Sunday, December 15, 2013

Going Down Dreaming - A Blog for SuddenlyFem by CiCi Kytten

A friend of mine passed away not too long ago.  He had been a successful costume designer in Hollywood with many notable screen credits and several notable gowns on his resume.

But he was more than a designer.  He was a dreamer.  And he wasn’t afraid to dream big.  At one point he and his partner wrote a Broadway-style musical.  They even mounted a short-run production of it.

It wasn’t very good. But then, most first-timers aren’t that successful when it comes to films, plays, novels, and such.  At the time, a lot of people rolled their eyes.  Who did this guy think he was?  He was a costume designer, not a playwright.  Not a composer. Not a Broadway impresario. 

Who did he think he was?

Long Train Running.  "Without love, where would you be now?"

People called him a dreamer. Delusional.  Unreasonable. But... OMG... what a fun life he had. Do you have a dream?  This guy had several.  And he kept them spinning on the tops of tall sticks like those jugglers on the old Ed Sullivan Show.  Darting back and forth from stick to stick. Keeping all those dishes spinning.  Keeping all those dreams alive.

The relationship was mutual.  Those dreams kept him alive.

When I attended his memorial a few weeks ago, the eye-rollers were gone. The critics were silent. The hall echoed with laughter and music and fond memories.  (And more than a few stunningly beautiful gowns.) 

I’m ashamed to admit that, at one time, I was one of those eye-rollers.  I wasn’t impressed with his show.  But as I look back on it now, I have to give him props. I mean, many of us dream of things... even big things like a Broadway musical.  But very few of us ever write it.  Or compose the music. Or record the songs.  Or mount the production.  Or rehearse for weeks and weeks. Or convince Broadway performers to perform in it.  And then promote it like crazy to fill the hall.

I think when you do all that, you’ve pretty much surpassed the category of dreamer.  At that point you’re a do-er.  And that’s what he was.  A do-er.  A do-er of far-fetched dreams.  Many at the memorial spoke of how my friend had inspired them.  His failure to think reasonably and realistically was a breath of fresh air to so many stuck in the banality of their more conventional lives.  

And it occurred to me that you don’t have to be a success to succeed. Let’s face it, just keeping a positive outlook and daring to dream in spite of all obstacles are two pretty rare commodities in today’s world.  And waking up every day with a fresh dream to pursue? Well that sure beats whatever the alternative is.

I actually attended two memorials that week.  A second friend -- a dear friend from the local trans community -- also passed away.  She was a person who had had an immeasurable impact on my life -- particularly when I was just starting out.  And we had remained close over the years.

I wouldn’t call her a dreamer as such, but she did have goals. And like most tgirls I know, those goals varied widely over time. Not because she was flakey or capricious -- she was one of the most thoughtful people I know.  But perhaps more because of the difficult and complicated nature of this life.

At one point I can recall her telling me that she was going to give it all up.  She wasn’t going to dress any more.  At other times, she told me she was going full-time.  She started taking hormones, but unfortunately, medical complications got in her way.

Who among us can’t empathize with that duality? At one moment thinking we should shut this down.  At another thinking we should go full-time.  Of course, most of us will land somewhere in the middle.  

Both of my friends were taken too young. They never got to fully realize their dreams.   But then, do any of us?  Even if we live to a ripe old age?  We try our best -- in the time that is given us.  Some of us work harder than others, some of us work smarter or with more focus.  But all of us dream.  And most of us can’t stop.

Some talk of the curse of dreams. That by and large, dreams -- which almost never come true -- lead to nothing but heartache and disappointment.  

I’m a lot like my trans friend.  My dreams vary widely.  (Although, in my case, I am rather flakey and capricious.) My dream state depends on everything from my emotional state to my financial state to the amount of activity in my social life or the number of likes on my latest Facebook posting.  Everything I do and everything that happens to me somehow effects my confidence level.  And thereby impacts my dreams.

What do I dream of today? It almost doesn’t matter. I’ll dream of something different tomorrow. I dreamed of something different yesterday.  And, chances are, none of them will come true.

But I’m not going to stop dreaming.  No matter how old I get. No matter if I’m struck down tomorrow. I’m going down dreaming.  Just like my friends.  Just like the people in my life who have inspired me most.

Some may think its sad to die not having fulfilled your dreams. I think its infinitely sadder to die not having dreamed the impossible, the unreachable, the unattainable.  The unthinkable.

My best wishes to all of you during the holiday season - this season of hope.  My condolences to all of you who have lost loved ones in the past year.  And my sincere good wishes to you in the new year.  Will all of your dreams come true in 2014? Probably not.

But fuck it. Fuck this fucked-up world that takes good people too young and smashes wonderful dreams right and left.  Until all we have left is ridiculous, frivolous, base-less hope.  

Fortunately for us... more often than not, that’s more than enough.

Peace on earth. Goodwill to all.

Take care out there.
Stay safe. Stay smart. Stay sexy.


Sandy Dickenson said...

They both will be missed.


Jennifer Wilson said...

To dream the impossible dream for many. We all make mistakes we regret, however the biggest mistake is not to try and fulfill your dreams. You do not want to be on a death bed having regrets for not experiencing or living life to the hilt!

Cici you do an awesome job !

CiCi said...

Thank you, Jen and Sandy. And I'm with you, Jen, in my own little way -- I'm always trying to broaden my experiences and live life to the hilt. Or as close to the hilt as i can get. ;)


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