“A dream is a fleeting shadow; a dream is a mirage”.
This by far, would be the most controversial statement I have ever made.
You see, I am that type of writer that tends to avoid controversy altogether. The introvert in me tries at best to avoid the backlash, the questions and maybe the criticism from airing my personal opinions every now and then, but trust me, I have had my fair share of criticism, of backlashes and of questions that made me fold despite my best efforts to avoid them. I guess these things; questions and criticisms help shape us all in ways we can never imagine and in my case, I am better open to life and whatever it throws, disappointments and heartbreaks inclusive.
That however isn’t the point of this writeup.
A shadow is formed when an oblique object stands in the path of rays of light.
Shadows, whatever the color of the object standing in the way of the light is always dark.
I think we can substitute you and me in both statements to fit into the reality of things. A shadow is formed when a dreamer stands in the path of light and maybe we can just dub the light, our truth or reality.
I am saying this with some form of conviction, having stood a dreamer in the path of reality all of my life. In all that time standing on the path of reality, on my way to earning/reaching/getting a dream established, I have come to realize that even as I stretch my longest, reach my highest, run the fastest and squeeze the tightest, the shadow keeps moving. Several meters away and a few hurried steps and I’d have it in hand and it moves, like a tease, like it has a mind of its own, it flees. A dream is a fleeting shadow and a mirage. Here now and gone the next, far ahead and beyond reach.
The chase is generic, just as the shadow doesn’t discriminate colors, it appears the same for the African, Asian, Latino, American and Caucasian and what have you.
From a different angle, yes, what happens when a man then achieves this dream? Is it still right to think of a dream as a shadow, never here, never there or a mirage? I say yes.
Dreams can summarily be either or both of these things “TO BE or TO DO”.
I will not bore you with all of the dreams I had as a child and those I have as an adult now, but think of all of the dreams you had till date, none, not one of these dreams stray from the many variations of the verbs BE and DO. If we can substitute again into the question on the table, then we have.
“What happens when we have become or have done the things we dreamed of. Are dreams still fleeting shadows?” and again I say yes.
Even for those dreamers who have achieved that which they dreamed at some point, the absolution of dreams is a mirage. We all dream. It is something sine-qua-non to life, a yang of living. Dreams and the ability to dream should be part of the characteristics of the living, just as movement, respiration and the others.
You see, irrespective of the shape and magnitude of your dreams. Grand or small, fantasy or realistic, the ultimate dream or the absolute dream of all and every human is happiness and life in its design is a sinusoid. Like the pattern of waves, it has highs and lows, crests and troughs and on each curve, a windy path.
When a man strives to become or to do that which he dreams, he reaches and stretch, pulls and push, crawls and run, chasing the dream as it appears here and reappears there like a shadow and a mirage. Someday if he is persistent enough and the odds “gods” favor him, he catches up to that dream, momentarily getting the excitement of achievement, only till he realizes where he is. In all that pursuit, blindsided by the prize he had his eyes on, he has reached new horizons, picked up new desires and needs which informs his new dreams. Or he just may have trampled on the rose garden on his way up, broke those who loved him or never loved anyone in return, forgotten the sound of laughter, shattered the exotic art-piece or forgotten what it was like to breathe and to live as opposed to panting and running and chasing fleeting dreams and his new dream would be to learn to live again, if there was any time left and enough oxygen to breathe with.
At a point in my life I stood again in the path of light and a dream formed right in front of me. Yes, I have achieved some of the things I wanted to achieve. Maybe not on the timeline I drew up in my head and definitely not exactly what I wanted, but there I was, a graduate at 23 despite the weight of the past failures of where I come from that tried to hold me back for many years. I couldn’t even stop to relish that moment, the one-time people took breaks, went on vacations, had a splurge and celebrated leaving school. Life wasn’t waiting for me and I wasn’t ready either but I had to move.
You see, at the point when I dreamed dreams of graduation, I was absolutely confident that the happiest day of my life would be my graduation, but it wasn’t. I was uncomfortable in that graduation gown. It was like a whole lot was waiting for me and I had to get out of here to get it. I stared long and hard that the shadow of the dream I had, the giant ship-sized dream became so vast that it snuffed out the light from all sides. It is no wonder shadows do not form in total darkness. I see it now. I not only couldn’t see the light, I didn’t see the dream too.
It first started as restlessness, then the sleepless nights came, then the insomnia and the migraines that followed, then the feeling that the room was spinning and I was out of breath and I was drowning. I realized then that anxiety had befriended me and I was on a one way trip. Soon enough I found myself loving that darkness when I wasn’t scared of it and when despair and misery crept in, I was already comfortable in the dark. I still wonder if the blind can dream. Not because they didn’t see, but because I know darkness can be home too. I didn’t see the light and I couldn’t see my dreams materialize like a fleeting shadow or a mirage as I always did. The only image of that dream was the one I had engrained in my head. The reminder of things I had to be and the things I wanted to do.
It is painful to imagine that many people, youths and young adults are in this dark hard place of their lives. They have snuffed out the light by allowing darkness overwhelm and engulf the light that makes dreaming possible, the light that bounces off the oblique shape of a dreamer standing in the path of the light and allowing the shadows to form. Some have dwelled long enough that what was a veil of darkness had become clouds and layers and layers of dark clouds that seemed inescapable for them and impregnable for help.
It has been a couple of years now since the clouds cleared and my dreams took shape again. It is rejuvenated. Teasing, fleeting and hopping here and there, unyielding just as I am relentless in my pursuit.
Here’s my winner- I am a dreamer and a dream chaser and when the road became too dark to see, let alone dream, I found my escape in the help I sought.
Dreaming in the dark may be difficult, but it is not impossible. It just might be your only way out if you never stopped dreaming and like me, you reached out and called for help. Life is one long tough journey, grind your grit and muscle on dreamer!