Sometimes I can see myself here, but my eyes soon close tight as images of
trouble and darkness fill my mind. A dream is a place where I can safely step
out of my comfort zone, into a place of possibility, and where reality is only
a pale shadow of a fantasy and a nightmare. For me, dreams are a way to be in
two places at the same time. I can dream about a good book and my favourite
movie, I can dream about getting out of this building and walking to town –
dreaming about my escape into freedom.
If you are the kind of person who looks at reality on a daily basis, then
you probably have found that your dreams are few and far between. I certainly
have. When I first started writing, I used to dream about books. I
was a bit of a night owl, and by my mid-twenties, I was a writer. I was
dreaming about stories I had always wanted to write but had never had the
time. I dreamed about characters I would love to write about, and stories I
had only imagined. I dreamt of worlds beyond my own.
I remember being on my computer one night, and sitting up to write a dream
that would haunt me the next day. I knew I wanted to write about my own
life, and I knew that when I went to sleep and woke up on a Saturday, I would
continue to dream about my current situation – the world of work, my daily
life, and the people I was surrounded by. This is the way I have always
lived my life, as most people do. The night shift was where the writing
happened. One night my boss called in sick and took my Saturday off to
spend time with his family. I spent the next day worrying about what would
happen in this world, about what he would do next. Why was I writing about
him? What did I want to do with my life?
In my dreams, I was the girl with no job, no boyfriend, and no place to
live. I was the only family member in this world. I was living in a tiny
apartment somewhere in Manhattan, staring at the back of my couch, feeling
desperate to find a way out of this world. I wanted to escape the reality that
I was a single mom with two children, that I felt alone and abandoned and
unloved. I wanted to escape the world I was in.
I couldn’t get out of the door. I couldn’t escape the reality of my small
life, the reality of my small dreams. I started to dream about things that
were different. I started to see how the things I loved most about me could be
the things that kept me from making my escape. I began to feel sad, because I
had no one to share my dreams with.
Eventually I started to look at my life through the eyes of my dreams.
Instead of wishing that my life was different, I began to dream about my
life, and about who I was inside. I began to dream about what it would be like
to be happy again, and to have a family and friends to share each day, that
would make this whole world feel like mine. I began to dream about what it
would be like to have a home of my own, to know who I was as a person, to be
able to take care of myself. I began to dream that my life wouldn’t be
defined by work and my family, but by friends and people who weren’t afraid
to open up to me and tell me about their dreams. I began to dream that I
wouldn’t feel alone in my dream, and that I would be surrounded by people
who loved me.
I started to dream of people who could love me in the ways that I needed
to be loved, who would love me in the ways that I wanted to be loved. I
began to dream that my dreams needed to be different than my reality, that
it was okay to break the rules – not in order to get somewhere new, but to
get closer to where I wanted to go.
There are days when my dreams feel like the kind of dreams that
pilgrims dream about – dreamt-about dreams. When I wake up, I’m
not sure if I have taken the steps to pursue my dreams. Sometimes I feel as
though I have, sometimes I wake up knowing there’s no reason to write them.
Sometimes I’m excited that my dreams have been realized. Sometimes I know I
shouldn’t have dreamed them at all, but sometimes they feel more real than the
reality I live in. Sometimes it’s the only thing I wish I had done with my
It’s hard to tell a child to run down the street when I dream of what that
person would do if they were awake.
Sometimes I dream that the characters in my stories are real, and that I
don’t have to get up and run as they do. Sometimes it’s as though I could do
it, and that it would be so much easier.
Sometimes I dream that we would be perfect, and that we wouldn’t be afraid
to fail. Sometimes it’s as though I am awake, and that I am dreaming.
Sometimes it’s in the middle of the night, and I am dreaming that I’m safe,
and that I am happy in a world full of magic. Sometimes it’s in the middle of
the night as I try to get out of bed and back to the real world, and I don’t
wake up because I am in a dream.
In my dreams, I have never felt more safe or content than when I look at my
kids. They are always there, at the end of a long driveway, with a blanket
hanging from a rafter or a tree.
I have never had more fun with my children than when I’m dreaming about