am i bad at dreaming?

i need to name that i lost the original version of this post, which has left me feeling quite ticked off. and so instead of trying to recreate it, i’ll instead try to build upon my reflections and hope that takes me somewhere valuable as well…

in that original post, the one forever lost to the ether, i reflected on the whys — why dreaming of a future i want for myself is so inaccessible to me, the factors that have made me resistant and now inept at what seems like such a natural act.

these whys include: fear of disappointment, fear of looking like a fool, my parents’ influence, and the often brutal nature of living in the “real world.”

the idea of trying to envision a life for myself that feels rewarding and fulfilling feels like a trap, like setting myself up for failure. and yet, as i try to work out where to take my life, what to do next, i realize it’s incredibly helpful information to have. i’m coming to understand that having a vision for a good life is valuable self-knowledge.

and yet, as i sat on my bed yesterday, doing a “rocking chair life visioning” exercise, i struggled to put into words the life i’d like to reflect upon with satisfaction and meaning. i couldn’t pinpoint the details of this life, or even the feeling of it.

where would i live? what would have been my career, my hobbies? what’s the romantic makeup of my life? am i an active old person? am i living out my days on a wide swath of land? what does community look like? what are the causes i want to have dedicated my life to?

there were a few simple truths that emerged amongst the mostly blurry picture — i’d like to publish multiple books of essays. and i’d like to be a part of a community, for this to be a focal point of my life. but even that is unclear. i know activism is something i’d like to make a central point of my life. and if i can really dream, ignoring the realities of climate change, i’d like to live near the ocean.

it scares me, this inability to engage with my aspirations clearly and intimately, to not know myself well enough to even name them. i guess i could give myself some credit in naming a few, but it doesn’t feel like enough.

i’m in a period of life in which i feel acutely unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and unhappy. which, if i had the sense i was working towards something, that this was merely a sacrifice i was making in the name of something bigger, i think this hard period would be easier to hold. but it feels without purpose, without direction.

and so as i try to brainstorm where to turn next, the self-knowledge of my desires and longings feels especially relevant. and yet even just pinpointing them is a struggle, yet another indication that i am an incompetent loser [a part of me adds unkindly].

how do you work towards something if you don’t know what it is? do you take the small knowledge you do have and work from there?

if i desire to be a published writer, there’s a path for that. but i guess that impulse doesn’t feel robust enough. being a published writer and making it my career are two different things. and if i don’t want it to be my career, the thing that financially supports me, what could i envision for that facet of my life?

it’s all overwhelming and often discouraging. it’s one thing to dream and fear never getting there. it’s another to not even know what i want. that feels tragic and scary, threatening and disheartening.

i’ll let y’all know where i end up.

❤ ❤ ❤

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