With July’s focus being on Dreams & Goals, Ellie Ruby reflects on dreams in a piece of creative writing.
When I was a little girl my mother was a bellows, crouching at the foot of her kindling. She blew so hard to make sure my dreams billowed out. Shrouded me. To a mother, a child is a prodigy. The paper shapes we glue together are reminiscent of Matisse and every bathtub singer is a budding Kate Bush. To any mother, theirs is the most talented of children.
And then, as that child, there’s a juddering stop at some teenage station, where you step off and realise that you’re just one in a whole ubiquity of special. Doubt sprouts like growths on those flowering buds. And the dreams: the dreams become much smaller, foreshortened into fears of having too strange a face and stumbling through the awkward labyrinth of love and sex. The hopes your mother buoyed you up on turn out to be the sad spurt of a birthday balloon, helium spent and lost. The world gets odder and what doesn’t kill you makes you older.
Twenty stalks up like the growl of a purchase you can’t pay for, borrowing money from mum’s account. There’s a kid in your brain telling you it’s time; time to flourish, to succeed. But we feel like we’re wilting. We walk alone through galleries of our friends’ online photographs, resenting the stills, admonishing the proofs. A faint dream that we might all be feeling the same isolation bucks at the nihilistic belief that our sadness makes us unique. That suffering placing us above all others: a sanctimonious pride in our continuance to disappoint. But there is time: time for you, time for me, to scuttle this ship of fools. To prove our parents right.
It is hard to be hopeful, and dangerous to hope we are special. And us millennials crave both those feelings the most. But as long as we are cared for we have hope. We spin, boats against the past, born ceaselessly back into the slipstream of our families. And one day you will turn around and look back on the people who told you to dream. Those you spurned and doubted because your dreams, they seemed so foolish and so false. Your goals are not your own, nor will they ever be. They belong to whoever raised you, whoever named you as a friend. Whoever believed in you when you bucked so hard against their arms you thought you’d thrown them off forever.
Our dreams never belonged to us, but to those who dreamt of us.
We are a somnambulist society, our love for each other often unutterable, unkempt. But we are dreamt of awake, altruistically aware of. And that makes you so special.