The dream was always to live at the ocean. I fantasized about living at the beach and living on an island most of my life. I imagined what it would be like. I envisioned being able to go out to the beach and swim in the water whenever I wanted.
It was always just a dream. A make believe dream that would never become reality. I never believed that it would be possible. Life was surrounded by family, responsibility and doing what was expected of you. It was doing what must be done to survive day to day, to pay the bills and have a roof over your head. The messages I received about life were confusing mixed messages but I knew which messages I was suppose to follow and which were to be considered unrealistic fancy .
My mother believed life was a harsh reality where you struggled to survive. You worked, you married, you had children, and you worked some more to put a roof over everyone’s head and food on the table. Family stayed together and all contributed to its survival. You ignored your own interests and individuality to conform to the group and by group one means the leader, the mother. Simply what she said was law and you conformed. Your loyalty and responsibility was to the family. Never loyalty or responsibility to yourself. You had to sacrifice that because real life demanded it of you.
The messages from my father tried to slip hope of something else, of dreams, passions, individuality, and a larger world out there with different opportunities and experiences to partake of. He opened moments of possibility with trips to the beach, Bermuda, and cruises to the Caribbean. I wanted to believe so much.
It became my belief that these trips, these experiences of opportunities beyond our basic life existed but I was only allowed to experience them on a limited level. Only on a vacation did this life exist. It was temporary and not real life but a short lived fantasy one was allowed to indulge in but only if you worked hard and long for many hours, days and months and years first then you could treat yourself selfishly to a trip-a yearly vacation if you were very lucky.
These brief interludes of dreams didn’t last and eventually you have to go back to the reality of life-real life as my mother called it. Dreams were a waste of time really. Make-believe like when you are a kid. Even as a kid your imagination gets squashed and pushed down. Daydreaming becomes shameful as you get older.
I followed the path of mom’s beliefs the best I could but sometimes I would break free for brief moments. It was then I would hear, “She’s just like her father, a dreamer.” I knew that this was meant as a negative comment not a compliment. At least not in my household.
I became emotionless to life. I felt nothing. Life was empty for me. I was empty except for those brief moments. The times I was off on that vacation. There I would get lost in another world. The ‘real world’ didn’t exist. I lived in that fantasy world blocking out the life I had waiting at home for me. Eventually I fell completely into the path of what was expected of me. I had prolonged it as long as I could but the pull, my mother’s voice and command of authority was stronger than I was.
I did what was expected of me. Worked, married, had kids, struggled to work to survive. I was barely surviving. I was suffocating. I walked through my life like I was watching someone else live a life I wasn’t in but it was my life. My existence wasn’t in it. It was a body, a shell with no person living inside or experiencing this life. I had given up on believing in dreams. My mother had won. I was living the life she wanted and expected of me. The life she kept telling me should make me happy but I wasn’t happy.
Whatever happened around me I walked through blindly. I become more emotionless to reality. Three major events through this part of my life each played a part in my regaining my belief in dreams. It didn’t happen at once but it sure felt like it in the end.
The first event was the birth of my third daughter, Monica. It sent me into the depths of depersonalization and derealization that manifested on the outside as depression.I began to question this life I was living. I began feeling a need to search and see if there really was something more to life. More importantly I wanted to know if someone actually existed inside myself. Why was I so numb? Why didn’t I feel any moments of joy when something wonderful happened?
The second event was the death of my father. I was devastated. I lost the most solid foundation of myself and my dreams I had. I felt like any hope of the reality of dreams was shattered. I fell apart. I felt anger for the first time in my life. The great thing about that is that I experienced a feeling completely and fully for the first time I could remember. If I could feel sadness and pain so deeply then I must exist inside somewhere. Hope that I could discover her arose. And thankfully it didn’t end all my hope that dreams could come true. Hope arose in the midst of grief and anger that I hung onto for a very long time.
The third and final event that sent me full flung into an adventure of discovering the person inside myself and that dreams could come true was when all my daughters flew the coup and began living life following their dreams. I fell into a state of fear of losing the only piece of semblance of the life I was suppose to be living. Dread of continuing to follow that path and do what was being expected of me now sent me into fear of being forced into the world of reality that I hated with a passion because it only made me feel invisible and numb.
It was my youngest, Monica that told me. “Mom, go have your own adventure” It was time. It was well past time. I had done what was expected of me and except for the girls and some other brief moments it had turned into an empty shell of a life where I didn’t exist or experience any of it. I wanted to feel life, experience life, live life but first I would have to find the person who was hidden inside my body who was hiding inside my soul afraid to live.
Where was I to go? What was I to do? How was I going to find myself and live my dreams? What was my dream it had been so long since I let myself dream I had even forgotten what the dream was. I vaguely remembered I loved the ocean but I was afraid and still didn’t believe in my dreams. I followed the winding path into the woods. Lost wandering while examining my past and finding the way into my soul. And when I was almost there I stumbled out of the woods onto an island with the ocean before me. I didn’t plan this. I didn’t strive and plan moving to this island or any island or this beach or any beach. I stumbled onto it just trying to get out of the woods and to the ocean. I was just reaching for the ocean. I couldn’t have planned it. I wasn’t capable of planning anything. I was making choices day to day, minute by minute. But I found myself on an island at the beach with the ocean in front of me.
And living the dream began.
Here I began living completely in the present moment. In those moments I became. Moment by moment, piece by piece I began living through my being. It was in the being that my true self began to emerge little by little. I uncovered a piece of myself as I watched the ocean waves roll onto shore, as the tides came in and went out, as the sun rose and set each day. It was in the living within those present moments that I emerged from the shell.
I was discovering who I was, not who I was suppose to be, not who my mother wanted me to be but who I am from within. I began experience these moments of life. I was experiencing nature and experiencing me and interacting with life going on around me. I was seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching life in all its dimensions.
It is a daily process but I have come far. I am no longer that quiet shy timid little girl. I am no longer that reserve empty shell of a person going through the motions. I feel a connection to the little girl I was becoming before my path was altered and I became someone in reaction to outside circumstances. The little girl hidden away in shame has reemerged. She is not complete yet. I would say she is a teenager still growing into herself.
I have also discover the sage that lives within my soul. There the wisdom of ages resides. It guides me forward to allow my true being to continue to emerge. I am a sage who is growing up experiencing a new life after being shut off and silent for most of the years of this lifetime. Finally living this lifetime continuing to uncover the depths of being, its passions, its loves, its dislikes, its dreams and letting them become real. I believe in dreams again. I am living my dream and creating new dreams to live into.