I've been working on a post the past couple of days about someone I met on Twitter, but something happened today that knocked me for a loop and that post might make more sense after this one.
I did something today that I rarely, ever do ... I shared something personal about myself and got pooh-poohed on big time. That usually doesn't happen to me (I'll do my own negative self-talk, thank you). As a child, I learned very early not to be too open about myself - having an alcoholic parent teaches you a lot very early on and not sharing is one of the biggest lessons you learn. After all, you don't want your crazy, dysfunctional home to be the topic of school yard talk. Of course, it probably was anyway, but by not making myself vulnerable, I didn't really care what others were saying. But I digress.
We were talking about dreams at lunch today. Not the usual, if I could only hit the lottery for a piece of the big jackpot type of dream, but real dreams. The stuff you dreamed of doing as a child. The kind of dream that if you could just work up the nerve, get past your fear, you'd go all out trying to make happen. I shared my dream of having my own bookstore. The two ladies I was sharing with all but considered driving me to the nearest mental hospital for having such an impractical, non-money-making dream. How in the world could you make any money doing that? Books will be non-existent in a few years anyway. Borders and Barnes & Nobles have that market locked up so no way you can be "successful at that". You do know they have Kindles and iPads now don't you?
They were making valid points, and all things I've considered and researched myself. This was more of a case of how they proceeded to burst my bubble than what they said. They had more "traditional" dreams. Grad school for one (she's doing it now) and some high level position in Corporate America before running her own company. A catering company for another. Dreams no better than mine but who am I to judge? My four year old granddaughter wants to be an ice skating ballerina and cheerleader soccer player on the side -- now that's a dream. Grad school? Seriously? I've never been one to have comebacks on the fly so needless to say it was 4:00 before I wanted to say "well your chocolate cake is nothing to write home about" Ms. Wanna-Be-Caterer. Besides, I didn't want to pooh-pooh their dreams and goals.
The fact that they pooh-poohed my dream cut so deeply because I've never been encouraged to dream. I can state honestly, and without bitterness (now), that every dream I had as a kid, teenager, young woman was shot down by those I loved the most - my family. So I quit doing it. My dreams were always naive in nature and never focused on money. I love money as much as the next person, but I never thought of it until I bought this damn, house, got laid off from a relatively high-paying job, and ... wait I'm digressing again. I just wanted to be happy and at peace, love going to work, and always have enough time to read all day if I wanted to. I always said I would have made a hell of a hippie with love and peace for all and time clocks are banned forever. That communal living thing still seems like a good idea to me.
The criticism hurt because the one time I venture out of my shell and begin to let others know "the real" me, it felt like I wasn't good enough -- again. I didn't even know how to dream properly (that was my negative self-talk kicking in). I started to go all in with the negative talk but I'm glad to say I got over it. It took a few hours but I got over it.
I might not ever own a bookstore, but that doesn't mean I can't fulfill the bigger picture which is doing my thing on my terms. I might need to refine "my thing" but I'm determined to discover it and escape the jail sentence I consider Corporate America to be.
We all should be more mindful of how we respond to a person's dream. Whether it's a 4-year old who wants to be an ice skating ballerina cheerleading soccer player, an 18-year old that wants to be work in the music industry, a 28-year old that wants to be married and start a family or a 48-year old who wants a bookstore don't pooh-pooh a person's dream. You might pooh-pooh the next Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey or the owner of the best restaurant in your town (I love you Francesco's), the owner of your local dry cleaner, florist shop or fruit stand or your child's favorite teacher or your branch librarian. The person you pooh-pooh may even be yourself.
From this day forward stop the pooh-pooh. You don't have to embrace their dream or even understand it but it not helpful to pooh-pooh. Oh and Ms. Wanna-Be-Caterer ... cook on my sista -- just don't put that chocolate cake on your menu.