Be bold enough to rewrite the dream.
You know which one I’m referring to: the one you’ve held onto too tightly. The one that only causes pain in your soul by burrowing its home there, though the pain is comfortable and normal all the same. The one that had you writing your future in permanent marker.
The one you had hoped you’d need not ever erase — permanent marker is hard to get out of clothes, much less heartstrings — but the one you now wish you had originally written in pencil.
It’s hard to let go.
It’s hard to let go of a person, a place, a home, a hope. Anything really is heartbreaking to see go, if even the emptiness it leaves behind will be for the better.
Our beings weren’t originally created to break. We were designed for completion, for wholeness. But we live in a currently dark world, one full of accidental and often malicious hurt, heartbreak being high up there on the list.
It’s easy to spiral downward. To think that by letting go, you were either too much or not enough. Or when the dream crashes and burns, to believe we’re to take full blame. We’re the failure for not seeing it come to pass, for not making it come to pass.
We think letting go means loss and loneliness.
In some ways, yes. Saying goodbye to a place you called home for years will leave an empty space in your being. Watching that person walk away — whether they decided it or you did — hurts in a way I can only describe as my chest splitting open from my heart’s immense sorrow. That kind of pain feels like loss. It is loss.
But letting go is not failure. Goodbye doesn’t mean “the end.” Sometimes, but not always. I hope by now you’re realizing perhaps you should set aside the permanent markers.
Letting go means new opportunities. It means you need to pull together your weary bones, hold your head high and refuse to settle for emptiness.
Choose to be bold and rewrite the dream.
* * *
Quite honestly, I’ve held on far longer than I ever imagined I would to this dream. I saw this dream everywhere I went: gold cars on the freeway. Cool coffee shops. Grey hoodies. Everywhere in my hometown.
Dreams are full of tomorrow’s hope until dreams are full of yesterday’s heartbreak and pain. Dreams can drive us until they divide us.
And it followed me relentlessly. It tainted my perspective of my past, leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. I had written this dream in dark permanence at a naive age, and it seems I am now carrying the wounds of such a large decision.
Rewrite the dream.
It’s occurred to me to do so here and there. In ways I have rewritten pieces of this dream. For one, I left. I left everything of my past behind in my hometown, and promised myself I would move on.
And I did, for a good while.
But it never stopped haunting me. It would flicker in and out of my dreams. I scrubbed and scrubbed at the permanent marker in utter chastisement and frustration toward myself, but it was never enough.
Then I moved back to my hometown, back to the roots of this broken dream and all reminders of loss, failure and shame. After years of running, endlessly trying to erase such permanency, I was forced to face it full on.
I gave myself pep talks and penned journal entries, convinced I was going to be ok in the healing process. Facing things is far from enjoyable, but it does bring freedom. That much I knew.
But I didn’t know how much my heart would fall for this dream all over again. I was writing in permanent marker over and over and over, and I couldn’t seem to stop.
The dream was in every coffee shop and around every corner for days. Months. Too long. Shame cloaked my frame, mortified at how much I clung to something that no longer existed.
The thing about healing is that you know it’s good, but you never know what it’s going to look like until hindsight shows you. Healing is almost as equally painful as heartbreak.
Last week I felt a lot of pain, nothing necessarily new, but it was the healing kind. I sat on the other side of a wall from this dream, my mind and heart unsure of how to connect.
I kept my eyes forward, head up. I walked past it, and said no in my head for the millionth time. No, you stupid idealistic hope, you will not consume me tonight.
I made it to my car, and let out a tight laugh. I did it. I let go. I said no, and in a way, erased a little bit more of the permanent marker.
While I can’t say last week was a milestone in my healing, I’m continuing to realize how important it is to not only face things but also learn to forgive and rewrite them. Especially if that means forgiving yourself.
In its purest form, my dream is beautiful. In my anxious humanity, I saw it as something I had to control. If this dream didn’t turn out the way my permanent teenage decision had made it, then I’d be a failure. I’d be the one who wasn’t good enough, the one who would never move on.
But it’s not true. And it doesn’t have to stay this way.
I long to return to this dream in its purity, untainted from heartbreak. I want to rewrite it–in pencil –and learn to keep my hands open. Palms up.
I think that’s what letting go really means. Being bold and brave enough to mourn the broken dream, and then rewrite it. Take pages of the good stuff and throw out the rest. Remember the past love and loss, but start hoping again for freshly coined dreams in the future.
It’s possible and beautiful and messy. But be bold enough to rewrite the dream. One day you’ll look back and thank yourself for it.