This post was by Katharine Blodget. The NY Therapist, Singer-Songwriter in Veil, Canine Parent, Telemark Skier, and Science Geek.
It was January of the New Year 1980 when my mother took me to see Sandy Duncan perform in Peter Pan on Broadway. The memory of our lovely, winter evening and journey to Never Land is somehow refreshing amidst the ghastly heat that enveloped New York this past week.
I remember I wore my favorite Sunday finest for the occasion, a blue velvet dress with tiny pastel flowers suited for a cupcake decoration lining the collar. My mother fashioned her eloquent wool coat. When we arrived at the theater it felt like just the two of us beneath the spectacular bright lights.
During the miraculous performance, I wasn’t envious of Peter Pan’s adventures to Never Land or of Tinker Bell. I didn’t want a fairy of my own, and I didn’t want to stay young forever. I was enamored with Peter Pan because he (or she) could fly.
This was the moment I realized my dream in life was to fly. At the time I couldn’t imagine any other scenario where I might be required to wear a harness attached to a wire and be levitated into the air; so, a career in the performing arts became my vision for fulfilling this wish. (LaGuardia High School didn’t exist, and I hadn’t considered the circus, trapeze, an aircraft, etc.)
Now, several years later and twelve days ago, I encountered a message written in pink chalk on Park Avenue and then again in green on 78th Street that has prompted me to reflect on the significance of my childhood aeronautical aspirations. What does it really mean to ‘Become Your Dream’?
At minimum, a tremendous amount of perseverance, let downs, encouragement, stamina, deliberation, luck, clarity, and much more contribute to the creation of a dream come true. “Follow your bliss,” my mother would tell me, “Think big”, “Be patient, “Rome wasn’t build in a day”, and “Don’t give up,” I’d hear along the way.
Even after attending a performing arts high school and many summer theater programs at Interlochen, Carnegie Mellon, and Boston University, I hadn’t asked myself a few valuable questions worth consideration: Is there a specific action, emotion, reward, connection, status, or feeling that compels us? How do our desires move us? Or, transform us?
Our fantasies tell us about who we are. In that, becoming your dream may entail discovering what every detail of it, be it teaching, buying a house, studying, dancing, partnership, building a business, traveling, or healing, truly means—to you.
The night I returned home from Peter Pan, I fastened a rope to my curtain rod, tied the other end around my waist and hoisted myself off the foot of my bed into the air. A second later I crashed into my bookshelf. There was a lesson to be learned—how we interpret or understand our desires and what we want in life, can be equally empowering (if not more so) as achieving them.
Meanwhile, I can still picture the cue upon which Peter Pan rose to the ceiling of the auditorium and soared effortlessly above the audience. My vicarious flight was exhilarating. “Look at me way up high/suddenly here am I… and what’s more/I’m not even trying.” As life unfolds, I’ve noticed the pursuit of becoming my dream continues to exceed all literal translations. That is, when I’m fully engaged in writing a lyric, poem, or story, loving someone, exploring a random curiosity, getting to know a piece of art, music, or author, exploring a personal life challenge with a patient or client, and observing the world without judgment, I kind of feel like I’m flying. And as it turns out, there are a lot of ways one can fly…