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When I was younger, I’d always dreamed of becoming an astronaut one day.
It made no sense, of course. But that’s why they called it a dream. It distorts our reality, disfigures our truth.
Reality was a fluid thing, those days. Malleable, willing to be shaped into whatever we wanted, whatever we asked for. We held our world there, in the cup of our hands. Our fat little fingers, delicate skin, we had power in them.
That was a long time ago.
All of it was a lie.
We never knew loss then, we had nothing to lose.
We never knew doubt and suspicion and wariness and an ever-present fear of change.
We never knew that hope- in the world, but also in ourselves-would leave us some day.
But most of all, we never knew what it would be like to stop dreaming.
They kept us in our gilded cages and told us we could fly.
It was only when we broke out that we realized we could fall too.
. . .
Time flies by, dragging us along with it. Our dreams become fragile things. They sneer, mock, shame. They speak in strange pragmatic voices, or in firm all-knowing reprimands.
They tell us it’ll never work, they tell us we’ll never work.
That’s the worst part.
They die too easily, and they die too fast.
In that single second of hesitation, just a flash of realism- we’ll never make it– there: you’ve killed it. There, it’s gone.
And our dreams, they’re immature, vengeful things. When they die, they don’t go down quietly. They suck out all the hope from you, all the joy, everything that once made you human, everything that kept you living.
Not just alive- living. There’s a difference in that. Passive and active.
Only a dream can keep you living.
. . .
My dreams don’t come as easily these days.
They’re less outrageous, less hopeful. I dream bitter, I dream resentment.
I dream of the past.
There are worse things than death, I find. There is the empty-eyed, empty-hearted sort of life that isn’t life at all.
Days when you can no longer dream of the future, only look back, with a wistful sort of a hope.
A spectator to yourself, watching on, but never looking. Hearing, but never listening.
Passive. Stagnant. Nothing.
You can breathe and eat and sleep and your dream will still die inside you and that will kill you.
A death that leeches off you from the inside, until your body has rotted as much as your heart.
I fear this day, and I run from it.
I run because I remember the days Before, so close to losing myself, so close to disappearing.
I remember time blurring out into something inconsequential. Today folding into tomorrow, dissolving into yesterday.
I remember waking up, feeling that inevitable spark of hope, and then watching it die as I realized there was nothing to look forward to.
I remember being dead inside.
I remember this happening all of a sudden, over decades, with no trigger. Nothing made sense. It never did.
Today, you may have a purpose, a will to keep going, and it might vanish into thin air tomorrow, no warnings, no explanations.
I fear the day where I will not want to keep dreaming.
I fear the moment where I will stop and decide that it isn’t worth it.
I fear the empty-hearted, empty-eyed life that I could live, if only I closed my eyes and slept.
. . .
. . .