Dream the dream...then wake up and do it
Everywhere I went last week, people were talking about Susan Boyle's show-stopping performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" on Britain's Got Talent. It's impossible to watch without feeling choked up because the lyrics are so painfully apt in combination with the power of her voice. Watching the video that rapidly went viral was exactly like an experience I described a while back in a post about "Fat Nude Writing."
As glad as I am for Susan's moment in the sun, I feel angry and sad for every job interview that blew her off, every date she never went on, and all the other Susans all around the world who are passed over on face value. Why should it surprise anyone that this woman has an amazing gift? Because she's 47 and looks it? So am I, and I must have missed the memo that said I was supposed to go out on an ice-flow and submit my spirit to the wind, having outlived my usefulness as home decor and/or potential octo-mom.
My heart aches when I hear the message of that song from "Les Mis": "Life has killed the dream I dreamed." It's a terribly sad refrain from women of any age, but particularly women of "a certain age." Middle-aged women are intellectually on fire, spiritually seasoned, and sexually ripe, but there's not a demographic on the planet that gets less respect, especially those of us who aren't aging like Rene Russo. And perhaps the worst travesty of all is how women my age dismiss themselves. It takes more than talent to sashay out in front of the world; that's an act of courage, a decision of will, and a prayer of gratitude for one's own gifts.
Susan Boyle clearly appreciates the gift she has, even though others never embraced her in a big way until now. I love that she delivered the song like a wrecking ball, then went striding off the stage instead of waiting for the panel to judge her. She's been judged plenty, no doubt. Maybe she's grown so used to being overlooked by a world that rewards youth and beauty, she's learned to fully live in her skin and find her rewards in the work.
When a woman in her Power Decades tells me she's always dreamed of being a writer, I want to shake her and say, "Wake up!" Dreams are lovely, but waking life is where it's at. Today's the day, sisters. Embrace your power, steel your spirit, sail it out there, and stride on off to the next challenge without regard for the judgement of others.
By the way, if you were thinking Susan is a one-hit-wonder, listen to this...