The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

I’m afraid that I’ll never be good enough. For anything.

I wonder if I’ll ever achieve my dreams. Dreams are very duplicitous by nature. They’re important to have, vital to a healthy life; if you have nothing to aspire to, and you don’t think outside of what is immediately tangible, then how do you expect to get anywhere? Yet they’re hard to hold on to, and can easily deceive, lulling us into a false sense of entitlement.

But I’ll never give up on my dreams.

Although I have. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never given up on a dream.

When I was five, I wanted to be a magician. That quickly faded when I learned real magic wasn’t involved.

Between the ages of seven – sixteen, I was determined to go to CalArts and become the next great animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios. That hope was dashed when my high school art teacher told me a painting I did “sucked.” That was the exact word he used. It did suck, but I didn’t need to hear that from him. Heavy-hearted, I quietly gave up that dream.

From sixteen to eighteen, my new career goal was film school. I went to Ithaca College as an exploratory major with the intent on transferring into the Park School. I filmed everything and anything, but when I registered for two creative writing courses for the fall of 2005, I discovered that I loved to write. I wasn’t very good at it, and my hands tended to cramp a lot, but I loved it.

So maybe dreams aren’t really meant to be achieved. Maybe they’re meant to guide us through life, to get us through certain stages and bring us to where we’re supposed to be.

I’d like to think that’s the case, anyway.

But when do dreams morph into regrets? Do I regret giving up on my art? There are some days when I think about how different my life would be had I stuck with art and put together a bitchin’ portfolio and got into CalArts. There are some days when I doubt every decision I’ve ever made. But during those same days, all I have to do is actually open my eyes and look around at everything I’ve achieved, everything I have — I met the love of my life, I am a college professor, I am a writer, I have the best friends that I could have ever hoped for — and I’m reminded that I would not have changed one single step I made.

I believe that every single action we take, every step, every hand motion, every word that comes out of our mouths, sets us down new paths, and it all happens for a reason.

I used to regret not being honest with myself and my friends earlier in life and coming out, but had I done so, I might never have met Steve…and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

I used to regret not studying abroad when I was in college. Ok, sometimes I still regret that because I haven’t figured out how my life would be drastically different had I done so, but I’m 1000% sure that something would be different.

But I’m not a gambling man and with that, I don’t believe in regrets.

I’m not always happy with everything. I would be lying if I said I were.

How can everyone be happy with everything? It’s impossible. There is so much that I fear, so many limitations, so many metaphorical hurdles to jump, that sometimes I forget that I’m supposed to be living in the moment, not the past, and that I’m not allowed to give up on my dreams.

It’s about understanding fears and limitations, and NOT letting them hold me back.

I will not fear.

I will not stop dreaming.

I will live.


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