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Dreams Die: What Happens After the Fat Lady Sings?

Now I know, well, I was wrong
To live for a dream
If I had my life to live over
I would never dream, no
I still wish you gone
And I will live alone
Yes, I will live alone

- Planets of the Universe
by Stevie Nicks

The hidden danger of having a dream is that when it fails to come true it leaves a hole in your life. The bigger the dream – the larger, deeper the hole. And if you aren’t aware of the death of this dream then you have a propensity to unwittingly fill up that hole with something/anything else. That can get rather scary if you aren’t paying attention or when you don’t have anything specific to replace them with. That’s when that occasional cocktail after work becomes part of a daily routine which balloons into a reason for an intervention.

You get the picture.

So, without getting all melodramatic about it, I just noticed the other day that all my dreams are gone. Dead. I let go of them and they all died a slow, painful death. I don’t have anything to replace them with so I have been having copious amounts of anonymous sex with (mostly) strangers. Yeah, I know – not a big surprise for some, but if you knew that was my motivation, it would have been nice of you to clue me in.

One of my dreams, perhaps my main dream was to be involved in theatre. In some way and for many years, I was. I did it all – directed, produced, wrote, acted, sang, designed costumes, lights, sets, props, sound, stage managed, etc – for over 350 productions!. And while I occasionally experienced what one might term success, I personally found that most of my experiences left me wanting – that is, on those rare occasions when those experiences were not atrocious nightmares that still haunt me to this day. Some of that very bad stuff was my doing. I own that. But a lot of it was because I ended up working with a lot of very strange, very sick people in a very unhealthy, dark world. Toxic is the term that comes to mind. So, after clinging to that dream for many, many years and exploring all sorts of avenues in order to remain involved, I finally began to embrace an adage that I had long clung to regarding matters of the heart: if it hurts to get love, then it’s not love your getting (can anyone name what movie that is from?). Well, theatre certainly hurt – it hurt to be around those people and hurt when the art form I was once so enamored with began to suck so very, very badly. Theatre, these days? Just God awful stuff.

It hurts me to watch theatre. I recently went to a show, not knowing anything about the script, director, actors, company, etc. Within the first five minutes I found myself staring at the floor because what was going on up on the stage was so painful to me. At first I blamed the script, but ultimately the fault belonged to the director. The director failed to notice what type of script he as working with. It was an ethereal mystery with comedic overtones, peppered with liberal socio-economic soap-boxing (in other words – God awful). The director decided to pretend it was a show written by Neil Simon – which sort of worked, except for the ending. When the ending finally came it hit the stage like a dead turd. Once revealed it made everything – the acting, the costumes, the set, the lighting and music seem oh-so very, very bad. Up until then, it was just a below average production of a bad script, but once the ending came it was easy to see that the director had no clue what he was doing. So fuck him. And give me back the two hours that I wasted cringing in the dark, staring at the floor while watching a show he claims to have directed.

About a week later it hit me – I have no intention of ever working with people like the guy who directed that show ever again. Because I have worked with tons of people just like him in the past and I don’t need the pain. So theatre is dead to me now. Period. Dream dead.

This is not a death that happened overnight.

During this lengthy death thrall I found new and destructive ways to torture myself under the guise of ‘doing theatre’. I filled up that hole (no, not THAT hole) with a number of things. I wrote a lot of music, which led to me writing and producing a couple of ill-conceived musicals. I wrote a lot of music thinking I might perform with a band or at a coffee house. I continue to write a lot of music, but now I don’t fool myself – I will never perform any of it anywhere; it will die unheard. In a similar vein (or vain, as the case may be), in the hopes of cultivating another dream, I watch ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ – the British and American versions. I hate ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and can’t watch it due to all the screaming, but ‘Nightmares’, especially the British version, can be quite informative. I began sketching out floor plans for restaurants, creating mock menus and looking around at available restaurant spaces. But you know what? Owning a restaurant on paper is one thing – owning one and operating one in real life? Well, that is a nightmare. One I don’t need. Dream stillborn.

So, I am currently dreamless. Unless you count some of my sex fantasies – but those are not the kinds of things I am talking about here. I’m talking about those lifelong dreams. You know… the ones that suck the life out of you and leave you a bitter hull (not moi!). You know… like the one where you find true love. I will never fall in love again. I have. And – in cases when that love was returned - either I squandered the opportunity or the person I fell in love with turned out to be even more fucked up than I am/was. So that bus raced past my stop and I did not have the correct change. Not a problem. I’m cool with it. I get it. I don’t feel sorry for myself, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s like couples who want children but can’t conceive; I could try to artificially inseminate romantic love into my life or I could adopt. But the kind of role play I like doesn’t lend itself to whispering sweet nothings and the idea of having a houseboy doesn’t thrill me at all nor do I see myself ever being that desperate. I pass.

So… those giant craters I call my life? I’ve been filling them with meaningless sex – for years. And as the dreams died and the size of the craters grew – so did the amount of sex I’ve had in order fill it all up. Because that is the very definition of a successful, happy life; as long as it is all filled up: with food, sex, television, a giant dick, clothing, debt, cars, awards, activities, useless trivia, causes, vocations, goals, desires, God… whatever! Just make sure for fuck’s sake that you fill it all up. Fill it until you can barely breathe.

Right up until the day when you can’t breathe anymore.

Yep. If you can’t breathe – then you KNOW you’re a success. And this success will not go unnoted. It will say so, right there on your tombstone.

What bullshit.

I would like to opt out, but suicide is cowardly, stupid and a bullshit solution (in my opinion). I mean if I am going to destroy myself and self-destruct, I want an audience and some airtime. And besides, the reality is: people depend on me. My dogs depend on me. So I don’t plan on going anywhere. Which is to say – I don’t dream of being anyplace except where I am. Oh, I may fantasize on occasion, say, that I’m at a bathhouse in Chicago, naked with my lubed ass in the air and a line of twenty attractive guys with eight inch plus dicks waiting to use my hole (though I would settle for a line of three unattractive guys with five inch dicks – just as long as I get to wear a blindfold). But fantasies are healthy and so is sex with strangers, as long as it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the rest of your life. And other than the occasional STD scare, it really hasn’t impacted my life in a negative way. I think having fun is a good thing.

I don’t have any really close friends, but I’m okay with that. Like the love bus, the friend ship sailed past me as well. Bon Voyage. Personally, I just don’t have the stomach for it anymore. When I think of the many times I have been betrayed by those I counted as friends it just makes me not want to bother with people anymore. That is one of the reasons why I’m in such a good place with the idea of having acquaintances. If someone is only an acquaintance it limits the amount of pain they can inflict. And perfect strangers are even better than acquaintances – knowing someone’s name is highly overrated.

I’m all through with inviting pain into my life.

That is why I will never do another show. That is why I will never fall in love again. That is why I will never have a best friend again. That is why I will leave this world without anyone knowing who I really am (least of all me).

And before you ring the doorbell calling me out of my little pity party here, let me make one thing clear: I know very well that all those things didn’t happen and won’t be happening for one very good reason – I just wasn’t very good at any of it. Maybe I had potential once, but after a point unfulfilled potential has got to be chalked up as a case of never had it, never will or you’re just not living in the real world.

Also: I am glad those dreams died. You know why? Because dreams are hard work and I am a very, very lazy person.

Does this mean that I am an inauthentic human being? Does this mean I am just a shallow, cardboard replica of my former self? Does this mean I am just like everybody else? Does this mean I am unhappy? Well… yes and no. But in the end, who cares? Besides me. You could say God cares. But I doubt it. I mean, I don’t think he’s speaking to me since the last time I gave him the finger and read his beads. God and I? I think we have what’s called a détente; kind of a live and I’ll let you live sort of arrangement.

By the way, God – I am grateful to be alive.

As we all should be

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