chronic pain/fibromyalgia · culture/multiculturalism · dreams · education · food · Hispanics/Latinos · New York · teaching · writing

On Dreaming or The Sarah Lawrence Obsession

I’ve had to give up on a lot of dreams. As a child, when I didn’t grow past 5’3,” I let go of the momentary dream of being a firefighter. I gave up the dream of becoming a fashion illustrator when I realized I would never be able to afford the art supplies I would need at an art college. Later, I turned down a full-time internship at Entertainment Weekly after college, and my dream of becoming a magazine editor/writer, when I realized I couldn’t kidnap my sister and then raise her on that kind of salary. And then, my teaching career evaporated when my fibromyalgia spiraled out of control.

I’ve always been a daydreamer. I learned to multitask, drawing and painting for hours, while I dreamed about my grown-up, and vastly improved, life. I wrote poetry about my dreams in-between taking notes for my classes.

And then, I stopped dreaming. Altogether.

I couldn’t imagine a future with or after fibromyalgia. It just seemed too daunting.

But now, I’m hungry. For food, of course, since I forgot to eat lunch after going to the gym, twice. But what I really could use is an MFA-in-Creative-Writing sandwich. I want to work part-time and spend the next two years as a full-time student at Sarah Lawrence, where some of my favorite writers worked on the same degree. And if the college were willing to fund my poor Hispanic little butt to do it, it would be even sweeter. Only two years, the exact number it will take Hubbie to finish his rabbinical degree.

I could write and write and write. As homework. I would learn to write well. Better than I’d ever dreamed I could write. Personal essays with my chosen nom de plum would be published in magazines like Glamour and Self and dare I dream, The New York Times magazine and beyond? I mean, this is a dream, right? Let’s go crazy.

I would write about life, life in general and my life as it was, is, could be, will be, and people would read it. They would see the world from a whole new perspective or in my words, they would find someone who understood their joys as well as their sorrows, their pains.

I would learn to drive for this dream. I would take the 9A all the way to the lush Sarah Lawrence campus two or three times a week. Going to the gym between classes, tutoring at on the side, I would balance it all.

This fantasy is sweet than any I have imagined in a long time. It’s succulent, it drops from my mouth dribbling down my lips. It’s the dream of a poor girl who grew up on welfare in Washington Heights could become a writer, truly. Can I put my hopes in the artistic basket, once and for all, the one I have turned my back on each and every time that practicality has assaulted me and irrevocably changed the course of my history.

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