Bottled Up Dreams

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

“Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.”
- Eric Weiner, The Geography of Bliss.

Today, I’m releasing a dream. Similar to launching a message in a bottle out to sea, I’m not sure if it will ever be found. I’ve been surrounded by people with dreams my whole life and have yet to see any of them found, but I’ve learned that so much good comes from a simple thing called ‘hope.’ There is something cathartic about allowing your dreams to exist outside of your own mind. These dreams that I’m sharing are often what I sip on over a cup of hot tea during nap times. They are what I mull over in the quiet rides, accompanied by my reflection in the passenger window. They are usually my last thoughts of the day before I surrender to sleep, but sometimes they even creep into that dream space as well. I’ve often tried to shake them, to ‘live in the right now’ and ‘grow where I’m planted,’ but they are my constant companions. If I lose sight of them, I feel as if I’ve lost an old friend. It’s a strange feeling, wrestling with yourself.

I’ve always wished that my dreams were more simple, that I could be content with what most people desire (a good job, nice house, and happy family), but I’m living that life and find myself thinking, “Is this all there is to life? Am I really supposed to be satisfied with this?” I feel guilty because I know some strive a lifetime to have these things. Some women’s single dream is to stay at home with their child. I’m not oblivious or unappreciative. I’m inexplicably grateful for our home, my husband’s job, and the love that exists between the three of us, but my dreams are more complex than day to day living.
I want to support my family by. . . creating. I want to write. I want to draw. I want to paint. I want to capture life with the lens of my camera. I want to express all of these soul battles I have sitting in my mind like fog. My freshman year of college, I turned in my portfolio at the end of a drawing class and the professor said, “What the hell are you doing in Birmingham?” I looked straight at him and said, “I really don’t know.” This is how I’ve felt about every place I’ve lived. Why am I here if my soul tells me this is not where I’m meant to be? Growth is essential to an artist. It’s essential to continuing to create. I want to be somewhere that encourages this growth. Flannery O’Connor talks a lot about ‘finding pleasure through gritted teeth,’ and those words speak to me. I’m looking for a place where pleasure comes freely, where I don’t have to pursue pleasure - it’s all around. I’ve always thought this place for me might be New York City, but I often question whether it exists. Is there such thing as a soul space or is it in every human to find one place monotonous, to pick out it’s flaws until there’s no pleasure left and move on or learn to deal with it? Either way, I hold onto the hope that there is a place for us, a place full of inspiration, beauty, culture. . . and good grocery stores, a place I can find inspiration all around me when I step out my front door, but peace in my home.

I want to plan adventures with my family, but I want to do them more. I want to wake up one morning, decide that we're tired of home, and be able to pack up and just go and keep going until we feel like coming back. I want to buy an airstream and pull it across the United States, teaching our children about history and geography and nature along the way. I want to draw, and paint, and photograph what I see and the people I meet. I want to intimately know my children, and have them consider me a friend. I want to regularly stick my feet in the ocean and know what it feels like to push myself to the top of a mountain. I want to immerse myself in other cultures and learn all I can. I want my children to know the joy of reading and creating without constraints. I want them to savor their memories of a childhood filled with box forts and broom horses and bedtime stories, their parents holding hands and writing love notes, and the feeling of the hardwood floors under their feet as we danced to old records way past their bed time. I want full months of just us, experiencing life together without worrying about bills or to-do lists. I'm not looking for any epic adventures to write books about. I'm not planning on trekking into the wilderness for months or becoming gypsies, I just want to live simply and passionately, making the most of our time together.

I know most people are rolling their eyes, and shaking their heads, thinking of how unrealistic and ridiculous this all sounds and that’s okay. I look at the bills we have and how hectic our life is and wonder if it’s possible too, but I’ve been a dreamer all my life and I’ll continue on regardless. So this is me, casting my virtual message in a bottle out into a sea of hope. Here's to another year of holding our dreams tight and working hard.

How desperately I want to explore every line of latitude and each lonely line of longitude. How desperately I want your hand resting in mine and your lips glued to my skin at the intersection of them all. What will be the coordinates of our longest kiss? Our deepest? What ocean will bear witness to our sighs?
- Tyler Knott Gregson

Image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4.


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