I feel bad.
I left her sitting on the subway without any dreams in her head. I abandoned a drug addict without granting him a resolution. I left some boy in a random hospital bed but I forgot to geographically pinpoint the hospital so I will probably never find him again. And still there is someone else who has no name. I never got around to giving her a name.
It is not that I want to abandon the characters of the stories that come to be when the lead of my pencil meets my notebook paper and they decide to fall in love. But lately I cannot do anything but that. Abandon My Characters. Translation: Abandon My Dreams.
They say it takes a dreamer to be a writer. I say it takes being unafraid of dreaming to get anywhere in life. Anywhere you want to go that is.
When we are young it is almost as if we are expected to be dreamers. Adults coo in a synchronized manner at our hopes of becoming firefighters or the next great prima ballerinas. Inside of us sits this invincible belief that we can do anything we set our minds to. And sure, that notion tends to last for a little while.
But as life becomes less about skinned knees and water balloon fights, things start to get in the way. Tangible and Intangible. Loans & Taxes & Insurance. Tragedy & Stability & Practicality. Reality Breaks Us In. We stop believing in silliness; in sugarplum fairies and the naughty and nice list. In Yellow Brick Roads and Horses of a Different Color.
We do a great disservice to our dreams when we forget the times they allowed us to live in them. We could hide in those dreams, seek comfort in them, look toward them when no interest prevailed to be ordinary in this world. We could retreat to them and we could fill diaries about them. We Grew Them. Fed Them With Our Thoughts and Beliefs. But did we all remember to let them out into the world? To open up our arms and set our dreams free? Did we forget to let them burst at the seams and make this world more brilliant than ever before? Or did we simply belittle them… degrade them… abandon them…
We need to treat our dreams like human beings, that is, if we really want them to mean something. We must first acknowledge those dreams, believe in them until we are convinced we can never stop. We need to baby those dreams like infants, understand their weak beginnings but covet the progress. No Matter the Size. We need to smile at the baby steps.
We must bring our dreams out into the world, not hoard them or hide them away. But most importantly we need to push our dreams out of their comfort zones as we would little children trying to find themselves in this world. We must pass them on and push them and tell them to be more. It is not enough to simply “want” our dreams to come true. We must learn to let them go, to set them free. To turn them into realities beyond the etchings of our journals and the margins of our math homework.
I am convinced that although our dreams start as our own, they are meant for the world. That even though we may love our dreams and depend on them to identify us, they ultimately exist to make the world a better place. And in order for that to happen, we must learn to grow them and let them go.
Our dreams were always meant to belong to the world but have we forgotten that we must raise them first?
People often ask me what I want to do with this lifetime. I tend to lean towards practicality. I deliver a scripted monologue about global affairs and poverty and humanity, microfinance and other key words. I say this stuff because it sounds good and stable. Then people won’t have to worry about me or walk away saying, “that one is a silly little dreamer.”
But in reality, and this is the first time that I am openly admitting it on this blog, I want to write books. Books that Help. Books that Heal. Books that Turn the World Upside Down. Or Right Side Up. Unearth the Pain. Untie the Complexities of Humanity. Or, better yet, Tie Up The Simplicity That Continually Convinces Me That We Are All the Same.
I want to be a writer. A peace maker who uses words as her remedy. A radical who uses stories as her ammo. A writer who tells all the stories; the pretty ones, the not-so pretty ones. The Silent Ones. The Loud Ones. The ones that others convinced themselves were too much for the world to read.
And you may say that I am a dreamer for believing that one day I will do just this, but John Lennon has already convinced that this is ok, for you see, I am not the only one.