What happens to a dream deferred?
I can tell you.
The problem starts when you realize the life you assumed was just going to happen, like it does on TV and for your favorite famous people, requires a shit-ton of suffering to get. Years of it. And, you have to be naturally good at it, to boot. AND, lucky. All that.
So you started to walk an easier path, more realistic path. You defer. You choose rest-stops and sloped short-cuts that don’t lead to your dream. But you need the comfort those rests give you. You’re not a robot.
You didn’t follow through on that nursing course the old folks home you work for offered to pay for as long as you kept working…in five years you might have been a Physician’s Assistant, practically a doctor. But you’d never have any time to relax, working grueling 12 hour shifts and going to school. You’re just not cut out for that.
Even though the clinic gave you free birth control, you didn’t take it. Partly because you hate pills, but also you wanted to be a mother, yes, surely. You wanted someone to love and to tie you and your man together forever. Then the babies came and he turned into an asshole and now everything is about survival.
You get to wear an invisible placard now that says “Struggling Single Mother” or “Child-Support is half my pay check and I barely see my kids.” It’s not glamorous, but it’s got dignity.
You used to love to- but you stopped. Writing. Music. Marriage. God. Art. Computers. Creating. Forward Motion.
But those things gave up on you, too. You’d write great stories but no one wanted to read them. You didn’t have the money or business know-how to sell stuff on Etsy, they purposefully make it hard. And God wasn’t answering your questions, at least not ones requiring more than the yes/no variety of answer He seems to favor.
Does it dry up, like a raisin in the sun?
Forget it. Rent’s due. Everything is due. Kids need stuff. Just quiet, please just shut up and give me silence. Reality time. Truth is they call them
dreams for a reason, dumbass. You were never meant be that person. Even close to that person. Act like a grownup. Forget that shit and try to be happy with what you got. But still wince when you hear the successes of old high school friends.
Or fester like a sore – and then run.
This is a shitty world, you can’t believe how shortsighted and ignorant you were as a kid, before the universe used you for a punching bag. You’re hot and thrumming with constant undercurrents of anger and fear now. You need to be, keeps you on your toes, otherwise you’ll get eaten alive by this sick society.
Does it stink like rotten meat?
You can block it out, the debt. The mess. The unreliable car and the backed up septic. The smell of cat piss in carpet. Shit’s falling apart everywhere but what can you do? You can’t afford to put it back together. You’ve got slipped discs, it’s hard to even do simple stuff. In fact you’re practically sick all the time. See, that’s what you get for trying to do honest work. Now you’re fucking crippled by back pain and people think you’re lazy and don’t participate but they don’t understand how fucking HARD it all is. It’s not like you’re loving this. You could clean up, but that doesn’t fix plumbing. You could get another job, but whose hiring? Fuck it. Just…fuck it.
Or crust and sugar over-like a syrupy sweet.
What you were gonna be is so far away from who you are that it doesn’t hurt to fantasize about it anymore. What would your Oscar acceptance speech be like? All those people loving you for just existing…wow. How would you decorate that perfect house in the woods? You can spend hours reading about beautiful people, looking at their homes and spouses, and even a few exposed secrets, hours decorating a dream house on an $2.99 app. It’s sweet, it helps. In fact you spend a lot of time sitting outside your reality. The pills help, too. The wine is delightful. Binge watching and binge eating sound funner than they are. But it’s affordable and you can do it with the kids around. And it helps you forget you’ve run out of things to look forward to.
Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load.
No light. No air. No point. Trapped by it. By what? Everything. Everything gone wrong in your life. Who even remembers the first domino, the first time life fucked you over and you didn’t have the resources to fight back. Or stand back up. Just stay down. Stay down here it hurts less down here. Stay down under it all, let it press. You’re trapped, but your free from ever having to think about that stupid dream life again. All anyone expects from you is to survive.
Or does it explode?