Sunday, November 7, 2010

What happens to a Dream Deferred

I recently came upon a mid-life crisis. Like a thief in the night, something or somebody came along and stole my spirit and I found myself turning my back on what made me. To understand what I'm talking about I have to bring you back as well as myself back to a time when I lived my dream..
Before coming to New York City I was heavily into the arts. Not just as a audience member but also as a writer, performer and actor whether it was on film or stage. It was a passion that I held and it not only brought me happiness but also I would like to think others as well. I was recognized and appreciated the accolades people gave me for what I was doing. I can be honest in that sometimes when you find the type of success where people know you and start inviting you out to parties and such, you can get a big head. As a performer I say this to not only myself but also other performers, underneath what we do we all have a sense of egos that like to be fed. I was one myself. There's many extremes of ego seeking. Mine was on the mild side but I'm sure some reading this will disagree.
Did I come to New York to be a big star?
Actually the answer is no. I left Minnesota because I felt myself becoming complacent. My life wasn't challenging me anymore. I had a good job, good relationship with the arts, which included running Flayva Cabaret and happy in the relationships I had. But I realize that at a young age I was starting to settle. It was like my life was on cruise control. I compare it to driving the streets of Minneapolis. I rode them so much that I had all the traffic lights memorized. Everything was expected. In a way I felt myself dying because I knew there was a bigger world out there and I wanted to experience it in person and not through watching endless movies. Don't get me wrong I liked Minneapolis but there's only many times you can walk around a lake.
The move to New York was exciting, scary, intriguing and puzzling but it woke me up. I was in a new river and I had to learn to swim in a different stream. I came here with my partner with ideas but no clear plan because I feel that to make a big move you have to jump into the water and trying to create a carefully drafted plan will postpone and even cancel your ideas of moving. I just believed in the faith that no matter what we all have a survival instinct and you'd be amazed how it will pop up and keep you afloat.
So in NY things were great and I enjoyed the environment but at the same time I was humbled because I was a nobody when it came to the arts. All the works I did before didn't mean nothing to those in NY. And when they say NY is a fast city,believe it. It took me awhile but I eventually found my own rhythm and most importantly a community. What I lost was the faith that I could be as successful in the arts as I was in Minnesota. 
I gave up on my dreams, afraid of what was on the other side.
What happens to a dream deferred?
You start to slowly die. You start to lose purpose. You start to lose identity and then the reflection of yourself in the mirror no longer resembles you.
When you give up on your dreams and try to find it in others or find yourself giving life to someone else dreams your feet become wet with the pools of bitterness.
I reached a place where I told myself, okay Aundaray you didn't move here to become complacent. I had to find the yellow brick road.
Long story short I put myself first, became selfish and started to work on my dreams. I pushed myself to get back out there and to take chances, even if the risks involved an answer of no.
By doing that I found my way back. I started to get roles in plays, movies, doing a national print ad and now filming a show for a tv series. I stepped out of my bubble and started to connect with new people who shared my dream and now find myself about to put on a one-man show in a few months and the rebirth of my cabaret.
The point of this is to say is that we all have a dream. We all have something we want to do but we let fear overcome us and we end up becoming our own worst enemy as we put up barriers and start creating excuses instead of a plan. And we let others tell us that we can't do it and believe them.
I'm not saying you have to move to New York but if you want a fulfilled life we have to feed our dreams. If we let them die, we die.
Whether it's starting your own business, writing a book, traveling to a far away country or even moving to another part of the country, believe in yourself. Know that we are not only born once, we go through many rebirths and know that whatever you attempt, even if it doesn't work out, you can say "At least I tried" instead of, "I wish I did". Make your dreams a reality.
Leap, Find, Enjoy, Be Reborn!

1 comment:

Nick said...

This is a very inspiring story Aundaray. Thank you for sharing. I was especially moved when you describes your thoughts on what happens to a dream deferred. I agree. We slowly die, and lose our identity and sense of self. We have to take hold of our futures, because there is too much to lose, when give up on our dreams.