As was the case re: preceding life lessons, there were certain activities and forces in my life I’d never really given much thought to, because well, I was so busy powering up the ladder of success – knee deep in drive and detail – there was never time left over for anything, let alone “reflection” or “introspection”, a situation that, of course, changed dramatically in world pandemic and lockdown life … offering up yet another of those rare but precious silver linings that inspired this series …
One such mighty force at play was dreaming.
Truth be told, when I really got down to it, I realized that one of the greatest blessings in my life was a natural tendency I’d often been chastised for as a kid in school, teachers routinely giving me a hard time for not “focusing” on tasks at hand, accusing me with glaring judgmental eyes of day-dreaming.
I swear I can still hear it now “Jennifer, get out of your head and back on the page!”
They weren’t wrong. At times, even when I shouldn’t have been, I was waaay up there in my head, lost in the wildly colorful ecosphere of imagination (what I joke about now as IMAJENNATIONl), creating all kinds of stories, envisioning myriad outlandish scenarios, living in splashes of fantasies far more fantastical than the mundane and ordinary happenings around me.
What I didn’t realize then, but see clearly now with the gifts of hindsight and reflection (minus the prescription for Ritalin some might insist I still need lol), the dreaming was not only a wonderful exercise in escapism during boring classes – the wha wha wha lectures given by teachers who couldn’t’ hold a candle to the adventures erupting in my mind’s eye – but an indispensable component of personal survival, and what I later deemed my own special brand of “surthrival” (yes, the love and penchant for word crafting lives on lol!).
Truth be bared in its entirety here: Without dreams entwined in the very fabric of my being, I likely wouldn’t have achieved anything. While hard work and initiative are definitely integral to bringing dreams to life (often serving as star mentions in any accomplished individual’s shares about his or her journey to success, J-Lo serving as a prime example, ever lauded for a work ethic as impressive as her G-d given talents), they are nowhere without the initial dream.
And when I dive into the minutia and mechanics of my past dreams, I marvel at the momentum they inspired.
As a very little thing, toddler-esque, barely out of the womb, I would creep out of bed to watch the OG diva Cher, insisting on dressing up in similar outfits (midriff baring and wildly age inappropriate) once submitting to a serious meltdown when my parents informed that her daughter Chastity would not be attending a birthday party.
Clearly, the proclivity for glam, creativity, and the performative set in early.
Years later, the allure, the dream, was always entertainment and media-based, one friend reminding me that in high school, I would joke about becoming “Jennifer Walters”, so obsessed and inspired was I by queen journalist herself, Babs. (If only lol!!)
Also ever inspiring on the dream front was supremely awesome homegrown legend, Jeanne Beker, who managed to marry two passions of mine, fashion and broadcast journalism, carving out a niche for herself second to none. (When I did finally meet her years later, interviewing her for a piece I was doing for Canada.com, I nearly fainted when she knew who I was, and was also blown away by how down-to-earth and humble she remained despite all the stratospheric success).
To be creative, to trade in words, to be embedded somehow in the wonders of media and entertainment were always the dream destination for me, even, and here’s an interesting morsel/kicker, when I would periodically lose my way (as we all do) and venture into waters obviously not a fit like four really long years of law school where my only true saviors were McGill Law’s Skit Nite (a perfect opportunity to hone my own comedic chops with a rendition of of SNL’s famous “Coffee Talk”) and long-form papers for progressive professors that I could somehow swerve into something more creative than fact patterns.
It was inevitably this dogged refusal to stop dreaming and embrace the practical side of life (as so many in my orbit were maintaining was the only course of action in my early thirties) that kept me going and focused on their attainment even when it seemed like all the chips were down and I was bat sh** coo-coo nuts to think I had a chance at anything in the domains I loved; the reason I championed on when the same well intending but judgy “they” found it ludicrous for a law grad to apply for the position of Social Columnist at Montreal’s leading English Daily, The Montreal Gazette (a position I hold proudly to this day), to pitch stories to internationally revered magazines like Hello! (where I ultimately served as a local correspondent for years), and to dare to launch my own magazine and brand with no prior publishing experience apart from journalist (still going almost a decade later).
Yes, dreams were the ultimate drug, keeping me sane, inspired, and more forward-focused than any big pharma chemical creation could. Take that Prozac and aforementioned Ritalin!
And they’re still on the job. Big time …
Despite facing some of the most sizable challenges of my professional life (the pandemic effectively cancelling social life as we knew it and paralyzing so many of my esteemed advertising partners in retail and hospitality), the dreams persist, percolating all round in my head, beating down the lethargy and hopelessness that has plagued all of us at one time or another in the face of such scary circumstances, compelling me straight off the safe-couch, to pen this series before turning it into a book (in the works), get planning the next edition of the magazine (launching December 2021), keep circulating the screenplay (because heck it’s too naughty-good not to stream!), keep making good sh** , keep letting magic guide the way, keep holding firm in the belief that the impossible IS possible …. Because it is. I’ve seen it, lived it, basked in it … time and again.
All we have to do is keep dreaming.
That’s it for now my friends. Another week, another lesson! Hope you enjoyed. Don’t dare be a stranger! Send thoughts, brain babies and more. Love it all!!! xxxx