Monday, June 14, 2010

in dreams



I’ve never really given much thought about the future and stuff. They say your early twenties are for making mistakes. While I’m not exactly careless, I try to live in the moment as much as possible. I’m good at things I can control, my conscious mind being one of them but in dreams, I find that certain things have a way of taking over. My desires manifest themselves in figures of people and places my eyes have not seen but my heart knows really well.

In one dream, I am wide awake, naked in the middle of a white room. The windows are open and the curtains are swaying. I am alone, of course. I rise, put on my underwear and sit on the veranda to smoke. I see the city alive and hurried and find peace in the middle of chaos.

This is usually the part where I wake up. I guess my mind knows how much my heart can take. It’s not exactly the greatest feeling in the world to wake up with a heart broken by things you can’t have. But if I were to allow it, I’m sure my life in dreams would be very interesting.

I’d have an interesting job where I am accountable for little but I get to meet all sorts of people. Perhaps in one dream, I am a barista in a small Parisian café. In another, I am a travel agent in Barbados with a PhD in Anthropology. In one dream, I could be a cab driver in New Delhi with a gambling problem.

I would walk the busy city streets and strangely feel at home in a sea of strangers. I would smile at attractive strangers and strangely, they always smile back. Sometimes they follow me home and… well you know the rest. In my free time, I write or I sketch and though no one gets to see my stuff, knowing that I was able to solidify a concept once only my mind held is enough to keep me going. My study is lined with notebooks full of stories and poems. My walls are full of paintings that mean nothing to the average person but mean everything to me.

And applause means nothing to me. Because for someone to remain honest, the sheer act of expression must be enough.

I share my bed with no one but it is hardly ever empty. In all of these dreams, I am never with a lover. I am able to do the one thing I can’t in my waking life- find happiness in solitude.

---

But then there are bad dreams, unrelenting ones that leave me shaking and sweaty. My fear of being alone becomes so big, it takes over my whole body like a phantom mountain out of a molehill. There is one in particular that recurs whenever I am stressed out at work or when I go to bed in a bad mood.

It always rains in bad dreams. I am in the backyard inspecting tomatoes or something equally mundane when the first drops fall. I would go back into the house and stare at the rain from one of the kitchen barstools. The dream would be like a song on loop for too long. I’d be staring at the rain for hours until I wake up thinking will my life pass me by? Has it already?

The dream itself is not sad. It’s the reason behind the dream that shakes me. I am almost certain I am married in these dreams but the vows were made more out of convenience than love or even passion. We barely touch. Where there once was sparks, we have charcoal and dust. We sleep in the same bed but seemingly in different continents. Perhaps we have children but they do not like me. They treat me like a stranger. My diploma hangs on the study wall gathering dust, my mind equally unutilized. I have dozens of novels half-written. My dreams of getting published give way to school meetings and doctor’s appointments. But the part that leaves me cold is that I am a stranger in my own house. In these dreams, I am eternally embracing suburban cliché with a morbid flair for conformity and compromise.

---

All the time, everyone around me is hooking up or getting into relationships. The follower in me tells me I must do the same. On lonely nights, I give in to the desires of my body. But I know this is not love. This is not even life. The dreamer in me knows that my happiness will always be synonymous to my solitude. The sooner I acknowledge it, the better off I’ll be.

It is nighttime. I undress, stand naked in front of the mirror, and begin a love letter to myself. My hands journey through all the familiar places, the spots that hide from the light of day and exist only in darkened moments such as this. Right now, this is you. You are neither floating nor flying. You are alone but not lonely. You cannot change the past. It is too late for the present. Perhaps it is time to work on the future.

Lykke Li
Time Flies
Youth Novels

48 comments:

  1. words are so vivid, this makes a very good grown-up, bedtime story.

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  2. Thanks Jon! And I thought you just liked the self-love reference at the end. :D

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  3. nah. the words just go so well together, it's like a good housewife's home made meal.

    itadakimasu!

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  4. itada-whu? *googling*

    oh okay, i get it now. well, it kinda sounds like a compliment so.. err.. thanks. hehe

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  5. i want to write like this when i grow up.

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  6. i wish someday i can say this to myself

    and convince myself that everything's okay

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  7. when Jung was still alive, he would have these Dionysian type gatherings (bawdy affairs really) and after it was over and everyone was about to go to bed, they'd all tell each other "have truly colorful and aweful dreams!" ... i also think for most people who do not start having children at 17 or 18, the distinction between loneliness and solitude can be powerful if understood. =P

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  8. I'm clicking the Super Like button right now, if there's one. :-) Nice, Nyl.

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  9. the structure is nice :) But kidding aside, this post surely moved me.

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  10. another flawless entry.. well done.

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  11. @Bienvenido: What an odd thing to say. All of a sudden, I feel old. Haha

    @Anteros: Well, you know what they say. Happiness is not having what you want. It's wanting what you've got.

    @LOF: Aweful? What a cute word. Dreams are crazy things but I love writing about them anyway.

    And yes, I should consider myself lucky that I have all this silence. Except sometimes, silence drives me nuts.

    @Mak, RJ, David (Naks, David): Super thanks, guys!

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  12. I dream of becoming an NGO officer in Africa. But hey, why go farther if I can help our friends in Visayas or Mindanao. Hehe

    What kind of hands and brain you got, Nyl? I'm now your official fan. =)

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  13. True! Think globally but act locally. I remember after watching Munting Tinig, I wanted to teach narin sa isang provincial public school. But then the BPO world swallowed me whole. haha

    At salamat sa pagfa-fan. It means a lot to me. :D

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  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  15. Was it Jung or Freud? I mean, your inspiration. Love it.

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  16. @Peter :It was neither. How odd. It was actually a mix of murakami and perrotta. I was feeling morbid and optimistic, free and in chains. Basta, I can't really explain it. Weird combination of books.

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  17. How paradoxical. I agree - truly Murakami.

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  18. I think I just shit myself, Peter. I worship the ground Haruki walks on. I don't think I'm worthy of such a compliment.

    But thanks anyway. :D

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  19. lately, our dreams are getting stranger and weirder... we'd talk about it over coffee and wish that you were around for some interpretations....

    it's just now that i realized you have dreams of your own that you don't even want to remember the moment you open your eyes....

    but trust me on this, once the dreaming ends, the CBs will be there to make you see that reality is way complexly sweeter than any of our beautiful nighmares...

    hugsies.... :)

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  20. Aww Jeff, you're too sweet. You kinda just made my day.

    Sometimes I envy how you and Victor have each other when you guys need to talk. But then I realize na di niyo ako kaya maging housemate. I'm too crazy.

    Plus it would take the fun out of our weekends. :D

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  21. And there you are in mid-air, just like I said, Nyl.

    How beautifully you hover, though, how gracefully you float.

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  22. panalo, ang galing.
    malayong malayo sa mga s inusulat ni yj at dave. (saluhin mo kamay nila pag sinampal nila ko ha)

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  23. @Rudeboy: I'm like a butterfly. A big, brown beautiful butterfly.

    - Baklang Ipis

    @Chyng: Hala, baka masampal din ako! Salamat Chyng!

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  24. In one bad dream I am in a small cell with very high walls and no ceiling. There is a huge plate of leche flan coming down on me and it feels very heavy on my shoulders. It's probably what Atlas feels all the time.

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  25. "in the backyard inspecting tomatoes" - this scene would have been nice in real life but it made me palpitate imagining this in a dream O_O

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  26. this post is effortlessly succint and terse.

    dreams and self love stories are really powerful. kudos :D

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  27. @Drew: How strange and seemingly random! I thought that leche flan Shutter moment was rather strange. Perhaps you're too busy carrying things that don't really matter? [ie dessert] haha

    @Brent: I wanted the act to be very random. Honestly, I know nothing about gardening. Do tomatoes really need inspecting? haha

    @Yas: Ooooh succint! I love that word! Thanks, Yas! Thanks for reading and commenting. :D

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  28. self-love. got plenty of that. hehe.

    i am in awe as i relish your poetic expression of fear, loneliness and desire. need i say more? :)

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  29. Mutual admiration society nanaman tayo, Aris. We're gonna have to start thinking of fresher things to say. haha

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  30. sa tagalog---nagising ka nalang bigla na nasa loob ka ng isang puting kwarto nang HUBOT-HUBAD. tama ba? kaya mo isinuot ang iyong underwear at kahit dika pa nagto-toothbrush ay lumusub ka na sa crowd. hehe

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  31. tumpak! kaso nakalimutan mo nag-yosi pa ako. haha

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  32. ""I am almost certain I am married in these dreams but the vows were made more out of convenience than love or even passion.""

    ----sa subrang lalim nito nagpa-puff na parang popcorn ang mga brain cells ko. pwedeng pakai-tagalog?hehe

    ......mali pala yung unang comment ko---yosi break pala yun at nakita mo lang yung mga tao....hehe

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  33. Ilalabas ko na ba pagka-bilingual ko?

    At talagang popcorn? hehe

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  34. *clap clap*

    speechless din.

    They do say dreams are reflection of our desires and nightmares are reflection of our fears.

    But they're just that --dreams and nightmares.

    What's important is what you do when you wake up. :)

    *hugs Nyl* you have a lot of friends who are always there for you. :)

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  35. Thanks, Ruby! I guess the problem is when we try too hard to submit these dreams into meaning.

    And yeah, everyone in the blogging world has been super nice. :D

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  36. me gusta mucho la structura de tu blog. para maiba naman. lol.

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  37. "All the time, everyone around me is hooking up...."

    DONT BE LIKE THEM.

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  38. @JP: Wow, bi-lingual talaga? Haha and all I know is Marimar awww!

    @Cio: I won't. I've got my feet firmly on the ground. :D

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  39. isa lang masasabi ko..shhhetttt..hehe.

    galing galing talga..nice post nyl..first time ko nadalaw dito

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  40. @Kikilabotz: Salamat, salamat at salamat sa pag-dalaw! :D It was nice meeting you.

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  41. First time kong bumisita and di ko ineexpect na ganitong post ang bubungad sa akin. I can feel you. Minsan nagwoworry din ako for my future. But when I wake up, nakakalimutan ko na yung mga napapanaginipan ko.

    Perhaps ganun ka din dapat. Those bad dreams should be forgotten. Kasi when you wake up, the world is there. You already have a future set before you. Di mo pa lang siguro narerealize kung aling daan ang tatahakin mo. :)

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  42. Hey Allen! Thanks for dropping by. I think it's perfectly normal to worry about the future. We all do it naman but you're right, I should just focus focus focus. haha

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  43. very inspiring piece. well said and composed. trying to reminisce my past. ;-)

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  44. Hi, Tart! Thanks for dropping by! I appreciate the comment. :D

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  45. I don't remember most of my dreams, but the bad ones? Those are the ones I remember. It's funny how I remember bad stuff more than the good stuff.

    Misery is my middle name by the way, hehe

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  46. The good stuff's very ignorable. It's the bad ones that leave us with a bad taste in our mouths. lol

    Misery was my maiden name. hahaha

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  47. ang ganda. it's hard to point out the parts i love in this piece. pwede bang maraming maging favorite? it's sad and heavy and light and hopeful at the same time. haaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

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  48. Thanks Debbie! Weird nga eh. I wasn't so sure of this post. I wrote it months ago pero it stayed in my drafts lang. Thanks for liking it. :/

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