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Courage Looks You Straight in the Eye

I Dreamed a Thousand Dreams
and none of them came true

Dreamed a thousand dreams (1)

I dreamed a thousand dreams...and none of them came true.

I slept a thousand nights, and woke a million mornings...to nothing.

It feels that way sometimes. That my dreams and my hopes and my desires are such tiny slivers of nothing in the Universe, that they slip away into some far off galaxy, as soon as my eyes open in the morning. 

I rarely remember dreams, anymore. If I do, it's usually a strange story full of family members and dogs. Or cats. All of them involved in crazy events I don't recognize. The dreams may be trying to tell me something, but I don't know what.

In the story of our lives, where do we put our dreams? The ones we have when we're awake?

I dreamt, once upon a time, of being a famous novelist. I was a child hunkered over the dining room table, drawing pictures for a story I was writing, clutching my pencil for dear life, telling the world how much I wanted a dog. The novelist was emerging, but she did not come to full light until 7th grade when I wrote my first novel; 300 pages of a ghostly love story.

What did I know about love, at the age of 12? I knew little, except that it was a beautiful thing to be cherished. Believing a young woman could fall in love with a ghost (that was the story) seemed believable. More believable than having her fall in love with a real man. 

Life did not allow me my dream of becoming a novelist. Oh, it might have. The desire was always there - I was a prodigious writer, I wrote every day - but my path forked at high school and I followed a safer road. I learned a trade and got a job and allowed voices that did not know how desperate my dreams were to convince me I would never be a novelist. I was a good writer, but that would never support me or pay the bills.

My thousand dreams pressed on me like a sweltering summer day, as humid as a rain forest, as I traveled down the path of 'not being a writer'. 

I woke mornings and went through my routine. I played the game. I put in the time. I allowed myself to be molded by people who said they were my friends, and lovers, and yet, they only thought of what I could do for them. I wanted more. But, I didn't know ... more what?

“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” 
― Clarissa Pinkola EstésWomen Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

If only I'd read Clarissa Pinkola Estes then. A million years ago. If only I'd begun to understand that I had to give my blood, sweat, and tears to my life, to my dreams, to make them come true. If only I had understood the rules, I could have followed them. I could have broken a few. I could made some of my dreams come true.

Is it allowed now?

I wake and celebrate the day

Might I put my blood, sweat, and tears into dreams I had so long ago - dreams that are but faded shadows, lying like forgotten toys in the cold mud of a recent rain, dreams of things I wanted and knew I couldn't have - and make them come true?

I ponder these questions every day. 

No longer do I wake and go through a mindless routine. I wake and celebrate the day - the sun is almost always coming up, over the mountains. I have to smile and sip my coffee and wrap my life around my shoulders, like a warm shawl - much needed these cold spring dawns. The shawl is my crutch. It sits around my body full of all the dreams I lost, all the dreams I have forgotten, all the dreams I still feel on the edges of consciousness. 

And, in my warmth, I begin a new dream. A wakeful dream. A dream of love and acceptance. A dream of accomplishment and desire. A dream of happiness. 

The wildness of my youth pulses like a far off star in the night sky, here in my soul. It beckons. Be purple, it says. Come open this door...

“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” 
― Clarissa Pinkola EstésWomen Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

 I am opening the door. I am stepping through it. I don't care how much blood, sweat, and tears there are on the other side. They'll be my blood, and my sweat, and my tears, and I will bleed and sweat and cry as much as I need to. Because the woman I am now, who still remembers the child of yesteryear, knows there is joy and laughter there also.

I dreamed a thousand dreams...and none of them came true.

So, I will dream a thousand more.

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