Since I stopped being a child, I’ve always taken care to keep my dreams and the real world separate.
Even if I would dip my toes back in the other worlds on bus journeys or open a window into daydream in the middle of class, both these worlds were left relatively estranged, sealed off from the other.
By day I slipped into reality and meandered down its labyrinthine alleyways. By night I flew into dreams, and strange visions awakened in me, tickling parts of my psyche I did not even know were alive. It felt strangely like I was sectioning myself, partitioning two opposing sides. Without need for any foul concoctions, I had somehow landed myself into a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde kind of conundrum.
And yet, one without the other was incomplete : the real world without dreams felt hollow ; dreams that were not grounded in reality lost their meaning, fading like smoke in a gust of wind.
Still, it had to be done. My dreams were far too great to ever achieve. I didn’t, couldn’t possibly have what it takes — everyone else said so. Or rather, they didn’t have to. Their deep-held beliefs spoke for themselves. You see, my dreams bled into life every time I held a pen and while that meant I was good at languages and writing, it was not a very special skill to have. Everyone can write. Millions of people master two languages. At any point in time, your skill and therefore you, are replaceable. There are countless other people who are better at it than you anyway, who’ve been doing it for longer. How likely would it be that of all the writers in the world, I would be the one to make something out of my writing ? Not very, apparently. So if you have a replaceable skill like that, don’t turn it into a dream. Don’t take it seriously. Try something else, and do some writing on the side, if you want.
That’s what it started out as : “Writing is not a real skill. Languages are easy. Only the very few people who are really good at it ever succeed.”
For my own good, I should not dream big. I should settle for some average occupation or the other, safe in the knowledge that I would never have made it had I followed the inconsistent path of dreams. I would have lost momentum halfway through and would have fallen flat on my face. And yet, in spite of all that being drilled into me, in spite of me telling myself these things, dreams kept spilling onto the well-constructed reality others had built for me.
Disbelief met with determination, and after many years, my dreams infiltrated reality, and I am now a little of what I thought I would never be : a writer.
It didn’t turn out exactly how I pictured it, but it is what it is and it is more than what I ever thought I would get.
The greatest point of tension is that now the two worlds do not mix well. They are each wary of the other, unused to being anything but two separate entities. Now that my dreams are grounded in a kind of reality, I don’t know what to do next. I cannot tell apart the dreams I have just for the sake of having them from the ones I actually want to bring into the real world.
I mean, is writing even my thing anymore? I just happened to be good at it and did it. Could it be I’ve yet to find my “thing”? I don’t know.
I cannot keep being content, stagnating in the kind of joy I am experiencing now.
Because I am being gifted a luxury very few people have the privilege to experience : I have a little bit of everything, and the winds are in my favour. I have some time, some money, perspective, freedom, support… I am being given everything I need to achieve my dreams.
The question is, do I even have one?
I’m not sure what I want. All this time I’ve told myself dreams were impossible and now it turns out they aren’t all that unusual here in the real world.
It’s that feeling, you know, when you just want to make something out of yourself. It would be such a waste not to.