Saturday, April 5, 2014

What a Dusty Ceiling Fan Taught me About Dreams


For the past few weeks, I have been reading Jennie Allen's book, "Restless." I heard Jennie speak at Allume, and her book was in the swag bag.

I thought I was going to write a book this year.

There's a plug in my brain, though. Nothing is flowing out. But, I've been ferociously reading. I can't get enough. It's like I just learned to read and it's new and it's all I want to do. It's been years since it's been like this.

So, I've been going with it. I figure if I have no wisdom to pour out, I might as well be filled up, right?

In Jennie's book, there are journaling exercises. I put pen to paper the other day, old school style, answering the questions in the book. I found myself crying. It was strange. I was sitting on my couch, with a cup of coffee, my book, my journal, my hand in minor pain because I'm not used to actually writing with a pen anymore, and it hurts.

And something poured out, y'all.

Jennie asks, "When you anticipate dreaming, what are you afraid of?"

I am most afraid of wanting something I can't have. When I want something, I get obsessed with it. I think about it first thing in the morning when I wake up, then I google it all day long, then I can't fall asleep because I'm thinking about it. This method of 'dreaming' has paid off for me in the past. I can think of a few specific examples: In college, I dreamed about working in a newsroom. I did it. I dreamed about working at the White House. I did it. I dreamed about falling in love with and marrying Michael. I did it. I dreamed about traveling and covering a presidential campaign. I did it. I dreamed about moving home, decorating this house. I did it.

Recently, though, my dreams have stopped. I think it's because I gave up on them. For a while, I dreamed of having a baby. It didn't happen. I've dreamed of being a writer. Y'all, I'm a reader. Those dreams have seemed so far out of reach, I don't allow myself to continue to dream.

I'm afraid of dreaming impossible dreams. I fool myself into thinking I'm content that my husband is well, my house is clean, I'm doing a good job at work. Oh, maybe I'll dream about making a difference there, that's what I'll do. I'll dream about CrossFit. Yeah, those are good, reachable dreams.
I don't want to be discontent. So I just don't admit that I am.

At this point, I realize I'm a poser when it comes to dreams. Embarrassing.

Jennie asks another question, "Do you feel discontent right now, and how does that discontentment tie into a desire for a purpose?"

Uh oh, y'all. I did not read ahead. I did not know her second question was totally going to hit me where it hurt. I make another k-cup, and proceed with caution.

I'm not sure if my discontentment ties into a purpose or any kind of desire. I think I'm too busy to notice. I do it to myself, all the time. Maybe so that I won't have to face my fear of dreaming? So I am discontent. Damn it!

I fill up my moments with responsibilities. That way, I don't feel bad about being focused on things like work, taking care of Michael, cooking, cleaning, because those are all good and necessary things to spend my time doing. But my days are completely filled up with responsibilities and I am too burned out to even think about dreams, desires, passion and purpose.

Then I stopped writing for a moment, because of the searing pain in my ring finger of my right hand, from the writing. My poor hand was trying so hard to keep up with my brain that is used to working with two typing fingers.

Ouch.

I glanced up at the ceiling fan over our dining room. It's always in motion. That is so me! I am that hardworking ceiling fan! I never stop. That's why I can't see my dust. That's why I don't even realize I'm discontent. I'm always spinning and I am doing my job, a good job, no one thinks to turn me off and so no one ever sees my dust, but oh is it there!

That ceiling fan has a few bulbs burned out. They've been burned out for months. I notice that it's darker. But when the fan is in motion, you can't see that it really needs to be dusted. The lights don't work when the bulbs are burned out, but the fan will keep working, no matter how dusty it is. I imagine, however, that at some point, dust will begin flying off the fan, and will dirty up the whole downstairs.

I should probably clean it at some point.
And, I should probably stop spinning.
And start dreaming again.

6 comments:

Shannon Cotugno said...

I love this. What a great analogy!

Jaimie L. Moore said...

Great blog, Dana!
And I've started journaling again lately... holy moly. My handwriting isn't as good as it used to be and you're right. It friggin' hurts!
Much love.

unemployed said...

I love this blog! I am a BIG dreamer like you. I smiled when I read the part about "I am most afraid of wanting something I can't have. When I want something, I get obsessed with it. I think about it first thing in the morning when I wake up, then I google it all day long, then I can't fall asleep because I'm thinking about it. This method of 'dreaming' has paid off for me in the past." This is EXACTLY how I am. It's great because of the things you can accomplish in your life are pretty amazing; but it is a curse because if you aren't changing the world or working towards a major goal… discontentment sets in.

I stopped dreaming for a few years. It feels sad and empty. But I started back again a few months ago… and what I realized in the wake of this was sometimes when you stop dreaming; it allows other people TO be able to dream from your inspiration. Think of all the things you have accomplished so far in your life. Most people won't have that much success in their lifetime and you have achieved that by the ripe age of 35 :) Impressive. Ride that wave Dana, and much like finding Michael; your dreams will come back when you least expect it.

I too love someone with a disability; my son; and some days it sucks the life right out of me. You didn't chose to love someone with a disability; you were chosen. Much like God chose me to mother an autistic son God chose you to be Michael's wife. We are the "chosen" ones… we are pretty lucky.

I love reading your blogs, and I regret that we didn't get to know each other better when we worked together. Keep WRITING because I love READING them. To me you are a writer….I felt compelled to share this with you since you always share your thoughts and feelings… much love to you!!
(sorry I think I just blogged on your blog :)


Ashleigh Sottile said...

That post from "unemployed" was from Ashleigh Sottile (I have no idea why it says that )

MaryJane Sawyer said...

I know exactly how you feel. That ceiling fan could be me.

Baba Shivanandji said...

What should I say??
Its increasing discontentment in me..I am kind of person like you NOT EXACTLY you but yes somewhat....
sometimes I feel the same..
Thanks for sharing:)

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