Isn’t this a little CRAZY?

Becoming an expat, for me, is not at all about changing a location. It is about being me, authentically.

To be honest, I have dreamed of living overseas since childhood. In fact, I thought this was an absolute. It never occurred to me that I would live in the United States for this long. You see, I studied classical voice performance throughout high school and into college. A big part of my goals involved traveling abroad, taking part in artist-in-resident opportunities, scholarships and international festivals, and it just made sense that I’d end up living somewhere else, another country, getting used to a different culture, for a long time. But things went wrong. Actually, I went wrong.

I lost sight of my dreams. Financial hardships and personal complications lured me into losing focus on my dreams. I listened to the fearful words of many people around me, about the doom of being a starving artist, make sure I have a solid back-up plan. At first I dismissed the chatter. I considered it poison. But there was always a logical retort. Another great example of dreams gone wrong. The words of fear were ringing in my ears until eventually, I gave in, and I started hearing these fearful words coming out of my own mouth. I took swift action to save myself from the doom of fantasy, of daring to consider that I could successfully fulfill a dream. I became responsible, took my head out of the clouds and switched college majors to something more practical: Communications.

I started working in “real jobs” instead of the arts where my true love has always remained.  This awkward path lead me to positions with a law firm, retail stores, several sales jobs, then eventually into the nonprofit sector of substance abuse and mental health services. I’ve cared for adults with both psychiatric disorders and substance abuse addictions and now serve as a professional writer in a large nonprofit agency.  By now, my head and fear-based thinking have successfully overtaken my life. Miserable, but trying to lie to myself about that too, I’ve found myself often struggling to enjoy my job, trying to succeed and make the best out of my accidental and fantastically unauthentic career path.

I noticed something strange. My dreams and heart didn’t die. I just burried them, fully alive, deep in my head. And slowly, they started to dig themselves out of the grave until one day they were free and screaming in my ear, demanding emancipation!

I took a vacation recently. Alone. I paid for a room in a beachfront Florida motel, the Surf’s Inn. Looking out the window from my room, it seemed as if the waves were going to flow straight inside and break right on the bed.  I swam laps in the Gulf daily, had a beautiful close encounter with a wild dolphin, and I dreamed. I dreamed of music, of art, of traveling and writing about it all. And the dream seemed real.

I dreamed of the surf even when I wasn’t looking at it and all of the creatures that live beneath the surface. I thought about the freedom they have. I looked at the horizon, the same one I’ve contemplated countless times before, and I had an epiphany. The world has no boundaries. I have no boundaries except for the ones I create myself. And the name of my boundaries is fear. Fear of unhappiness, scarcity, struggling and fear of living an uneventful life. 

Suddenly I realized that my fear of these things has caused me to play them out over and over again in my life. My choices have ensured that what I fear the most is exactly the life I live. I am unhappy, live with scarcity, I struggle and am experiencing an uneventful life. So, what if? What if I do those things that fear told me years ago not to try? Will I be worse off? Impossible. Will I be better off? Most likely.

So, where should I go, what life should I go create, where my heart can sing again? That’s what this journey is all about. That’s why I’m going there and not staying here. That’s why, sure, it’s a little crazy, and it’s more crazy not to.

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4 responses

27 09 2010
jantango

Wow! Good for you. Soul-searching is a good start. Living authentically what it’s about. I’m with you on that. At least you’re going through this earlier in life than I did.

Taking the steps to head south were easy for me once I made the decision to go. Now that I’m here in BsAs, I know it was my destiny. Why did my parents go to ballroom classes to learn tango and buy all those tango albums? Why did I choose to study Spanish rather than French in high school? Why am I so independent and ready for new challenges? The universe has a plan for each of us. We just need to be ready to listen.

Looking forward to reading about your journey.

27 09 2010
streetdt

Hi jantango: Thank you for that! Yes, our life is a series of experiences to lead us on our own brand of adventure if we are wise enough to recognize it and take flight. I truly appreciate your comments and sharing a bit of your story with me. It helps to motivate me and remind me that this reality is just around the corner! Thanks again –Daphne

8 07 2012
foroneplease

hey, it’s wonderful that you’ve decided to realize your dreams, most of us go through life only to look back filled with regret that they didn’t even try! I hope you’re giving it all you’ve got…and then some 🙂

8 07 2012
daphnestreet

Thanks! Some people are gifted at achieving goals head-on, take no prisoners and never stray until they get what was on their target. Me? I wander a bit, but eventually I get there. I may decide to take the scenic route, or go join a circus along the way because I found it amusing. Maybe learn to scuba dive because it was a skill I wanted under my belt, but I get there. No regrets – I get there 😀 I will say that I am more determined, more confident and have more of my “ducks in a row” than ever before… I’m looking forward to the journey as much as the destination!

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