Judy Garland said it best: The dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
But why is the word DARE in there? Shouldn’t dreaming be easy?
It used to be, when we were kids. I was reminded of that this weekend as I drove my daughter 7 hours across Michigan to a performing arts camp. At the tender age of 10, she is one of those lucky souls who already has a dream that lifts and dazzles and moves her as tangibly as a pair of sky-high red heels. It’s inspiring to see, and hear, her in action; all the world (and house, and car) is her stage.
I was also one of those kids who never stopped to choose a dream, because the dream seemed to first have me. From an early age I knew: I would write books. Period.
But somewhere along my path, the coward in me started sneaking around in sensible shoes, telling me that no one reads books anymore. In Elizabeth Berg’s novel, Home Safe, her main character worries that “books aren’t loud enough; they’re not showy enough; they don’t move quickly enough; indeed, they don’t move at all. They require stillness, reflection, imagination, and these things are out of step with the times.”
The same could be said about dreams. I worry that mine aren’t loud enough, or showy enough. I get angry when they don’t move fast enough. And under all that, I fear that my dreams will put me out of step, or at odds, with something —with my family, with conventional wisdom, or even with my own sense of what I deserve. Don’t you?
Dreaming takes daring because it requires letting go of those fears. It requires vulnerability, and that’s a tricky mix, to be vulnerable and powerful at the same time. (Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly unwraps this brilliantly.) I think the only way to move through such a contradiction is to, just like Dorothy, focus on what’s at my feet. What do I dare to do right now? What step can I take today toward my dreams?
Some days my baby steps look like a couple of sentences that I wrangle onto a page. Or a query letter that I send to the perfect literary agent. Or talking to a friend about my project in the present tense, as if it’s already complete. Some days it’s nothing more than listening to my daughter sing the chorus from Maddie and Tae’s new song Fly, “You’ve come this far. Don’t you be scared now.”
Mostly it’s the reminder that when I truly believe in myself, I can create anything I want. When I dare to look behind the curtain, the wizard looks an awful lot like me.
How about you? Do you have a dream you’re ready to share?