This morning I woke up thinking about childhood dreams. I remember telling everyone as a little girl I wanted to write books. My Papa and Nannie (grandmother, not bougie paid caregiver) always told me then that is exactly what you should do. At forty sumpin’ I remain bookless. When did the dream get deferred, jump the track–dissolve into something that passes through your fingers when you try to hold it?
It reminded me of The Maya’s love for oobleck; cornstarch mixed with water that is a liquid until you squeeze it and it becomes solid. Aha! Everything I need to know in life I learn from Dr. Seuss, my children and the books they love to read. I stopped squeezing the dream . . .
Another favorite is Max Lucado. In A Hat for Ivan, the hatmaker’s son struggles as everyone tries to give him a hat not designed for him that represents who he will become. People are always trying to tell us what hat we should wear. The little girl who wanted to be a writer eventually heard, “You will never make any money doing that! How about advertising? You can still be creative and make a living.” But I didn’t want to write ads, I wanted to write books. I put on the hat though and headed off to pursue my degree in Mass Communications. Epic fail—one semester and I was done.
I then tried on lots of hats—waitress, bartender, bank teller, paralegal. None felt like they fit. I headed back to school to find a new hat. Hmm, maybe I will be a psychologist. That turned to oobleck the second they mentioned statistics. I eventually chose American Studies because it allowed me to explore all kinds of subject matter—art, literature, history, music, material and popular culture.
I was happy in my new hat until someone said, “You should go to law school.” I picked up that hat and then planned to write legal briefs. I was accepted, but changed my mind. Somewhere in my head, that little girl’s voice started screaming, “I don’t want to wear the lawyer hat. It doesn’t fit!”
As a child, what was the hat you wanted to wear when you grew up? Are you wearing it—or did you trade it in for a different one?
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