It’s So Hard To Dream…

Days in quarantine #222. I wonder: Can we hold on to our dreams, when the world seems to have changed for good?

By Laly Steel

October 27, 2020

If I had to summarize in one phrase how I endured a lifetime of trauma with an undiagnosed ADHD, I’d say: “I dreamed, and I believed.” From the bottom of a cliff, I’d look up to a big new dream; meeting the New Kids On The Block; getting a degree on some new shit; be the best in my hockey team… score a goal at least….

Some things I achieved, some I didn’t; but all those dreams kept me going; they would all put me back on my feet so I could work to get them, knowing for sure that I was going to make it.

Eventually I’d get to the top and inhale the smell of success … like someone taking her first breath on the top on Mount Everest while putting the gear on the ground… “I made it…” I’d think… “I can rest now….” And gratefully I’d take it all in… Until suddenly, someone or something would kick me down… And once again, from the bottom of my cliff, I’d look up to a big new dream: getting a degree on some new shit…

I was talking the other day with someone I recently met and telling him how I “visualize” my dreams, and he said, “I don’t believe in magical things;” I replied, “but it’s not about magic; it’s about setting a goal and working to get it.” My dreams are goals; and even if they meet all the criteria to be categorized under the “girl, that’s crazy,” I won’t care… because I believe, and I work hard for what I believe I can get.

And that’s the tricky thing about dreaming these days… There’s a pandemic that has changed the world, and my dream today is no longer up to me… “Moving back to New York, for good” I still have my lifetime purpose, of course; the Big Apple is like the cherry on top!

After I got divorced and moved to this city in 2015, leaving Buenos Aires after 15 years, New York became my north… I just fell in love with it! Thus, I’d start saving money at the beginning of every year, fly over there on July and stay for a few months. Now I can’t do it… I can’t plan it because I’m not allow to even book a flight.

Before the quarantine started, I had begun working on this blog and humor monologs to do stand-up again; I was saving money and packing this house in Argentina to leave it ready for my parents to move in for the first few years I’d come and go… 

But now, even if I do all that I need to do, what can I dream about? Flying in Argentina is still forbidden; the dollar went from 42 pesos to over 150; there are protocols to enter different countries, the pandemic keep spreading and I am… I’m lost.

And what is an hyperactive neurodivergent without a dream? It’s like an amnesiac soul wondering in the desert… No sense of time or place… There’s light, but no sun… There is no horizon… There is just…, sand…

This is just… so surreal… I used to watch on YouTube, almost every night, a couple of clips of The Ellen Show and Jimmy Fallon so I would fall asleep with a good laugh; but now their audiences are piles of screens, showing the faces of people from their homes and I think, “What is this? Are we this now?”

And I keep thinking how wonderful my life was… even with the PTSD and all that jazz… Traveling; going to concerts and sucking in all the energy from the fans and the confetti… Gosh, I miss my boys and the confetti so much…

I miss the airports; the “pro travelers” sleeping in the chairs with their feet above their luggage; babies crying, children wanting overly priced toys and parents wondering “Why are we going on this trip again?”… 

I miss getting out of the Penn Station in Manhattan to that loud and crowded 34 street … There’s always drilling in this or the next block; scaffoldings on almost every sidewalk… Tourists in their sixties looking at big maps trying to figure out where uptown and downtown is, when the city has been built so you’ll always know where north is…

If I close my eyes… and think hard about it, sometimes I can smell it… and I swear that unless I’m picturing the Central Park, it doesn’t smell like shit like so many people say. It just smells like “New York,”… It has its own scent… Isn’t that wonderful?

Am I dreaming again…? But after I hit publish on this post, will it fade away? I’ll take a walk to “transition” to reality and go back to research and write about ADHD; I’ll go back to the routine I must follow diligently so I can perform like a human being, even though I’m from Jupiter.

I have deleted all the social media apps from my phone; twice or trice per week, I read the cover of the New York Times; I don’t watch the news… It all hurts too much… And everything I do from the moment I get up and put my feet on the floor and throughout the day, feels like an endless scene of Chaplin’s “Modern Times…”

I can’t recall the last time I touched another human; I can’t remember what a kiss feels like; a hug… shaking hands… And I don’t really know if I can dream… believe…

I believe in myself; I believe in God; but dreaming about New York would mean that I’d have to believe in the human kind… and many of its members are not wearing their masks and they are sick and tired of the lock down, and even entering the world of depression…

People in the streets are very angry… Did you notice that? That’s been putting my “emotional regulation” to a test, big time…

So I take a deep breath and I wonder… How could I dream again? And a soft voice inside my head whispers to me, “… and where would you be without a dream?”

“… every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill me head, a million dreams are keeping me awake; 
I think of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see, a million dreams is all it’s gonna take… 
A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make”

Extract of “A Million Dreams”, from the musical “The Greatest Showman”
Comment to boost my dopamine!
Follow Neurodivergent on WordPress.com

So what do you think?