I’m Glad She Asked

Yesterday, my friend Alayne and I had lunch together. We talked about her boyfriend moving away soon, my plans for the summer, our shared classes. Then she asked me, “What’s your dream?”

I was a little set aback, realizing that no one asks this much. Instead, college students like myself usually hear questions like, “What are you going to do after graduation? What are you going to do with that degree?” My everyday life is an answer to these questions about short-term goals. Go to class, practice, teach. I’m living in preparation for something I can’t seem to answer right away.

After some hesitation I said, “I think I’d like to live in a big city…keep teaching privately, maybe go into music therapy or teach at a university if I get a doctorate…travel, wear nice clothes, eat good food. Find that someone I romantically and deeply connect with. And tattoos everywhere. “

But what is it that I really want out of these things? They seem pretty attainable when simply stated like so. Yet, I struggle, because there is, of course, more than first comes to mind.

My dream isn’t just to be in a big city where I can live on almost-gourmet foods. I want to be able to do this without any guilt at all. Maybe one day I will be able to eat Lays and steak and carbs and even think about pizza without berating myself.

My dream isn’t just to keep pursuing my music studies and find my secure place in the musician’s world. I want the be in different places, with different peers and teachers, to be challenged enough where I can look back and say, “I never thought I could do this.”

My dream isn’t just to wear nice clothes. It is to be able to love myself even when I’m not in my signature color. To feel confident even when I’m not in my best outfit.

My dream isn’t just to be tattooed, sleeves on my arms and legs. I wish I didn’t have to hide my tiny one from family. I wish my borderline red hair wasn’t borderline disapproved by my family. I wish people didn’t have to be condescendingly questioned for their bodies.

My dream isn’t just to find the right someone. Before I do that—I want to live knowing only I complete myself, and if I’m lucky, someone will come along to extend me. If I find such good fortune, I will then hope for familial approval, and not hope for the questions about marriage and kids, which are already starting anyways.

These are the things that make me a lofty dreamer. But in my lofty dreaming, I understand the world owes me nothing, and it is my call to achieve the attainable, and do my best for the unattainable.

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