Never give up on your dreams

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." ~ Thoreau.

That's what I've been trying to do these past 6 months. Well, perhaps I've been going "tentatively in the direction of my dreams", but moving forward nonetheless. I knew in September I wouldn't be able to return to my job at the Coop. My body was saying no and it took me some time to listen and finally accept. It took me some time to let it go. Not that I wanted to stock grocery shelves for the rest of my life, even organic ones. It's just that it felt safe and secure in my little cocoon called the Coop. But as is the way of the Universe, sometimes the hard decisions are made for us.

"Desjardins Insurance regrets to inform you that your claim for Long Term Disability has been denied."

"The Kootenay Coop would like to extend an offer for you to return to your position in the warehouse on a gradual return to work program."

"Belle is unable to return to her warehouse position at the Kootenay Coop for medical reasons."

"Please accept this letter as my resignation from the Grocery Clerk position I held at the Kootenay Coop."

And so, six years of my life was summed up in four opening paragraphs.

On February 12th it will be 9 months since I stocked a shelf or cashed a paycheck. And I couldn't be happier. Because I've discovered my dream. I've discovered my passion. A passion that drives me with such energy and enthusiasm I am in awe of myself. I have never wanted anything so much in my life. I want to go to photography school. I want to be immersed in creativity. I want to explore my own potential.

I took my cues from my friend Reiko who left the Coop and moved to the big city for the first time so she could follow her dream. I sent that school application away and I held my breath. What do you think scared me more? Rejection, or acceptance? Definitely acceptance. Even though I put a stamp on that envelop I didn't actually believe that I would be accepted. I didn't actually believe that I could go to school at such a refined age. I didn't actually believe in myself. I almost peed my pants when I read the first paragraph. "We are pleased to inform you that The Vancouver Institute of Media Arts has accepted your application for our full-time Digital Photography Program."

For the past month I have been working harder than I have ever worked for anything! Hours and hours of research, interviews, paperwork, internet surfing, networking and beaucratic bullshit. There have been many challenges. It's not true what 'they' say. That if it's the right path all obstacles will be removed. Yes, the obstacles move. But you have to push a little. You have to envision what is on the other side of that enormous dense mass of fear and doubt. I can honestly say for the first time in my life that I am proud of myself. Proud that I haven't given up. Proud that I've worked past all the fears and insecurities and allowed myself to want something for me.

Last week I found out I was approved for a Canada student loan. On Tuesday I handed in the 5lbs. of paperwork needed for my Skills Funding application. On Thusday I used my RSP money and I mailed off the first part of my tuition for school. And today someone agreed to co-sign a student line of credit for me which I will hopefully be approved for. And now, I have one more obstacle. On February 5th I have 'The Interrogation' as I like to call it, with the EI Skills Funding people. I picture myself sitting on a solitary chair in a dark empty room. Trying to shield my eyes from the glare of the large piercing light that is shining directly in my eyes. Trying to see the figures moving in the shadows as they interrogate me. "Why do YOU think we should give YOU money for school?" (pardon my melodramatic Pisces with Leo rising imagination).

The future is uncertain, as it most certainly always is. I try not to revel in it because I know I am going to be devastated if I don't get the funding to go to school. I am trying to live day by day. Only focusing on each square of the calendar and not projecting into a future that is so uncertain. I am breathing, I am laughing, I am playing and I am allowing myself to dream.