I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer. When I was younger my grandparents taught me a love of reading stories that captured my imagination. Of faraway places that I longed to explore, of fascinating characters that I longed to befriend. I had the happiest of childhoods and yet when I graduated high school all I wanted was to move somewhere far away and four years later when I graduated from college I wanted to go further still. The first move would take me to Searcy, Arkansas and down a path that would lead me to study abroad in France whereafter I would meet my future husband while backpacking through Europe, and the latter would take me to Senegal, West Africa. I dreamed a thousand dreams as I was growing up and until last September, every single one of them had come true. I had everything I had ever wanted. I had spent years traveling and living in different countries before settling with my gorgeous husband here in the UK. We lived in a heartbreakingly beautiful home with our dysfunctional cat, we both worked in jobs that we enjoyed and were paying off the debt that we had acquired before starting a family of our own. I couldn’t have dreamed of anything more if I had tried and my heart was so full each and every day that I was fulfilling my dreams.
But then life ripped my hard-earned dreams from me and tore them into a thousand tiny pieces, some of which were thrown so far away that they could never be found again. I clutched on to the pieces that I could find, but they were not enough. Not a one of my dreams remained in my fragile hands and all I could see was the memory of my once beautiful life.
While picking up the pieces, my brilliant sister bought me a subscription to My Little Box. My Little Box has me figured out: in October, just as I was beginning to get out of the house after Terry’s death, they sent me a beautiful scarf by Diane von Furstenburg – one of my favourite designers. In November, right when I was beginning to smile again they sent me a mug with ‘happy’ emblazened on it. In December they sent me a box full of Christmas cheer (and the perfect red lipstick) to help me survive the not-so-festive season. In January they sent me some workout equipment – ok, maybe this month was meant for someone else. No one’s perfect. In February they sent me an eyeliner by the makeup brand By Terry and a necklace that said Smile, both of which made me feel loved on my very first Valentine’s day alone. Last month you might remember that they sent me a SuperHero box and today I got home from work to find this beauty had landed on my doorstep:
This month My Little Box is asking me to begin dreaming again. Ummmm, you know that they send those boxes to thousands of women and they aren’t customised for you, right? Bah humbug, I say! They are what I say they are and just as when I’m having a rough day and a song that Terry used to sing to me comes on the radio, I take these boxes as signs as I see fit. If the box is dream-themed than dream I shall.
When I opened the box I was really pleased to find this:
Inside of this month’s box is a monthly magazine, a cloud shaped package with a sweet golden pendant to wear, a Cowshed bottle of lotion, a deep conditioner for dry hair and a pretty damn-near perfect red pot of lip gloss.
I was also pleased to find this stamper that will enable to stamp French and English sayings all over my school paperwork. Seriously, I’m stamping everything that I can get my hands on tomorrow: memos, books, students, everything.
When I opened up the monthly magazine there’s a blank page asking me to lay down my dreams, especially my wildest ones. Then I realized that I haven’t dreamed since that day in September. When Terry died I had stopped dreaming, for the first time in my entire life. All of my future dreams were so painful to think about that I pushed them to the back of my mind, banishing them from my consciousness. In the beginning of this new life, all of my waking hours were spent thinking of the past; the future ceased to exist for me without Terry. I spent hours reliving every second of my 9 happy years with Terry in excruciating detail, ignoring the future that I faced without him.
It’s only recently that I’ve allowed myself to acknowledge that there will in fact be a future without Terry and here is a little box asking me to write down my wildest dreams. And so I put the box down, and I began dreaming again.
Dreaming isn’t the same for me as it once was. When I used to dream I was invincible, immune to harm. Terry and I spent hours dreaming together of the future we had planned, it was one of our very favourite things to do. Now I know what can happen to dreams, I know that they are fragile and that I have no control over how they come to fruition and whether or not they will last for a minute or a lifetime. I am scared to dream because I am scared to have my dreams ripped away once more. I am fearful that dreaming will lead to more heartbreak and yet in the very back of my mind a part of me is whispering dreams for the future that I could never have imagined for myself.
When I first started this blog I was too scared to write down exactly how much debt Terry and I were in. I was ashamed to put such information out for all to see. In a similar manner I am scared to write down my dreams for you all to read, for if they go wrong you will then all know that once again my dreams have failed. For some reason I feel compelled to share my dreams with you, dear readers. In spite of all of my fear that they will not come true: here are my new dreams:
I dream of being debt free. I dream of falling in love again, of getting married and of starting a family. I dream of becoming an amazing classroom teacher and eventually leading a department. I dream of traveling again once my debts are paid off: to take cooking classes in Italy, to wander around markets in Morocco, to see Orangoutangs in Borneo. I dream of smiling like I used to do when Terry was alive and I was the most loved woman on the face of the earth. I dream of happiness. Mostly I dream of Terry being so proud of how well I am doing in this new life.
I don’t know if any of these dreams will become a reality, although secretly I hope that they all do. I have learned that dreams are fragile, perishable, destructible. And so I will pin this on the bulletin board above my desk so that every day I am reminded: