So here’s the thing. I’m a dreamer. I day dream. I fantasize. I visualize all kinds of possibilities in all kinds of worlds with all kinds of outcomes and it makes me think about what could be.
It also stimulates a creative side that helps me build worlds for characters and develop plot lines and themes.
Sometimes, it just feels good to escape and plan and imagine… what if?
One of my favorite things to do is to scour Trulia and luxury real estate listings looking for the house of my dreams. You know the one. The place that you’d purchase and invite Oprah over for mimosas on Thursdays before noon, just because.
When I was younger mom and I would go to open houses in the posh neighbourhoods and I would aspire to own a home like those one day.
Along the way, between searching out luxury abodes in Martha’s Vineyard and visiting nearby townhouse listings, I learned a few things about what I like and what I don’t like. Just in case the market crashes hard enough for me to own something at the same time Publisher’s Clearing House arrives on my doorstep with a big cheque – I have a pretty good grasp of what I’m looking for in a forever home. I also had the opportunity to work in construction and development for a while and had a blast with the marketing team and helping set up our display suites with the designer. All of these were great learning tools and fostered my interest in real estate, architecture and interior design. I don’t want to make a career out of any of those things but when I’m trying to write a scene everything is so much easier with a complete idea of the space around my characters.
And it gives me something to focus on when I buy a lottery ticket.
Recently I made the mistake of mentioning that to someone who doesn’t understand that part of me. The reaction was… unfortunate. There was an eye roll and she said that I was “living in a dream world” in such a negative way that I was genuinely hurt.
I was also doped up on pain meds because it was my first outing post knee surgery and that made me a bit more emotional but I was still hurt. She is a very important part of my life and a big advocate for teaching people how to treat you so I told her I found that statement to be offensive.
That didn’t go over very well. I was told I can’t be so sensitive about every little thing and that I was only upset about what she said because I didn’t like it. Then it turned into a bit of a mess where suddenly Mom was at fault for encouraging me by taking me to open houses when I was little and buying me bridal magazines to look at and spending money to go see the prize homes at the PNE and the “new” subdivision back in the day. Because she didn’t understand why we would do any of that she was talking to us as if those were things we should be embarrassed about or feel bad for doing.
It hurt. A lot.
Not a lot truly makes me happy. I have an illness that makes me think I’m worthless and that everything is awful and always will be. That I’m stupid and will never have the good things others have because I don’t deserve those things.
So sometimes I really look forward to those moments when I can wish and plan and dream because they give me hope.
I’m not completely ignorant. Very few people are as firmly cemented in reality as I am. I know I’m not going anywhere and that I don’t have much future aside from what I’m living now. I know my limitations and I have accepted them. I don’t need anyone to remind me that I’m never going to have the things I always wanted.
So yes, I was upset. I wanted to get up and take a moment to gather myself in the washroom but unfortunately my crutches were on the floor and I couldn’t move! I was trapped at the table as they all kept talking and it was just making it worse. I tried everything I could think of not to cry – hurt and frustration and drugs are a bad combination – and I buried my face in my drink glass, praying the ability to rally myself.
That turned into an issue as well since they thought I was being rude.
I was doing everything I could not to break down in front of everyone. Especially since she treats crying as a weakness or as if it’s an attempt to manipulate.
The fact that I cried at that table in front of everyone haunts me. The fact that I was made to feel ashamed for having hopes and wishes makes me sad. The fact that I was called out on my right to feel offended by something that was said infuriates me.
If someone says you made a statement that offended them they’re not attacking you or calling YOU offensive. There’s a difference. And doubling down isn’t the way to go. Because then you have BECOME offensive.
Not understanding something is no reason to look down on it or treat others as if they’re in the wrong for enjoying it. I wonder how the conversation would have gone if I had called one of her hobbies a waste of time. She does things I don’t enjoy but it would never occur to me to scoff at them. I listen to her talk about them often and I ask questions and try to engage. Because SHE likes them and it makes her happy to talk about them. It costs me nothing to do that. I like how she smiles when she gets into those topics.
She apologized to me later and I realized that she honestly didn’t seem to understand what had happened. I never thought she invited me out with the express purpose of upsetting me. And that’s what she apologized for. As if I thought she might have planned the whole thing just to make me cry.
That would never happen. Not in a million years. She’s not an evil or mean spirited person. She’s not someone who enjoys seeing others hurt or in pain. She’s thoughtful and wonderful and passionate and loving. And sometimes she’s sharp and harsh and brutal in her truths – without understanding that her truths don’t belong to everyone. And that differences shouldn’t be treated as failings.
Nor should raw emotions.
Peeps, don’t look down on each other. It doesn’t matter if you have a friend who wants to take over the world by finger painting with hamster shit. It doesn’t cost you anything to encourage them even if you think their goals are ridiculous. You have nothing to gain by introducing them to “reality”. Build them up instead of tearing them down. You don’t have to sign up for hamster shit art classes with them or even buy what they make – just, before you say something to them, think about if it will help them or hinder them. And if it could hurt them? Don’t. Don’t laugh. Don’t scoff. Don’t roll your eyes.
Feed a plant and watch it grow. Piss on it… well… now you have a dead plant and it stinks.
I know, right?
The shittiest part of all of this is how since then, I’ve avoided thoughts about my dream house. I used to enjoy thinking about where I’d put the furniture or how I’d have weekly Sunday dinner open to my friends and family and now I just feel embarrassed.
My dream house was sold a month ago anyway.
But I will start dreaming again eventually. I will return to dreaming with happiness and hopefulness and in all the ways that I used to love for the times I need to escape and the times I need to relax and the times I just need to… be.
Because I AM a dreamer.
And there’s nothing wrong or shameful about that. People bigger and better than I agree.
“Come on, we gotta keep on dreaming,” – Bruce Springsteen (original lyrics by Suicide)
Who am I to argue with The Boss?