A couple of nights ago I had an odd dream that I was pregnant. Not the cute just starting to show a baby bump, kind of pregnant — But the ten days overdue, waddling in order not to break every bone in your body while taking an actual step, kind of pregnant. This dream was odd for a few reasons. One being that I cannot have children anymore so it wasn’t my typical premonition type of dream, and two – Because all throughout the dream I kept having these intense labor pains, but nothing would ever happen. I was living in this house that I’ve never seen and people kept stopping in to tell me congratulations on having the baby that I was still quite obviously pregnant with. Now I am short, not the average height were you just tell yourself that you’re short, but short. Anytime that I have been pregnant, it was never where I could sort of hide it. I have a short torso and it is ALL baby from early on. In that right, people thinking I already had the baby and congratulating me was weird because A. I didn’t actually have a baby and B. because I had a perfectly round belly in the dream, signifying that the baby had not been born yet. I kept feeling these very intense birthing pains – Anyone who’s had a baby knows what I mean by birthing pains. The ones you get just as the end is near, that make you want to rip apart any person standing next to you. There was a lot of nothing happening. Moments of me up and smiling and accepting the congratulations, and then back in a bed screaming in agony while this thing causing the agony was nowhere to be found.
I woke up not understanding why I even dreamt this. Then I remembered that dreams of giving birth are often not at all about literally giving birth to a baby, but more metaphorically about giving birth to a dream that lives inside of you. I have a few dreams of mine that I would love to see come to fruition one day, but one particularly that has stuck with me from teenage years to present — has been to be a writer. And that’s where this dream makes sense. I never wanted to be writer just because I enjoyed reading or the thought of writing something that everyone wanted to read. I wanted to be writer because I am a writer, if that makes sense. There are certain things we know about ourselves. I have been singing since I was very young, but because I grew up in a musically inclined family I had no idea that not everyone could sing. I thought I was doing what everyone else could do. Until I belted out a Whitney Houston song one day and my Mom’s jaw hit the floor, I just didn’t know that I was a singer. I knew that I loved music, but my whole family did. It was the same with writing, I just sat down as a child and wrote and I felt so much better after each time that I had. It came to me and I did it. However, the writing process has never been all that easy in terms of turning out something worth reading. I’d wager to say that for most writers it isn’t that easy for them either. After all, we are our own worst critics.
In thinking about it, it really is very much like giving birth though. You have all of these feelings and thoughts turning and undulating within, for what feels like FOREVER and then the pains start. You can’t sleep for being so inundated with words, emotions and ideas. Your mind cannot be sidetracked no matter how hard you try. It’s the middle of the night and of course at the most inopportune time, the waters break. Perfectly shaped sentences come flooding out and then, just as you’re right in the middle of an idea and you’re feeling the flow of it resonate, it stops. You hit a stalemate of sorts. Those beautifully formed thoughts become a mess of words again stuck and unmovable. That excitement you felt just a short while before of this inspiration finally coming through, shoots down to frustration because you cannot find the words. They’re there, but they are hiding behind others that have no place or meaning within your current flow. So what do you do? Me, I start another page of work hoping to get THOSE thoughts out in time to go back to the previous ones, uninterrupted. What happens, is the labor of two incomplete bodies of work that now are going to keep my mind racing and awake until they are both finally finished. I’ve been lucky in the fact that I don’t seem to ever need sleep, and can be awake 24 hours straight getting the words out… But by the time I hit those high hours what’s turning out is not my best. Square one all over again. I wonder to myself why I love this process so when it continuously proves to be incredibly frustrating??
It’s like having a baby. We mothers tend to forget over time the low parts of the journey through pregnancy and birth. The mood swings, the night sweats, the swollen ankles, nausea and back pain. We forget the agony of the birth itself just in time to want another baby. Why? Because the end result is so magical and awe-inspiring that it was worth the nine months of discomfort and the horrifying labor process. I’ve had three children and each time I was equally terrified of what was about to happen. Our imagination of what’s to come is often way worse, but sometimes it’s right on the mark! Yet we keep signing ourselves up for it time and again. Through the pain, we find the art in that remarkable little person staring up at us. We don’t regret it because of all the wonderful moments of joy, love and laughter that our kids bring us as each day goes by. It’s always worth it in the end.
The same goes for writing. The process is usually messy, time consuming and sometimes painful. But in the end I’m left with this piece of work with my own fingerprint watermarked in the background of every word. I think this dream was to tell me that I’m getting close to something magical. Something that I’ve always wanted and that my efforts may have to hit an uptick first for it to be born, but it will be born. Like in giving birth, we know that there is an end to it eventually. That this sweet little baby causing us all of this pain, cannot possibly just stay in our womb forever. And though the fear of what is to come before we reach that end can be terrifying, we know that the end result will be that of beauty and everything we ever wanted. My process may be a bit messy and unhinged. It may not always be perfect by my own or anyone else’s standards, but I think this dream was to tell me – “You’re just getting started, now it’s time to push through.” Messy or not, who cares if it has a defect or two? It is my baby and I’m going to strap a bow around it and show it to the world because I made it and I went through much pain and uncertainty in bringing it to be! I hope this dream was about this instead of literal because if it’s not, someone’s has some serious explaining to do!!