Flynn and Rapunzel go on this crazy adventure together to fulfill Rapunzel’s lifelong dream of seeing the floating lanterns on her eighteenth birthday. Along the way, Flynn takes her to the Snuggly Duckling, where they meet a gaggle of threatening ruffians who turn out to be soft-hearted teddy bears, each nursing a dream of his own. Naturally, a catchy tune ensues, and Flynn and Rapunzel go on their merry way, finally getting to see the floating lanterns at the point when they’re falling in love with each other, until, finally, in the classic Disney fashion, they sacrifice themselves for one another, leading us to one of Disney’s most romantic lines: “Rapunzel… you were my new dream.”
“I had a dream once…” I thought to myself, right along with the ruffian who wants to be a concert pianist, just as he’s looking dreamily off into the distance. I remember it very well. But it might be more accurate to say, “I dreamed a dream.”
Yes, I dreamed a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living… Ring any bells?
I got my dream last year when I got to play Fantine in our school’s production of Les Misérables. I was finally going to get my dream of playing a lead in the high school musical my senior year. It was going to be my shining moment. But there are dreams that cannot be… for various reasons: continuous illness for months and the never-ending struggle against the directors who were determined to keep me down. As great as the whole experience was, it wasn’t as perfect as I’d always imagined it (for the reasons I just mentioned).
I was forced to find a new dream.
I went off to college months later with the aim of starting over. The plan was to be a music major. Music was what I loved, and no matter how much my directors tried to tell me with their actions that I wasn’t good enough, music was what I was good at, and I had plenty to show for it. And sure enough, the people at my new college appreciated me much more than the people in high school did. I got placed with one of the top voice professors, was selected to participate in an audition-only Introduction to Opera class for first years, and even offered the opportunity to take hour-long voice lessons second semester instead of half-hour ones (an opportunity rarely afforded to first-year students).
In other words, I am succeeding. Not only am I succeeding, but I’m succeeding better than I had ever anticipated. But I am also realizing my new dream. I’m starting over, and I’m succeeding at the one thing I love most: music. And it’s a little bit ironic considering how hard my directors tried to squash me down so I couldn’t succeed, and here I am, doing the exact opposite: thriving.
Towards the end of high school, I wrote an article called “Chasing Tails” describing my “race” with the three boys in my grade, how I always felt like I wasn’t as good as them and had to fight to prove myself and keep up. At the end of that post, I detailed my realization that in many ways, they, in fact, were the ones who were actually chasing me. But that realization didn’t really hit home until I’d gotten through a semester of college and looked back at all the success I’d found during it. I was right: they were chasing me. We were all talented, and each of us had his own strengths, but it was really me. I was the one with the voice.
I did dream a dream in time gone by. And there are dreams that cannot be. But I have a dream. A new dream. That new dream is my voice, and I will follow every rainbow until I find my dream.