So you have a secret dream in your heart. A book, a photography business, a magazine. You have a dream of a gallery full of your work or a dream of helping other people who are struggling through the same things you once did.
But you are not in a place to dream. People like you with a marriage, a career, a mortgage, mouths to feed. This is why your dream is secret. Dreaming is not for you. It is for people who have less student loans. It is for people who have more time. It is for someone who is not like you.
So, you carry your secret dream in your heart. You don’t tell anyone because you are afraid of being laughed at. You don’t tell anyone because you don’t think anyone would understand. You don’t tell anyone, because what if they believe you? Then you would have to do this thing you said you want to do. What if you can’t? What if you fail?
But the secret dream will not leave you alone. It sits in your heart and grows. Some days it is a day dream that feels warm and welcoming. Maybe one day…..maybe one day. Some days it is a cold stone, weighing you down. You feel lighter when you pick up the pen, the paintbrush, the camera, the dance shoes and you just feel heavy. It has been so long. And some days this dream is like an alarm that you cannot silence. It wakes you up, it keeps you up, it will not leave you alone.
What do you do? What do you do when there doesn’t seem to be a way, but not chasing the dream is becoming harder and harder. What do you do when the hole the dream has burned in this heart of yours is threatening to take over with every beat? What do you do when you don’t have time to chase the dream, but ignoring it is no longer an option?
You find a tribe. You find a group of people who look you in the face and tell you, “me too.” You find the people who do not believe that the kids, the job, the mortgage do not disqualify you from being a dreamer, an artist even. They tell you that your kids are charming when they show up on the video conferences. They tell you that you can do this. They show you by doing it themselves.
I remember when I found my tribe. These ladies thought it was charming that my mic had to be muted because my kids are as loud as me. They thought it was cool that I blogged during lunch and on weekends. They told me what I did mattered, and also what I wanted mattered. They told me I could. I could teach and write a book at the same time. I could apply for things that I wanted, that I was enough. They told me that what I had to say mattered. And I believed them.
A dream is hard to hold sometimes, and a tribe has made all the difference.