I ended up not believing my own lie. Right?

Today, I realized that the reason I was so very turned off by Jeanie's speech was because I haven't had any dreams for quite some time.

Well, that's not exactly true. Actually I have had dreams, but they've been a buried underneath the mountains of fear and insecurity. Sure, I've had to make some sacrifices and put some personal desires on hold over the last few years and even more so over the past year for the sake of my family, but even that "sacrifice" has a tiny bit of excuse included in the clever "Supermom" wrapping.

Today, I realized that I do indeed have dreams. Today, I allowed myself to voice them at the dinner table. Dreams that I tearfully told my family I didn't think I could possibly accomplish. Dreams that seem completely unattainable. Dreams that sound ridiculous when actually verbalized out loud. Dreams that I "joke" about, when inside, I really do want them to be. Dreams that recently someone reading my blog for the first time hinted that I should pray about developing.

Let me set the table here: I cooked two new recipes tonight. While I cooked Harper read to Zane. It was the most precious, gentle, serene evening. We sat down to eat. Zane reminded us to pray. Harper asked to open the prayer. They ate EVERYTHING. That's a dream come true. But, that's not the one I'm talking about. Who writes an entire post about the fact that their kids ate dinner and now all is right with her spirit? Anyway . . . Harper told me that the two recipes were keepers. Zane actually ate beans. Nope, that wasn't the dream either.

Wait for it.

It was if God was setting the perfect scene on my behalf to serve as the catalyst to get me to crack (in a good way). And I didn't see it coming. Caught up in the beauty and comfort and trust I felt for my family sitting around that table I suddenly found myself blurting out, "Do you think having dreams is silly?" George said "No". Emphatically.

So, out it came. Quickly, with no thought, no preparation, no control. "I think I have a new dream. If I could do anything, I think I would be a Writer and Mary Kay Consultant."

There, I'd said it.

Then, I started crying. Not the heavy, lead filled tears of these past two year, but more like pure water. Light. Refreshing. Why? Because George said, "Jo, you could totally do that. You've done so many things over the years, most of which have been to help sustain this family, but it's been a while [since my acting days] since you've really done anything [in terms of a profession] to further yourself."

It's not that I don't like teaching children's music, and yet my heart yearns to take guitar lessons in order to play with the worship band, perhaps to even learn how to jot down the songs that come to my head. The one's that end up disappearing because I don't know how to make them reality.

It's not that I don't like coaching, and yet I've lost the "fire" I once had for preparing someone for a role, feeling almost as if I give away a little piece of my creativity every time I do so.

One might think I would want to return to performing, and yet, I haven't the desire to be away from my family for the amount of time performing takes. Writing, however, takes the creative rush I feel inside and releases it, all the while fueling me with the same fulfillment I used to feel from being on stage, only now, I'm home, with those who are my true inspiration.

Writing has become a joy, a habit, a desire, a need, a have to, a want to, a must do, an offering, a gesture, a release, a passion, a relief, a discipline. But, a . . . dream? How could I possibly make that a reality? It just seems too big. Bigger than me. Who am I to think I could actually be a Writer?

Through tears, I asked George if I could really do it. Write, for actual paychecks, and continuing my new found love for my Mary Kay business by moving upward within the company.

Zane answered the question before George did.

"Yes, Mommy" he said looking me right in the eye, "You can do that. Be happy. Don't cry."

I tried to tell him that I wasn't sad - just the opposite, and that I was actually feeling such an enormous amount of happiness due to my ability to admit that I have a dream and because the love I felt around the dinner table at that moment was so very overwhelming, but he's three.

Harper tried to explain that sometimes when grown ups are happy they cry.
Then she shared that she had a dream to become a better reader. And to become a Veterinarian.

Zane shared that he had a dream to play with toys.

George just sat and watched the scene with a contented look that conveyed that right there, at that moment, he was living his dream. He gave me quite the pep talk. He can see it. I love that.

There was a group hug, initiated by Harper, talk of a plan (perhaps phasing out the music classes once Zane "graduates" SLC), a lot of kissing, and a flood of excitement over a new sense of purpose.

I'm sure this isn't the end of this post. Well, it may be the end in a literal sense, as I'm about to stop typing, but not so in terms of my processing and exploring ways to move in the direction of my . . . it's still so hard to say . . . Dream.

My Dream is to work at home. My Dream is to be a Writer and, at this point in time, a Team Leader in Mary Kay. My Dream is to wake in the morning, get everyone off to where ever they need to be and to then get to work on writing projects for which I have been hired to complete. My Dream is to write, hold Mary Kay appointments and train new consultants on my team. My Dream is to be available for my family. To work while they are in school. To be present when they are home. To cook meals with them. To gather around the dinner table and recount the day. Yes, to sacrifice for them, and yet, not at the expense of losing my ability to Dream for myself.

Yeah, I need to tighten that up a bit, but give me time.

And that's it. It's time to move forward.

My family has agreed to help me create a Dream/Vision poster to help encourage me. I'm rereading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and investigating what I do next, 'cause I don't have a clue.

So, what would YOU title my new novel?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, first of all, I've never been on a blog. Second, I've never left a comment. Third, I'd have loved to have you in my English class when I taught high school. Fourth, I want an autographed copy when the book is published. Fifth, I was captivated by your story because you were writing from your heart, what was on your heart and I felt like I was sneaking a peek into what an incredible family you have. Thank you for all you shared..I hope you know that there are days whenyour words will help me continue when my dreams seem way out there. Love your life and live it out loud! The Jeanie that may have started it all? :)