1. to be an astronaut
Perhaps know something more about the universe, to explore, to close the gap between me and the unknowable, even if just by inches. To float. To impress my dad.
2. to be a nun
To feel whole, to feel loved, to feel secure in God. This was fleeting, right before I gave up God for good, but it was sincere. It made the losing-faith-fallout to be all the more emotionally pyrotechnic.
3. to be a ballerina
I was five. I had a tutu and ribbon shoes and a pink ballet box. This dream ended when it turned out that I was not in the least bit graceful. The story goes that I fell off the stage during a ballet recital somewhere around 6th grade, right into the ballet teacher, who was Mandy’s mom. Also I can’t tap dance.
4. to be an actress
I liked the feeling of being someone else. Then I realized that acting is more like exacerbating your personality in front of everyone, instead of subsuming it into a character. I prefer getting naked on paper instead of on stage.
5. to be a painter
Because I liked museums, and I liked being around art. Still do. Turns out I have limited skill, and mostly what I like is holding a brush, and staring at a blank sheet of possibilities. Possibilities are limitless, unlike the edge of a canvas.
6. to be a vegetarian
I wanted to not eat fuzzy big animals, but I still eat them. I’m sure they feel emotion, and care about their young, and feel pain– even fish. No being with a central nervous system does not feel pain. But often I crave a burger. So I eat one. There are benefits to being at the top of the food chain.
7. to be anorexic
Seemed like a good way to stay thin, to maintain control. Sometimes I hear chocolate peanut butter ice cream calling to me in the night. If I could control that, blot out the sweet sweet voice of cupcakes and spaghetti, I figured I’d be in good shape. But by lunch I was starving.
8. to be the proprietor of a beach shack
If this is what life is about, what are we doing? Perhaps there’s a simpler lifestyle, perhaps on a beach, perhaps a lifestyle with limited complexity. To drop out of civilized society and rent out scuba gear. I’m not a sunbather, but I could watch the water come and go forever.
9. to be a writer
I wanted to be a writer because I wrote. It’s been the only constant. Holding a pen is like holding a paint brush, except I know how to shape all the letters. Writing is the only thing I keep doing instead of keep wishing I was doing.
10. to be a mom
I didn’t have childhood fantasies about it. I never wanted to be a mom until I was one. But it turns out that I really like it.
Right now life feels segmented. Like a caterpillar balancing on a leaf, some legs hanging in mid air while others grip tightly to the little veins. I’m trying to combine things, so there’s less segments. But I can’t cocoon, I can’t wrap myself up and take a breather wherein time stops and I get organized. The days are so crowded. The weeks whip past. Dreams float, some new, some old. Each goal needs milestones, charts, maps, bridges, plans, paths, and all can’t be embarked upon at once. I stand still at a cross-roads, but the scenery scrolls past in 2D, and I keep waiting for the loop.