Monday, September 10, 2012

I Dreamed of This

I am puttering. Putting things to rights after a weekend of ignoring most of everything except the people who live here. I am surrounded by piles of paper demanding attention, piles of clothes that must get clean, piles of dishes that need to be scrubbed and then refilled, piles of words that must be rearranged and sorted out and written again. I am tempted to groan. I am tempted to complain. Instead, I am drinking my coffee and thinking about my younger self. The one with larger jeans and smaller frame and longer, darker hair. The one who sat and looked half-starved at families in public places and snorted with derision to hide the aching want. The one who spoke of selling out and giving in and letting oneself go.

This younger me could not let herself go then. She was tightly wound and afraid the broken parts would fall out on the floor. An upturned purse with tampons, gum wrappers, empty pens and cigarette lighters splashed around for all to see or avert their eyes and gingerly step around. This younger me would never have given in to the soft places inside, the ones that lie curled and fetal around another sleeping body that is small and dependent and cries out in her sleep. This younger me mocked the selling out because she didn't understand that she had anything of value to trade for her dreams.

Today I give that younger me a hug. I reach back through time and space and tell her not to worry. It will all work out. I tell her that things will be hard and then lovely and then hard again and lovely still. I tell her that is just what it is like to live. I tell her that things will not go as she has planned, but they will be better than she ever dared imagine. I tell her to relax and enjoy the steps ahead.

She bristles and doesn't listen. She's not supposed to. She was supposed to ignore the advice of wiser souls and come smashing, whirling, prickly and hard through her path to get to here. She was supposed to test the very fiber of her body, her faith, her mind, her soul. She was supposed to dash herself against hard places to break open and see the soft light that was hiding inside. She was supposed to do that. She was supposed to etch these canyons and these valleys of scars so they would heal and overflow with the rushing joy that fills them now. She can't have known that the inundation would come and bring verdant life to the desolate places, that her harvest would be so bountiful that she had plenty to share with friends and strangers alike. But she'd secretly hoped.

This younger me looks up from that well of time. She winks and hunches down further around herself. To protect from the cold that seems to permeate the skin tightly wrapped around bones, to protect from the coming days of confusion and making one's way, to protect from herself and from the wishes she dares not make.

She glances at the piles of paper, clothes, dishes, and words.

She whispers quietly with breath of smoke and sadness:
Enjoy it for me then. This is the life you have dreamed of.


  1. Wow, you always amaze me and I am always left just shaking my head when I am finished reading, not knowing how you do it. I am seriously in awe of you.

  2. It's one of those 'be careful what you wish for' things. Those younger versions of ourselves had a vision in mind, but it was a tunnel-vision, not able to see all the extras that come with a dream.
    Yes, I'm living what I'd dreamed, too. There is a lot of stuff I'd never have wished for, but so much more joy than I'd ever expected.

  3. I am so flutteringly happy for you, that you have this dreamed-of life now. How beautiful to acknowledge and love your younger self with such maternal protectiveness and affection... I ADORE that.

  4. Young me was a twit. Not that old me is any better, but oh, what a harvest! Perfectly written, as always, show-off. (;

  5. Oh, yes. We are not supposed to know better. I too often wish I could hold my younger self and tell her everything is going to be all right. But those sorrows carve deep rivers in our soul and that is where all the good things go, right? Thanks for reminding me of this today, Lou. Now I try to think of my future self, comforting this one. The one of here and now.

    And thank you so much for your comment on my blog yesterday. I'm so glad I'm not the only one.

    1. Yes! Imagining my future self looking back on my current self with love ... I think that's what gets me. Big hugs to you, V.

  6. Just offering a laugh of recognition. :) Well done.

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  8. So am I the only one moved to tears by this piece? Perhaps that's a hint about where I am right now. This is incredibly loving, and of course witty and giggle-inducing. So very poignant. Again.

  9. No Margi, the tears were nearly there for me too! I wish I could say I am living the dreams of my younger self but I'm not, those dreams were always half hearted; the things I wished for with all my heart could never happen. I do however wish I could go back and hug younger me and tell her everything will work out, there is a reason for all the things you are forced to go through and that reason will be better than you ever imagined.

    Now I still don't really dream of the future, just trust the path I am on will take me somewhere great in the end, but it would be nice for older me to pop in and give me a hint ;-)

    Well written and thought provoking as always!

  10. Sometimes when I am digging around in the spiral notebooks from my younger years, I am knocked upside the head by wondering what that self would make of the life I have now. Mostly I think (like Sleepy Joe), she really didn't have an full-fledged, fleshed-out dreams of the future--just a lot of fears and uncertainty.

    Loved seeing your take on the you of then and the you of now.


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