Whether the frumpy, middle-aged Susan Boyle who stepped onto the “Britain’s Got Talent” stage is a “plant” or “for real” is hotly debated on the internet. It’s immaterial. Will she win the Idol competition? It doesn’t matter.
She’s already changed her life …. and thrown down the gauntlet of possibility for us to change ours.
This story is about defying expectations – not those of other people but expectations we conclude about ourselves and the lives we are living. The reasons we are not always open to possibilities to enrich our lives (taking time out of our careers for a sabbatical, for example) are not only rote but, by Boyle’s standards, probably wretchedly sad:
My boss wouldn’t let me.
I have two kids.
I don’t have the money.
I’m old and average.
I would really love a sabbatical experience, but I just can’t. (CAN’T, CAN’T, CAN’T)
On this morning’s Today Show Matt Lauer quizzes Boyle. “How did you find the confidence to do what you did?” Boyle admits she doesn’t have much confidence. After viewing her performance on video she concludes, “I looked like a bit of a garage.”
What DOES the no-confidence Boyle have? ”I do have the ability to keep going.”
In addition to the ability to dust off a dream and give it a welly (a good try, all you’ve got), Boyle’s performance stirs our pathetic souls. What might we do if we tried? Where is that old box of dreams we once had for ourselves?
When Boye tells Simon Colwell she dreams of becoming a professional singer, I doubt it’s a consistently held dream for all of her 47 years. Since her mother’s death several years ago, she hasn’t felt like singing much – and hasn’t.
This was a long-ago dream that gets a jump-start when regional auditions of Idol come near her small village. She honors a behest of her late mother, who urged her to “take the risk” of singing in front of an audience larger than her parish church.
When 20 million people tune into her performance, the camera spans a dismissive audience, the smirking judges’ table, and an unemployed woman whose tub-like body bulges in a bargain-basement beige dress. And oh those bushy eyebrows! This is not Carol Burnett trying to make us laugh. The audience snickers because the whole idea of something good coming out of this is preposterous.
How dare she have dreams of greatness!
The reason grown men (and women) are bursting into tears is because we are moved to consider our own dreams of greatness and in most cases rightfully conclude that our lives are much less that we would have imagined. Have you been living under a rock when you can sing like Susan Boyle? Are you waiting for the Prince of Possibilities to tap you on the shoulder and give you a raffle ticket for a chance to enrich your life?
We all have the ability, like Boyle, to “keep going.” We also can seek possibilities, modify our current state of reality and add some “wellies” to our lives.
I dare you to dream again. I double dare you. And Ms. Boyle dares you to give it some welly.