Chili Con Unicorn

When I was about eight years old, I went to New York City. I’ll pause to let you take that in. NEW YORK.

I know.

We rode the ferry from New Jersey, passed the Statue of Liberty. We went to the top of the Empire State Building. We walked down Broadway, through Times Square. We took pictures with the lions in front of the NY Public Library. We drove past The Dakota and my dad took a moment of silence. I learned that there was a McDonald’s with a piano player (or maybe my grandfather lied?). I wore a white, flowered romper and hot pink Keds. This was everything I ever wanted. I loved it. The lights, the sights, the excitement. I went home and declared, “I’m going to live in a loft in Manhattan and be a Broadway star!”

So young. So naive.

My parents, ever the supportive and indulgent type, told me, and I quote, “Well, you’d better learn to wait tables.”

Instead of taking acting, voice, or dance classes, I literally practiced waiting tables. I would go into the living room with a notebook, take my parents order, pile a make-shift tray with various nick-knacks from my bedroom and return to the living room, serving filet of unicorn nightlight and mashed musical unicorn and unicorn jewelry box cordon bleu. (I collected unicorn things.) I was VERY good. I was ready to be a Broadway star.

Now it is twenty-four years later and not only am I not a Broadway star, I still have never been a waitress. Just another of my unrealized dreams. To be fair, I would have been a terrible real waitress. I guess you could say that I’m not good with…people.

As for the Broadway dream, my parents wouldn’t sign me up for any dance classes because they said I’d just quit. Which is fair. I did quit almost everything I tried. There was that time I was a Brownie for less than a year, that time I played basketball for two days, that time I went out for cross-country and ran home (there is a theme there as well – I am not here for sports). I did take voice lessons though, but eventually quit those because: 1. I was not great (I’d even go so far to say I was not good) and 2. when I learned to project the sound of my own voice scared me and I freaked out. What WAS that? Who makes noises that loud? I come from a family where our main volume of communication is barely above a whisper. I was not cut out for a life on the stage, shouting and strutting across floorboards. So while I spend a lot of time blaming my parents for my current misfortunes, I realize that, as the old saying goes, they knew best.

I still have big dreams, but over the years they have shifted out of the spotlight and into the wings. I want to be HEARD, but not seen. I want to WRITE, but not perform. I want to COOK, but not serve.

(Just kidding on the last one. I want to do neither of those things, they are both the worst.)

I guess the point is that I’m sick of having unrealized dreams because I didn’t know what my dreams WERE. But now I do and now I’m going to make them happen…?

I’m so bad at ending things. Go goals!

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