The Dark Side Of Being A Dreamer
I used to know exactly who I was. I moved confidently in the direction of my dreams. When the world burned around me, I stayed frozen and focused. Untouched by the flames. Nothing could change the person I would become. My destiny was made of stone. Big dreams and a fast pace kept me hovering above my emotions. White wine and party drugs took me even higher. I didn’t stop to question anything - it felt too good. The rush became the only thing I cared about. Now, 9 months into recovery, I can’t shake the sadness. I’m standing on the shores of depression, staring out on a deep, calm lake like a zombie. My boyfriend asks me what’s wrong.
“Nothing,” I mumble.
The truth is I’m wondering what it would be like to sink into that black water and never come up.
Maybe my dreams have been my prison. For years I was running on adrenaline. Going tirelessly in circles, looking for whatever was around the next corner. The world whizzed by as I spiraled away from stability and into the valley I find myself in now. Perched on a pile of bones, in a graveyard for all the dreamers who came before me.
The way my voice echoes in the underground and the sunlight that creeps across the valley walls reminds me that even surrounded by sickness and death I can’t help but be alive. And being alive hurts. Because even stripped down to the bareness of sobriety I’m left alone with my thoughts and the never-ending call to leave my mark and change the world. That is the burden of being a dreamer. That even in our darkest days we can’t help ourselves. We need to let the light out.
I peel back the layers because I want to know myself completely. Letting go of the person I was and the person I thought I would be is a painful process. Life doesn’t stop and it doesn’t slow down. Even as I free fall, I’m forced to find my footing, get to work and make sure the bills are paid. I go through the motions of everyday life amidst an existential crisis.
Just like my progress at the gym, I have to work within my pain threshold and try not to focus on the microscopic rate at which my body changes. It’s slow and feels like nothing is happening. My obsessive mind wants to be more extreme and flirts with the idea of eating as little as possible and working out until I pass out. Its times like this I don’t question if I’m an addict.
My thirst for the new and exciting is always knotted with self-destruction. Like building new muscle, I’m laying the groundwork to stand on. It’s something I’ve never done before. I’ve always lived completely in my head which is why it was so easy for things to fall apart. Maybe with some structure, the person I am becoming will surpass my wildest imagination.
But maybe not.
Last night, I had a dream I was back in the cities I used to live in. Wandering through my old stomping grounds, mourning who I used to be. The sounds of Evan in the kitchen upstairs pull me into a brand new day. Anxiety presses its heavy hands on my chest, I open my eyes and look out the window to a wall of cement.
I start my day by telling myself that I’m safe, I am loved that no one is trying to hurt me. But still, I feel haunted- by past, by my dreams, by the things I’ll never be.
This morning when I was meditating I could feel the sadness swirling through my body. Tears sat behind my eyes and old memories faded in and out. I focused on my breath and identified the emotion.
“That’s sadness,” I thought. “That’s not me”.
I had a brief moment of clarity. Our emotions are temporary impostors. They take over our body, claiming it as their own and we respond accordingly. But that doesn’t really make sense. Not according to all the books I’ve read and all the experiences I’ve had with the divine.
I am not my past. I am not my dreams. I am not my pain.
This body, this life and all the things I will ever do, don’t mean anything. The sorrow I feel doesn’t compare to the limitless potential of my spirit. By being nothing I dissolve into all things. To disappear is to become whole. There is no greater view than that of the sky looking down to the ocean and seeing itself in the surface. There is no separation between the blue. The sea and the sky are me and you. I don’t want to be the star, burning for eternity alone in the blackness. I want to be the horizon, somewhere in the distance, expansive and undefined.