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I Want To Dream- A Reflection
“I want to dream in a way that no other soul has ever known. I want to dream bigger than any one else in history. I need my visions attained; I need my thoughts set free; I need my imagination to soar higher than the clouds themselves.”
I look at myself in the mirror, and I see an ambitious, naive young dreamer looking back. My hair falls straight on my shoulders. I have not cut it in a while, so it falls long and plain. As I tilt my head, it cascades to one side and simply hangs, waiting for me to either style it or throw it back over my shoulder; it waits patiently for me to mold it into my own creation.
As the strands of my hair dangle from my head, I am reminded of how I awoke this morning, excited for what the day may bring, only to come crashing down to earth as reality assaults me. Whatever fantasies I had dreamed of living out, whatever inspiration had filled my head a moment before, have now vanished in the wake of this bland and predictable world. Yes, I had woken up this morning, only to find that in those seconds between sleep and wake fullness, my dreams had faded into the background of my memories; their color had receded, and the vividness more than apparent in my imagination had dimmed into shady shadows of what had been and what could be. They had hung in my mind for just a few seconds, and then, like the strands of my hair, they had settled into a dull stillness; yet, unlike my dark brown locks, I could not force them to life again.
My dreams would not wait for me to make up my mind, and life steadily moves on.
I want to dream for this world. I want to dream of events so grand and spontaneous that the dreariness affecting so many lives would disappear for just a moment. I want to dream of places where nothing exists except excitement and joy. I want to dream large, and yet, I look in the mirror and feel that I am so small.
My attention reverts to my morning tasks, and I look at my dark locks and sigh at the battle before me; I never quite know what to do with my hair. Usually, I just wear a simple style that will not draw too much attention.
Too soon, my mind returns to the tangles of my own integrity, pushing the snags in my hair aside.
My own eyes stare back at me and say that what I feel, this drive, this commitment, it will only last a little while. They stare back at me, filled with pity; they tell me my dreams will never come to pass. I watch as the doubt spreads across my face, and I remember that I woke up this morning to find my most fundamental instinct snuffed out. The girl in the mirror looks back at me; she says nothing, and she does nothing. She only stands there with remorse clearly settled on her face. Her soft, green eyes tear up, for they have given up the battle. They open to the stiffness and conformity of today’s culture and accept the faults of the world as normal. Her piercing eyes overlook hardship, so that my life may prove easier. After all, with so many things to worry about in my own life, I have no time to worry about the rest of the world, right?
A tear escapes and runs down her cheek, and I find myself asking why she cries. I want to know why she has resigned herself to the hopelessness I so long ago left behind. Why can she not see the potential for improvement; why does she choose to ignore it. I find that now, I also have streaks running down my cheeks as tearful trails point us down the path of disappointment.
However, I do not cry for myself; I cry for the girl in the glass. I cry for her loss, her failure, and the disappointment she has brought upon herself. I cry for the potential she could have utilized but chose to leave unpursued. I cry for the lives she could have changed and the chances she could have taken, had she not closed her eyes to her dreams. I run my hand through my hair and cry for the beauty she could have spread throughout the world. She could have done it; she could have conquered it all, if she had just tried.
After a while, I see her pick up a brush from the small, white nightstand and pull it through her hair. She pulls and tugs at the tangles, and as she brushes them out one by one her tears cease. Satisfied with her appearance, the girl in the mirror takes a hairband and puts her dark brown hair in a ponytail. I watch as she places the brush back on the stand.
Her hand brushes against the wood, and although she does not seem to notice, I feel it brush against my fingertip, hard, sturdy, smooth. Usually, I take no notice of the trivial objects around my room, but the soft way in which my hand brushed against the wood forced me to open my eyes. For the first time, it occurred to me that this nightstand used to be a tree. Yes, I know, a passing thought of little importance, but this passing thought brought my attention back to the world that was, is, bigger than I, who found myself wondering what person cut down the tree, who transported it, chopped it, carved it, sold it, where these people were now, did they have children and a large family? All this ran through my mind, and I savored it because I knew that they would soon fade into the background, lost forever.
Fade...lost...forever...like my dreams.
No, I thought; then, I shouted it, “No!”, at the girl in mirror, but she only stared back with eyes as determined as mine, hers, determined to ignore, mine, determined to dream.
For a moment, I thought I saw hesitation on her face. It looked as if I had called her out of a reminiscence. Her head twitched at my unexpected outburst, and her ponytail moved from side to side, almost comical paired with her half open mouth.
Suddenly, I felt conviction rise within me, and my own eyes opened to the ideas rattling around in my head.
I smoothed back my hair and braided the ponytail. For the first time, in a long time, I smiled. Looking back, it seemed like such a long time ago that I had resigned myself to a life behind a desk, filing papers and answering phones. Both I and my friend in the mirror had given up on any meaningful future because we could not see how either of us could minister to ourselves, let alone anyone else, but now, my conceptions on the future had changed. Yes, I had lost myself for a few months, and maybe, I had allowed the notions of others to override my own beliefs. Truly, I cannot explain why I have behaved in such a detached and morose manner as of late. What I do know is that for the first time, in a long time, I felt in control of myself again.
A laugh escaped my lips. In my own ears, it sounded almost like hysterical laughter. The noise resounded around the room, or at least I thought so. My giggles bounced off the walls and leapt back at me. I walked over to a chair and sat down, trying to cease my laughter before my parents came to see what had happened. I could feel my hair tickle the back of my neck when I bent over and placed my head between my knees. Still, I could not stop myself from laughing, so I clamped my hand over my mouth to stifle the sound.
Sitting there in that chair, I felt my old self return. I sensed that all my aspirations had suddenly risen from their dark, gloomy graves, and I met them as one would meet an old friend not heard from in months. It felt good to smile again. I leaned back in the chair and relaxed for a few moments. Even my room looked different. Gone were the dreary magazines that boasted of other people’s accomplishments; instead, I saw a stack of motivational stories urging me to make the most of myself. Departed were the walls that held me prisoner in my own room; in their place stood four canvases painted my favorite color, dark brown. Vanished was the irritating book that reminded me of my self inflicted sorrows; in its place lay the Bible. I went to the nightstand and picked it up, though I did not open it because just holding it made this decision feel right. Another passing thought swept through my mind. “Perhaps I’ve been wallowing in the negative so long, I forgot to remember what really matters. Life isn’t all about me, ya know.”
After I placed my Bible back on the stand, I sat down on the bed. All the emotional stress had started to take its toll, and I needed a nap. With my head resting against the cool side of the pillow, I tried to drift into a deep sleep and let the dreams wash over me. When I woke up, I might have enough inspiration to accomplish something phenomenal; I dwelled on the idea. Then, a mental picture of me with bed hair broke in on my fancy. If I went to sleep and woke up, I would have to start my whole day over again, showering, brushing my teeth, fixing my hair, among other distasteful excercises; I really did not want to repeat any of this mornings experiences.
Besides, why should I have to sleep in order to think of ways I could help someone? Why should I have to sleep in order to feel like I have a place in society? The plain answer that had sat staring me in the face all morning sprang up in the simple thought, “You don’t have to, silly. You can create empires and help improve society when you’re awake, too. You can dream any time, eyes closed or open, but the only time you can actually enact those dreams is when you open your eyes and live.”
I shook my head at how silly I had acted over the past few months. Obviously, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, and my one problem seemed to be that I could not, or would not, bring myself to pursue it.
I wanted to dream of a life that everyone could enjoy. I wanted to dream of a life in which, even if not all people could feel happy at the same time, everyone found happiness at some point. I want to dream of people as conscious of their neighbors, if not interacting with them personally, at least courteous enough to give them a fighting chance at enjoying life; of course, it’s next to impossible to fix each and every case, and no one can impose happiness on another, but still, why not leave the opportunity wide open? I want to dream of a better future.
I hopped off my bed and decided to take a walk, maybe even stop by the local health center to see if they needed any volunteers. Thinking that no one would want my help if I turned up looking messy, I smoothed out my T-shirt and changed into a pair of jeans; for safe measure, I unbraided my hair and brushed it out into a neat ponytail. Perfect.
On my way out, I caught a glance of the girl in the mirror. Her appearance had changed so that she and I wore the same clothes and hairdo. I smiled at her, and she smiled back. However, she had changed more than her wardrobe. I could see a new energy about her that dispelled the doubt, which had formerly darkened her features. Now, she grinned just as largely as I did, unmistakable confidence sparkling in her green eyes. At that moment, I knew that she too had decided to renew hope and ambition.
I looked at myself in the mirror and no longer saw the small girl afraid to take a chance.
Pleased with one, final inspection of my hair, I set out to fulfill the foremost of my greatest desires. Once again, I felt in control of my life.
I want to dream of a responsible, happy world. I dream that I will reach this goal. Believe me, I will carry out this dream.