First, let me manage your expectations, because this isn’t an MLK-type dream. It’s an actual dream that I had last night. I don’t even know why I am sharing it, except that I just feel compelled to do so. I woke up this morning to an aching leg and a feel of excitement. I guess I should start at the beginning–or at least the first thing I remember–of the dream…

I was standing in a crowded area with a bunch of women in a line in what appeared to be an outdoor arena. At some point I realized that I was there for an audition as a backup singer for Syleena Johnson. Don’t ask me why her, because I am not familiar with most of her music–mainly just her song with Kanye West.

I stood there with women I don’t know and we were eventually narrowed down to four of us, but one would need to be eliminated. I have no idea how I had made the cut thus far, because I hadn’t auditioned up to that point in the dream. Nevertheless, I found myself feeling very nervous and hopeful. There was still a big crowd around us, waiting to see what would happen.

Now, let me tell you this about myself. I cannot imagine myself ever “auditioning” for anything, let alone to be a backup singer. Not because it wouldn’t be a great opportunity for somebody who wanted it, but because I have no desire to do it. But for some reason, in the dream, I really wanted to get this gig.

Next thing I knew, Whitney Houston walks around the corner, and looks at the four of us. She’s there, along with a couple of other people who looked like they knew a bit about music, to judge us and help make the cut. The funny thing is even to this point in the dream, I hadn’t realized it was a dream. This is interesting, because I can usually tell early on that I’m in a dream. Consequently, there I was, standing there next to Whitney Houston–my absolutely favorite vocalist ever–and it wasn’t odd to me that she had died months earlier.

The other three went before me, and they were good, I mean REALLY good singers. Whitney walked over to me, threw down a coloring book in front of me, and said, “Suppose they want you to sing that? What are you gonna do?”

I stood there for a few seconds totally confused. She walked away, telling me that she’d give me a few minutes to prepare. There was was only a picture on the page–I don’t remember what it was. The bottom of the page included a collection of letters that didn’t form any words.

After a few minutes she came back and laughed, telling me she was just kidding about the coloring book. Whitney waved her hand in the air and cued the band to play. The demo singer sang the first few words to “Only You” by The Platters until she cut him off abruptly.

Whitney turned to me and said, “Sing this song like your life depends on it.”

Something else you should know: In real life, I don’t know any of the lyrics to that song beyond the first two lines. It’s only vaguely familiar because I’ve seen it in so many movies and commercials. As with everything in this dream, I have absolutely no idea why THIS is the song I was told to sing.

Before I could finish singing the “you” in “only you,” she cut me off, shook her head, and said, “More! You’re gonna have to give me more!”

I started again, and gave more this time with extra flavor in the run. She stopped me again, and again, and again, each time telling me–pushing me–to “give more.” I was visibly angry, but unwilling to give up. In that moment I hated her for pushing me. By this time, I was belting out these first two words of the song with everything I had.

She let me finish this time, gave a slight smile, looked away, looked back at me and said, “Once more.”

I complied with one last “On-ly youuuuu….”

“You got it,” she said, and winked before walking away. And that’s it…

I woke up this morning feeling excited, but couldn’t ignore the pain in my leg. Apparently, my leg was pressed awkwardly on the edge of the bedside table.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know why I had this dream, or why the details were as they were. Nevertheless, I did come away with a few thoughts.

The dream made me cognizant of how much I hate to be pushed sometimes–even when I know it’s best. I like to move at my own speed, but admittedly I usually feel much better about things once it’s over. I cannot think of a time when I wasn’t happy that I was pushed after the fact.

So, maybe the lesson for me is to resist the urge to resist when it comes to being pushed, knowing that it helps me to become a better version of myself. Growth doesn’t always feel good.