I woke up to the yellow shade of a sunrise in the early, misty haze resulting from dropped temperatures. For many years, I had forgotten the magical light that encloses the North during these dark and cold times. As I regain consciousness the veil of forgetfulness falls over my mind and I make an effort to remember details that otherwise would be forever lost. Like I remember the light, I remember my dream: in a garden of rocks and tall trees, I am once more reunited with the abstract silhouette of Batman. Again I ask myself what he is doing there. A fragment of not my imagination but of something much deeper. Perhaps a need for connection, perhaps a need for intimacy, perhaps a need for a destination. Despite the serendipitous confusion, it’s a happy dream, a warm dream, sensual rather than erotic. Lingering still is the feeling of fingers interlocked and his strength under my weight, of something similar to surrender.
It is an exceptionally vulnerable moment, that first moment of consciousness in which your soul slowly loses command over your mind. The body is easy to conquer into submission, the mind can be beaten into acceptance of reality, but the soul is near impossible to tame. When allowed, when sleeping, the soul creates a world on undefined desires, of lost pieces and memories that never were and positions you in it with picture-perfect precision in its blurred ambience. It’s as cruel as it’s alluring. Like the Devil appears as an angel of light, our dreams drag us into suffocating bliss or exquisite nightmares. Into the fantastical ideal of our own subconscious creation.
In the Western world, in my world, we have been fed the idea that we should follow our hearts wherever they lead us. That to follow our dreams is the highest ideal of what it means to be successful. Where the notion of self-realisation stands as a foundational stone in the way we are to pursue life. Perhaps it is the echo of the “American Dream” resonating through the dominant form of cultural expression that formed this self-fulfilling obligation. Or perhaps it is the luxury of not having to fight for survival that instead allows us to dream big. Perhaps too big. Too wide. Too undefined. Taught that we can do anything, we feel obligated to do something. Yet we fear that we end up doing the wrong thing, so we simply keep on dreaming.
I am conflicted in my comfort of the safe haven of dreaming. In the comfort of allowing fantasies to give meaning to a rational reality, for abstract desires and dreams to provide direction and hope for where we should head next. Because dreams and fantasies are not constructive things in themselves. They bring expectations that rarely lead to anything but disappointment in reality and delusions in mentality. And just like Christmas presents are more exciting before tearing through the wrapping paper, perhaps it is also so with dreams. Perhaps dreams are best in their isolation in the transparent realm of the soul. Best in that unreachable, detailless concept that is just a barely recognisable shape neatly wrapped in a snowflakes-and-reindeers embellished sheet of paper. But then again, if we make no attempts to unpack our dreams, if we have nothing to dream about, then how are we to make sense of what it means to have a future? Is it possible to move through life, through time and space alike, without having any notion of where to go?
Tucked in the confusion that is searching for meaning, I have always asked myself how can I move towards that abstract, gift-wrapped version of myself I sometimes see in the dreams I have at night and those that my soul conjures while awake. That self, that place of existence, is as abstract as Batman’s false silhouette in my dream. Disembodied from body and mind, my dreams exist only in the beating of my heart. It’s not real. It’s not who I am, not where I am, but perhaps, in some way, it is how I feel. Desperate to try, as we appear to know nothing else, how can we follow a silhouette? How can we catch the sound of a heartbeat? How can we pursue the fleeting dream that fades into oblivion as soon as we awake?
Maybe the closest thing to fulfilling our dreams we can achieve is simply to wake up.