Archive for dreams

Truly inspiring…

Posted in Ramblings..., The present... with tags , , , on March 24, 2013 by henryconley

Last night I was sitting in my office (at home, not work) and looking some inspiration.  As you can tell from my last post, I am again at a crossroad and trying to figure out what I should do next towards achieving at least one of my dreams.  Cutting a few loose was an effort to refocus my goals and make them more achievable.  Oh, and yes it was part pity-party.  Sorry, but sometimes I need to throw my emotions out there.  I tend to wear them on my sleeve, which of course isn’t always the best, but it’s just who I am.

So, back to last night… While I sat and thought about it I skimmed through my Facebook news feed.  I noticed a video was there for about the sixth time this week.  Another “inspirational” clip that everyone “MUST” watch.  I don’t always watch clips like this because they are often a bit cheesy, but then again at times I’m the king of cheesy things.  So I watched it.  I watched it in complete awe.  I watched as this man stood onstage and told a story I could relate to.  It took a while for me to realize it was spoken-word poetry.  The ease he recited every line told me they were part of him, not just something he memorized.  I was blown away.

The piece was essentially an anti-bullying message, but it went much deeper and even helped me understand some of the reasons I felt a need to cut loose some of my dreams.  He stated that people even called his dreams names, like “stupid”.  Now I am paraphrasing, but the concept of dropping dreams because what other people say about them hit home.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have people telling me my dreams are stupid to my face anymore, but the scars of a younger version of me do come to the surface.  The current version of me has put all of my dreams and aspirations out for viewing, criticizing and even the laughter they may bring some people when they read them.  I thought I didn’t care how people would react and in general I don’t, but there is a part of that younger me who still fears what people will think or say about those dreams.  I think many of my stalled projects may have come to a halt out of the fear that I’d be laughed at if I failed.

After watching that video last night, I feel a bit more inspired.  I don’t know what I will put my energies towards, but I will attempt to relaunch one of my many projects.  I owe a lot to Shane Koyczan.  His poetry and performance deeply touched me.  I hope you’ll take the time to look him up and watch a few of his pieces.  I’ve included the clip I watched last night below, but he has many others on YouTube that are equally as inspiring…


Dreams are for sleep…

Posted in Ramblings..., The present... with tags , , , on March 22, 2013 by henryconley

When do you stop chasing a dream? Conventional wisdom would most likely tell us “when it becomes impractical”, or something along those lines. I’ve always felt that since it’s a dream, conventional wisdom and practicality don’t need to play into your chasing a dream. Yes, as adults we need to know when a dream should be sidelined while reality is dealt with and then pulled out again at a later date, but does a dream need to die? Until recently, I always answered “NO!!!”, with extreme and guttural intensity. I had shelved many dreams over the years and came back to them when reality didn’t get in the way. I honestly believed that in some form or fashion I would achieve at least some of them. Now I’m starting to think they need to die and set me free…

Anyone that knows me or has simply read my blog, knows that I feel I’ve achieved my most important dream of having a wonderful family. With a beautiful wife and two wonderful children, I am certainly a blessed man and now I’m starting to realize that to expect anything else would be greedy. I’m learning that not all dreams come true and we need to just accept that.

Again, if you know me or have read my blog you know I’ve suffered with a desire to be in the limelight my whole life. Why? Well, I really can’t answer that as I have no clue, but it’s been there as long as I can remember. It’s not something I can explain. Why do I crave the satisfaction of having an audience for my thoughts and actions? Couldn’t tell you if I wanted to. I can however, tell you it’s not because I think I deserve or that I am better than anyone else. In fact, I usually rate myself only a notch or two above a garden slug. Relax, that’s a joke. I don’t think that poorly of myself, but rest assured I don’t consider better than most humans. Definitely above those who willingly bring harm to others, but not above your average good-willed person. Do I have low self-esteem and need that boost? After the last couple of sentences one might think so, but I don’t think that’s the case. If I didn’t have a healthy self-esteem I could not do the job I do at home or at work.

To play onstage in front of a sold-out audience night after night, make that movie, documentary or TV show that moved people; to have written that play that made someone stop and think or perhaps write that novel that was a real page-turner. All dreams I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I have so many stories in my head I’d love to share. Stand in front of a crowd and perform a one man show, telling stories the way it use to be done. That’s another.

My imagination and ability to remember almost my entire life (yes I even have memories from the crib) is a blessing and a curse. I can keep myself entertained for hours on end just day-dreaming. The movies in my head are better to me than any in the theaters. The memories, a great documentary of my life. However, that imagination made me believe I could bring these stories to life and those memories won’t let me forget how good it felt to bask in even a sliver of the limelight I’ve craved. Why is this a curse? Well, because I just can’t make those dreams a reality. The good Lord knows I’ve tried. A few years ago, I honestly thought I was going to make at least some of them happen. I felt a re-birth of sorts around my 45th birthday and began to work towards making some of them come true. Then reality struck again… and again… and again… You get the point and I will spare you the details, but I will say that my life was and still is consumed with simply staying above water. Dreams are for sleep right now.

So what does all this mean? It means it is time to start letting go. I’ve gone through life with a big bouquet of balloons tied around my wrist. A balloon for every dream. Now I need to start cutting some of them away and deal with my reality. The odds of me taking the stage behind my drums before a sold-out crowd has diminished with every birthday. My children only saw me onstage with one of my bands once. It was a great outdoor Earth Day concert in front of a crowd of thousands as we shared the bill with the Goo Goo Dolls, Four Non-Blondes and many others (it was the early nineties if you couldn’t tell). Unfortunately, neither of my children remember it because they were very young (apparently I did not pass on the blessing and curse of remembering almost every minute of your life). Now I accept (not happily) that they will never see that side of me. Yeah kids, there was a time when I could at least fake the whole ‘rock star’ thing well enough to play to some pretty big crowds. One less balloon to carry…

Most of the other balloons are being set free as well. They feel more like a weight these days. Yes, I wish they would have come true (Oh God, I wish they had), but now they just haunt me like ghosts from my past. Failures that no one would know happened if I didn’t spill my guts in this blog from time to time, but I am always aware of them. So I’ll let some of those float away as well.

You could accuse me of feeling a bit sorry for myself and you would be right, but I’m entitled to at least that much. If you don’t like my public memorial for my lost dreams you can close your browser or go to another website. Doing this in my beloved blog is my way of letting go. It’s symbolic for me as this blog was born out of that rebirth a few years ago, but as you can see I don’t even get to write here that often anymore. I’m not going to cut that balloon loose just yet though. Writing doesn’t seem to have an expiration date like some of my other dreams, but for now there is no great novel or memoir in the works. Not enough hours in the day and not enough strength in my tired soul.

I won’t let go of all my dreams. I’d be completely lost without at least a few, but I’m tired and worn down right now and need to focus on reality. Not so sure how good of a job I’m doing at real life these days, so I can’t justify chasing my dreams for the time being. So the remaining dreams will be safely tucked away for now.

In closing, there’s a song by Jason Walker that kind of sums up this pity-party/memorial service for lost dreams. The song is called, Down, and I’ve included a video with the lyrics to it. Now, it’s not all a feel-bad thing either. There’s a couple of lines that sum up why I’ll always circle back to those dreams; rock star, author, movie-maker, storyteller…

“Not ready to let go
‘Cause then I’ll never know
What could be missing”

So now I think I’ll listen to the song one more time, sip a root beer (or perhaps a Shirley Temple) and say goodbye to a few old friends and goodnight to a few others. I guess dreams are for sleep after all. Well, at least for now…

“Two years later… (An update)” OR “On with the Show Part II”

Posted in Ramblings..., The present... with tags , , , on November 27, 2011 by henryconley

Two years ago this week I set out on a project to celebrate my 45th year on this planet.  I wanted to post a story from my life or write about something I felt strongly about every day for a year.  I accomplished that goal, but there was an aspect to the exercise that fell off to the side.  I was quite honest in my posts about my desire for the limelight and planned on starting to work on perhaps making a few of my creative dreams a reality.  I went into my 45 year filled with excitement and felt nothing could hold me back.  I was going to chase my ‘other’ dreams again and cross a few things off my ‘bucket list’.  Some people have attainable goals on their list and two years ago I thought all of mine were as well.  Now I doubt I will ever finish my list…

When I was actively writing I alluded to the trials that my family was facing as much as I could, and anyone who followed my posts knew not all was well.  In the year since I stopped my daily entries, many positive changes have come for my family but the emotional scars are still barely healed.  I guess it hasn’t been long enough for most of the pain to fade, but I do believe time does heal most wounds.

In my very first post two years ago, I was painfully honest and laid my life out for all to see, criticize or approve.  I sought neither approval nor criticism, that was not the purpose.  I am comfortable with who I am and the life I live.  I know there are always areas I need to improve, but as I am my own hardest critic I have the criticism part well covered.

So many things have changed since that first post.  Unfortunately, most have torn my heart to pieces.   I wrote of my family and their plans.   Things changed, leaving scars that in reality are barely scabs at this point.  I still can’t go into details, but all I can say is YES it was that bad.  Supporting my daughter with the fallout and her ongoing health issues has been very difficult, but rewarding.  It has been an honor to be there for her and just be her dad the best I can.  I’ve watched her grow into a stronger young woman and could not be prouder of all she’s accomplished (which is quite a bit) in the past two years.

As far as my son, well he never came back from that internship he was leaving for, instead choosing to pursue his own dreams in Florida.  We are very proud of the life he’s made for himself and fully support his decision, but he’s not here.  He’s 1,200 miles away and I see him about three to four times a year.  I just wasn’t ready for that.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I would not have this any other way.  He is doing what we raised him to do and we are proud of him for following his heart.  He’s where he belongs.  Yes, I am proud of my children and that is a wonderful feeling.  They are responsible adults and I love them both dearly.

This brings me to my lovely wife.  I could not be happier with the way we’ve grown even closer the past two years.  Through all the trials and tribulations we’ve been there for each other.  Sure we get short with each other on occasion, but our love is stronger than ever.  One thing I never need to worry about or doubt is our love for each other.  Ultimately, that makes me a very rich and blessed man.

Two years ago I wrote about my ‘reawakened’ desire for the limelight and how the world of professional wrestling helped bring that back to the surface.  That seems a lifetime ago now and although I am still in touch with a handful of dear friends we made during that adventure, it’s pretty much a closed chapter.

I also spoke of the friends I had made in the music business and how  I’d been lucky enough to meet many of the musicians I idolized when I was still trying to make it as a rock drummer.  I was working for a handful of them, supporting their web presence and it felt great to be part of the business in some small way.  Unfortunately, that’s pretty much changed as well.  It’s a fast-moving business and for various reasons, my services are no longer required.  Management changes and other changes shake things up and well, we’ll just say in the blink of an eye your work can be but a memory.  Thankfully, I remain in touch with a few people from the music world and consider them true friends.

So in another week I enter my 47th year on this planet… What now?  Good question, one that I have endured two sleepless nights over this past weekend.  I guess it leaves me right where I was and where I belong; continuing to support and love my family as we continue down this path we’re on.  That is still my top priority and one I cherish.  I am very optimistic about the future of my children and that’s a great feeling.  Yes, things are different and some of that came with great pain, but they are going to be successful and flourish.  I know this in my heart and couldn’t ask for more.  Well, I could and do ask the good Lord to bring the physical and emotional pain to an end for my daughter, but I know that’s coming and I hope she does too.

What about those other dreams?  I called myself a ‘limelight vampire’ in that first post two years ago.  I said how I was living off the limelight some of my friends basked in.  I made no apologies then, nor do I now.  I still don’t know why I crave it or why a simple, normal life is not enough, but it isn’t.  So the ‘bucket list’ of the seemingly unattainable is being put back into action.  Will I ever write the rock musical that’s haunted me for over a decade?  Will I see it performed?  Will I ever record or perform with any of the well-known musicians I’ve gotten to know?  Will my book series and one-man show about my ‘Pop Culture Adventures’ ever become a reality?  Some yes, but most are unlikely.  However, with that said I have a new resolve to at least try for something more.  I want to leave a creative legacy behind in addition to the most important legacy that truly is my children and the hope they carry.  Yes, their legacy is enough to make me proud and would allow me to die a peaceful man (hopefully someday in the very distant future), but I want more.  Again, no apologies will be given for that.

In closing, two years ago I made a reference to a brief intermission and then on with the second half, well I guess there have been many rewrites in this script we call life and the second half has been off to a rough start.  That’s okay, life’s still an adventure and I’m ready to once again try to live it to the fullest.  I have no clue where it will take me, but I’m sure it will be interesting… Wish me luck.

Once again, on with the show…