If there is anything I’ve learned in the in-between, it’s that you are not what you do or who you are working with (although those do reveal parts of you), but what is most telling is your why. Why are you doing what you are doing? Why do you keep the company that you keep? Why do you get up in the morning and go to sleep at night? Why do your dreams take the shape that they do?
I’ve learned that I am resilient and that the core of who I am, the kid who loved to read in the sunshine in the yard and who drew pictures every summer with her sister and always had her arms up enthusiastically mouth agape in every picture, this true core has always and will always be there. Thanks to my spiritual director, I understand that my persona, my shape, my form, my expression shifts around me, but my core remains.
And when I can’t bear to face things in the daytime, my passions, my fears, my processes, will come to me in my dreams.
My dreams aren’t so literal. Often my deep dreams are less about the specific concerns that I have in my day-to-day life, and more about my process, the way that I am shifting and changing, the stuff I am wrestling with. And when I forget them, I don’t need to worry. Because if they are important, they will come back.
So many dreams I had in the in-between were comparison dreams. Dreams about high school classmates that I hadn’t talked to in years, dreams about competitions, about navigating parties and social situations in friendships that have since faded in my waking life, seeing old friends rush away and leave me behind, old crushes that I’m yearning for in my sleep but ignoring when I wake.
I was anxious about being in the wrong chapter. Not moving fast enough. Being at the wrong place for my life stage. Falling behind.
And then I started the Who Raised You? Podcast. I was haunted by the question of who I was, what drives me, what I’m passionate about, what patterns speak in my life. I had let my work be so defined by what others wanted from me that the answers came up empty… for myself. But the answers for my friends, my peers, my comrades in struggle rose up abundantly in full. And I was hungry with curiosity.
So we sat down. We had beautiful conversations, that left me more moved and exhausted and fulfilled and feeling than I expected. Every. Single. Time.
Through this creative work, I gave voice to my values and passions and loves, and with that, my anxious dreams started to fade.
I have not had a falling-behind dream in a long time.
Perhaps, I am finally able to rest.