(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

you may say I'm a dreamer.

my picture post got me thinking about dreaminess. and again I selected one of my own pictures here, mostly for its dreamy quality. Because when I think about dreaminess, I think about what dreams can do in a life. for a life. to a life.

a lot of folks have commented a bit enviously to me "oh, you're living my dream!" ... or "I've always dreamed of doing something like that but ... "

reflecting a bit, I'd say I spent a good deal of my life dreaming. Dreaming of being someone else, doing something else. A lot of my life even seems like a dream. Did all of that really happen to me? it is very surreal, almost out-of-body like!

when I think about my childhood, I think perhaps dreaming saved me. When unspeakable things were happening to me, I'd let myself float. Take myself out of my body, and ride the dream-train to a better place. a different setting. by the time I'd returned, usually the worst would be over.

maybe this was my entry into dreamland as a coping mechanism. and a writing tool. In my 20s, I nurtured my writing dreams with all sorts of journaling, creative exercises, and purging of the ugliness and pain in my head onto paper. and screens (!) But after a point, it seemed my writing became a dream. I mean, who was reading it but me? writing helped keep me alive in those years.

As I became more entrenched in corporate warfare, dreams continued to be my escape mechanism. Granted, my success fueled my ability to take more concrete steps toward my French fantasy. I finally could afford to actually go to France! not just read about it and send my kids to French schools ... but set my feet on French soil (well okay Parisian cobblestones, but same thing really). As time crawled on, I supplemented my fantasy with dreams of owning a bit of France and making my escape. Dreams of writing had fallen by the wayside, but were replaced with even headier aspirations of escape.

Hours of meaningless meetings and conference calls were supplemented with French real estate site surfing, international expatriate living sites, amazon.com trolling for travel guides and how to live abroad tomes and early Peter Mayle fluff regaling me with flirty tales of living in Provence. bluehomes.com and green-acres.com and internationalliving.com. The dream began to take shape beneath those fluorescent lights. daily dreaming. not much action.

To my chagrin, years passed. My dreams lulled me into a state of compromise and coping. I lived vicariously through others as I served myself up to the daily grind. Each day the same as the last, talking about doing something but never doing...allowing myself to accept the American way of things and the fears we are fed as reason to defer my dreams to some unknown future date.

Thankfully, that changed. Something clicked inside of me in 2006, and my dreaming became more bold. My trips to France included meetings with property vendors and home inspections. In 2007 I threw all caution to the wind and jumped smack dab in the middle of my own dream, waking myself up in the process! I bought that French soil!

When I returned from that trip, and the paperwork began making its way back and forth via la Poste ... my dreams took on a life of their own. For nine months, the home purchase marched on ... and so did my corporate career. Nothing seemed to have changed much, in fact the home buying trip to France took on a dreamlike state of its own.

When I finally signed all of the last papers in December 2007, I reached a crossroads. Was I going to continue selling out on myself and my dreams? Or could I find even more gumption than it took to actually buy a house in France to actually try and live here? dreams can transform a person, I'm here to tell you.

This leads me to the other reason I started this post. A blogger I recently began reading, Citizen of the Month inquired "Why do you keep blogging?".

And I wrote some fol-de-rol response, mostly true bits but not succinct.

I keep blogging because I am a dreamer. I'm living part of my life's dream. And now trying to devote time to the part of my dream I've spent a lifetime avoiding.

My dream of being a writer. let me say, in my mind I've always been a writer. But to me (and the world at large), one can only lay claim to such if you are published.

Becoming brave enough to leap into my dream of a new life has increased my confidence that other dreams can come true. But I have this bad habit of avoidance (as evidence above). My dream fulfilled here in France has also allowed me to avoid my other dream. A new and very long project list of France to do's(not altogether unlike the meaningless project lists from Corporate Unreality that I used as subterfuge for doing what I really wanted and needed to do) has somewhat obscured my focus.

But ... Citizen's query got me thinking ... and dreaming ... and reflecting ... and recommitted to the process of trying to write. Blogging has been a beautiful gift to me as part of this new life thing. and blogging presents a writer a gift that didn't exist previously ... the gift of readers! people who can actually serve to provide immediate reaction as to whether one's writing is palatable ... one can get feedback and interaction and inspiration regarding the writing - good and bad. It is really extraordinary, this blogging writing experiment.

My blog commenced with 2008's resolve to create a new life. I think (and I dream!) that in 2009 my blog can serve as a tool for shaping my new dream into more of a reality. Bring my writing more into focus. Take it from that dream-like quality to super-fine, photo resolution.

you may say that I'm a dreamer. I hope I'm not the only one.


Michelle said...

Lovely post.

Now I have 'Imagine' stuck in my brain, shall have to locate it.

I'm a dreamer too, I've always had all sorts of parallel lives going on.

I think mostly of us writerly and otherwise arty types, are.

Rigsby said...

A friend gave me these words framed about 8 years ago. Written by St. Francis of Assisi.

If you want your dreams to be
Build it slowly and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends,
Heartfelt work grows purely.

If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly.
Do few things but do them well,
Simple joys are holy.

Day by day, stone by stone,
Build your secret slowly.
Day by day, you'll grow too,
You'll know heaven's glory.

Me again - I am not religious despite my recent comment here and to Michelle.
All I can say is "You go girls!"

Mrs C said...


Me too. Enough of this daily grind. I've got stuff to do.

And Rigsby? Lovely comment. I think I'll print that out.

La Framéricaine said...

Sweet dreams.

And given the alternatives à la the great Langston Hughes:

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

it sounds like your dreaming has been very creative, focused, and productive--in line with seeing your bliss.

Congratulations, Kim, et bonne continuation!

Rigsby said...

Oops! just noticed the first line should read
dream (singular)and not dreams (plural)

Randal Graves said...

I dream that I never have to hear that overplayed, overhyped song again.

Write more, get your stuff published, sell millions then fly all your Murkan pals over.

Kathleen said...

You are not the only one... 167 coach's challenges written since 2004 and still just a dream to get published... your blog is a kick in the pants..

amy said...

Kim, I saw your post and it made me think about this Times article about self-publishing: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/books/28selfpub.html
I don't know if it's encouraging or depressing but thought you'd be interested.

But aside from that, justed wanted to say keep on writing!