What happened to you? I mean what happened to YOU…not what happened to you the wife or you the mom or you the employee. What happened to you the dreamer, the lover, the adventurer? What was it that enticed you away from your journey and lured you to the path that you are on today?
In the third grade I discovered my passion. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what I wanted to do with my life. It was a rainy afternoon and we couldn’t go outside for recess, so my teacher pulled out the gray box record player and announced that we were going to be listening to a recording of a play. I fell in love with the music and the actors. I was even more thrilled when she announced that we would be performing the play during the spring assembly.
I remember the process of learning lines and dance steps and I remember the auditions. I studied for the part of the lead. I knew the lines, I knew the dance routine and I was ready to be cast as the lead. I wanted to be an actress. Well, I was cast as a tree, no lines, no dancing, no moving. I was heart broken and excited at the same time. I was determined to be the best tree, as if it were possible to be a bad tree… no lines, no dancing, no moving. But as I watched the lead rehearse I recited all her lines and mentally did all her dances. I comforted myself by thinking; “I’ll get this part next time.” Well, in fourth grade we did the same play and guess what? I was cast as a tree… no lines, no dancing, no moving.
When you’re young there is an innocence that believes anything is possible no matter what the physical world displays. I was convinced that I would be an actress and that one day I would have lines and that there would be dancing and moving. I never gave up on the dream, but boy did I leave the path. There was always something tugging at my sensibility. Something or someone reminding me that the world of acting was too random for a girl like me. That if I got the chance to go to college it would be much more sensible to study a field that guaranteed me a job.
Well, that sounded like pretty good advice to me. So, I temporarily abandoned the idea of studying theatre and studied math and science instead. I promised myself that I would get a good job, become an upstanding member of the gainfully employed and then I would go back and pursue my passion. Guess what? My heart believed me. I finished pharmacy school and got a good job, but I didn’t go straight away and fulfill the promise that I had made to myself all those years ago. No, I took many detours. I was lured away from my passion with trinkets, and shiny things, some of which turned out to be quite valuable, but never quenched my thirst and passion for the arts.
With the birth of our eldest child I decided that I had to pursue my dream of being an actress. How could I ever tell her to follow her dreams when I had not followed mine. She was three months old; my husband and I did not have a support network. How could I possibly be considering taking acting lessons and working fulltime and caring for my daughter and my husband? That would have been a sensible question, but it wasn’t the question that greeted me in the morning. Instead I found myself wrestling with the question, “how can you possibly consider not doing this now?” There was something deep within me telling me that I was born to be whole and complete. I decided to move towards my dream, even though my circumstances were a bit challenging.
We now have two children and they have grown up in the theatre and on the sets of no budget independent films. And I know that my ability to embrace my passion has helped them to become well-rounded individuals. You are very important to the outcome and well-being of your family, your community and the entire world. When you stop pursuing your dreams and what you’re passionate about, you are depriving your family, community and the world the opportunity of truly experiencing who you really are and the gifts that you bring! So, what will it take for you to rekindle your passions and live a life you dream of?
Dravon James is the founder of Everyday Peace, an inspirational speaker, radio show host, and author of Freedom is Your Birthright. Dr. Dravon’s goal is to educate, empower and inspire others to build the life of their dreams no matter what shows up in their lives—good, bad, or otherwise. drdravonjames.com.