Friends can stabilize us. They can be our pillars of strength and provide us with what we need to keep our feet on the ground. I’ve always been a dreamer. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. Head in the clouds, space cadet, ditzy, all of those has been used to describe me at some point or another.
While those terms may be seen as negative, I view them as a compliment. To be able to find a place of pure imagination can be quite enjoyable. Escaping to a world of creativity in a daydream of endless possibilities is a gift.
Except for the times, it’s not.
Being a dreamer comes with consequences. For one, my feet have never been firmly planted on the ground. And the humidity from the clouds causes my hair to frizz.
I recently devised a one-woman show. It had been something in the works, something I’d been dreaming about creating for two years. As an artist and performer, I’m constantly dreaming up new shows and ideas.
The hard part about this show was that it was about rape and sexual trauma. The dream was to get my story out into the world to share with others and let them know they’re not alone.
But I was alone. In the beginning while creating the material, in the rehearsal studio while rehearsing the material, in the “office” making promotional materials, and in funding the event.
It was a very lonely process, which I know my fellow dreamers can understand. To be a dreamer you can enjoy the wistfulness of new ideas constantly floating through your mind. But to make your dreams come true, well, that’s a little harder.
Making dreams come true
To make a dream come true, you have to have to be grounded. You need to know the business aspect of things and how to get things done. This has always been one of my weaknesses.
I have plenty of ideas and excitement that come with each one. But implementing structure and bringing the idea down to Earth is a little harder and less exciting.
When it came to my show, the idea of spreading hope and performing on stage was the dream. But the actualizing of the dream was challenging.
I had to set specific rehearsal days to ensure that I was working on the show. I was my own stage manager and director and actor, everything and everyone. Since I had recently moved, I didn’t really have a lot of friends or support network around me, so I was mostly doing everything by myself.
Dreamers aren’t always alone, and I wasn’t either. I enlisted some out-of-town friends to watch my rehearsals over video chat and give me feedback. They provided an outside eye to my rehearsal process and gave me some clarity along the way.
Without their guidance and support, I know for a fact that my show wouldn’t have been as good. They forced me to see the weak spots in the structure of my show and helped give me ideas of how to adjust accordingly.
In the end, my show was a success. Not so much numbers-wise (who wants to see a show about rape on a Monday night?), but production-wise. I had written, devised, directed, produced, and performed a one-woman show in six weeks. I had made the dream a reality. And to think I had almost quit and thrown it all away.
My weekend-long breakdown
The weekend before my show, I was about to give up. I was having anxiety and PTSD and I didn’t want to continue. The impending doom of presenting myself so rawly on stage in front of an audience filled me with fear. The strength to continue seemed far out of reach.
I felt paralyzed like I couldn’t move and I couldn’t focus. Tears were always close at bay and would often find themselves cascading down my cheeks without permission. I had reached my breaking point, my limit.
Not sure of what else to do, I called my friends. I told them I was afraid, that I didn’t want to perform because I feared no one would show up and no one would care.
Luckily though, my friends supported me and encouraged me to continue. I received a lot of advice and sympathy and space to cry. They gave me that little extra push that I needed. I had brought myself to the stage and they turned the lights on for me.
It seems that dreamers need friends. Other dreamers and doers. Together, they can support each other and imagine a new world and bring that world into existence. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have my friends to help me through the intrinsically lonely process. I had pushed myself to my limit and they were the strong hand to pull me that extra foot up to the top of the mountain.
Ultimately, I’d rather be a dreamer than anything else. Because if my head is up in the clouds, at least I’m a little closer to heaven.