A Dream Not Deferred

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

March 5, 2013


Categories: Blogging Before SEO

See Langston’s Poem, here.

Frustration has mounted. I am stagnate, in a rut. I cannot find the way out. I started looking over a year ago, but the trails I followed led to dead ends. So, what’s a girl to do?

This girl keeps looking.

Belief, purpose, a calling. It’s all very important to my existence. I have to feel like the work I am doing means something and secondarily that I am being fulfilled by it.

Roles that I have found fulfilling usually revolve around helping people reach some sort of awakening, some sort of catharsis  some sort of understanding. Lately, that is usually with my food buying club, although it happens in other arenas. The food buying club happens to the place in which I have the most control, despite that we are a consensus driven and run organization. I find it ironic that the organization where we dictate we must have 100% agreement before a thing is processed is the same place in which I find the most rewarding, most control, most fulfilling aspect of my life.

Being a wife can be draining some days. Being a mother can be draining some days. Being a daughter, a sister, a friend (depending). And, being a worker bee for an organization in which my role is not fulfilling is incredibly draining.

I am surprised, for example that the husband and I have been able to keep house the past week. Something in that arena, at least has clicked, and at least I can come home to peace of a kept house instead of chaos to chaos. The small person has been manageable at night too. But, work, in its ever stressful ways is not always.

So, last week, a coworker queried why I couldn’t prioritize her thing. I couldn’t because in my annual review (thoughts processing on that one), I was told very clearly that I have not been prioritizing the hand that feeds me, more or less. I was basically told I was a “C” student in this school of work. I had had it, at that point. I am reminded, yet again, that this job, that I thought was the perfect marriage between acquired skills and personal belief, is not. I was reminded, yet again, that it is not a good fit for my personality, my strengths, and my desires.

But, what the fuck am I supposed to do then? The track I think I am being called to requires more solidified education of some sort. A certificate, a Master’s Degree, a PhD, more training – something. The certificate/training aspect has not panned out. The soul sucking job prevents me from fully exploring other options while I’m trying to take care of familial, business, and volunteer obligations. Some would argue I’m stretched too thin.

So, I break. I go cry in the bathroom. I must have been in there for 20 minutes. And, I think.

And, I think.

And, I think.

I know I like to think about things to solve problems. I know I like collaborating with people in small groups to solve problems. I know I’m a good listener. I know people appreciate how well I listen and allow them to blossom with their own ideas. I know I’ve toyed around with the flitting thought of becoming a counselor. I know I desire for others to reach their potential. I have coined “Balance Shared” as my unregistered business name because together, we do great things and many hands make light work. I was told recently that embodied the idea of healing. I also peg myself as a nurturer, so healing fits. I’ve always dreamt of  having healing hands that could take away aches, soothe sadness, and help fix people. (Or rather those who desire fixing.)

And, it coalesces  while I’m sobbing on the bathroom floor. I want to heal people. I want to counsel them to be the best they can be. I could help them find careers and unblock pathways. I love networking people to ideas and other people. So, I would have to go back to school. A certificate will not do. I will have to get a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a license in counseling and a focus on career counseling.

I get bored easily and diversification is a must – so I could focus on three things: private practice with one on one sessions, working with groups doing all the facilitation and change management counseling I already do, and teach.

I float the idea by the coworker who asked for a thing to be done. She replies that she see me doing that. I float the idea by my husband, and I preface it with knowing he wouldn’t want any more accrued loans, so that I’d be reliant on grants and scholarships (hard!). I float the idea by another coworker, who in the next moment is frustrated and says, “So, do you have your MSW yet?”

I float the idea by two friends via email, and they offer encouragement and networking options. So, I decide to call another, close to me. At first, the conversation was cheery. She was pleased that I called on something that wasn’t a weekend.

But it quickly downgrades into despair. This person has become a naysayer. This person has quickly become the voice of mediocrity. This person says, “Well that’s what everyone wants.” And, I lose it. I swear, I curse, I chide. A stream of consciousness diatribe of frustration spews from my mouth as I extol the virtues of following your passions and not getting stuck with what everyone else is doing. The mediocrity, though doesn’t stop, so I hang up my bluetooth, which is far less satisfying than hanging up a corded phone.

This person calls and leaves a message. Both instances of which I delete, without listening to the message. This person calls the next day, and I do listen to the message, but I immediately delete it. I send a note, simply, that I am not in the mood to talk. And, still I am not.

I am reminded of why I am where I am. I am thankful for the relationships I’ve forged here. I am happy for the people who I choose to keep in my life who do want me, and themselves, and their kids to be all that they can be. And, come hell or high water, they make it happen.

Some time ago, another friend complained that someone close to her was flitting from dream to dream unhappy that she wasn’t garnering any support from her loved ones. My friend complained that this person was ignoring her responsibilities, again, and that’s why she couldn’t support her newest endeavor to be all that she could be.

My plan, my five-year plan, doesn’t forsake my responsibilities. It’s another attempt to answer those responsibilities while also fulfilling me. The elated high I was on is now gone. And, now I’m back to questioning. It felt so right in that moment. It makes me terribly sad that one person’s disdain for a dream could have so much weight pulling me down.

Regardless, the plan is this:

  1. Research colleges for degree programs;
  2. Research grants and scholarships and ask about staggered deadlines;
  3. Apply and secure placement at a college by the time I’m 37;
  4. Work and go to school, completing school and internships by the time I’m 40; and
  5. Start practice, end year 5.

Yes, support me through critical thought and inquisitions on how to make this a better plan. But, please do not tell me how this dream is full of shit and just because you cannot reach yours doesn’t mean that I should not reach mine.


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