This is the fifth day of my 30-day letter writing challenge. I am supposed to write a letter to my dreams. I could take that literally, I imagine, and write to my nightly dreams. Mine are vivid in color, often disconnected, and I rarely remember them in the morning so that would be a futile exercise indeed. Instead, I thought I’d write about the dreams I had as a child—the dreams I had for myself growing up—the me that I was meant to be.
Dear Me that I was Meant to Be,
As you and I both know, I am missing large chunks of my childhood memories. I know certain events took place because I have photographs: black and white images of a slight girl with long hair and chocolate brown eyes staring thoughtfully into the camera. In those photos I am rarely smiling. I am studious, dutiful, and proper. My legs are crossed just so; my hands folded in my lap or held behind my back. I am seen and not heard. I am on the periphery, the fringes, the sidelines.
Due to the holes that shred the fabric of my memory, I don’t recall much about my expectations for my future. What I do remember is that I always felt I was going to make my mark on the world—that I was destined to be famous. I dreamed of being a star (don’t we all?) and still, sometimes, I think it could happen. I could still leave a legacy behind. I remember many times imagining that my life was a movie and so I acted as though a camera were following my every move. Subsequently, I spent very little time as “the real Diana,” whoever that is. But, I digress…this is about you now.
You are successful. You are financially well-off. You travel the world and get paid to write about it. You are thin and fit and you maintained the metabolism that enabled you to eat whatever you wanted without exercising well into your late 20s. You have been married to your high school sweetheart since you graduated from college. You live in a beautiful house and your two grown children have already graduated from college and gone onto successful careers.
That was someone else’s dream for me. I had no preconceived notions of who I would be when I grew up. I did dream of travel and I still do. I know I’ll get there someday. My high school sweetheart is now happily settled with the woman he was meant to be with. I dreamed of having my own children and I had the one that I was meant to have. I live paycheck to paycheck and I have a small, comfortable bungalow that I rent. It’s not the Taj Mahal but it is entirely me and it is home. I battle my weight, yo-yo diet, and exercise sporadically. And every one of my relationships has made me stronger and smarter and has brought me to where I am today.
Right where I was meant to be.
I may still be on the fringes of society, the edges of acceptability, the sidelines of what is considered the norm, but my photos now are in full color and my smile shows even in my eyes. I am no longer proper or dutiful or quiet. I am boisterous, adventurous, and full of a life that is unique to me. I write this letter to myself, because I am exactly the me that I was meant to be.
This is the quote I live by: “You asked me why I came here. I will tell you. I came to live out loud.” ~ Emile Zola
And hey, I really kind of like you just the way you are,