I’ve been dreaming about far away friends lately. Some I haven’t seen in 20 years. Some I’ve known way longer. But all of a sudden they’ve been coming to visit with me in the midnight hour. And it’s a beautiful thing.
My dreams have always been vivid. Nighttime stories that I’ve remembered well into the next day. Some I still remember from years past. I’ve had those that I’ve tried to fall back into and those I’ve struggled to wake up from. Then there’s my standard dream where I haven’t gone to any classes all semester and all of a sudden it’s exam time. Most times I don’t even know where the class room is.
But over the past few weeks they’ve taken a nostalgic turn. Fun and exotic adventures with friends from my childhood, my teens and college joining me. They’ve been random encounters but each has been a welcome and I guess, needed, reacquaintance. I wake up full of memories of them and memories of me that I’d lost along the way. Who I was when I knew them. How they made me feel. How they were instrumental – one way or another – in shaping me into the woman I’ve become. Throughout the next day, the next week, I feel close to them again. And close to the version of me I was then. It’s not always pleasant. It is always eye opening. It is always honest. It is always me.
I need these dreams. These midnight reminders are helping me realize that the past isn’t here just to haunt me. Just to focus on the embarrassing or hurtful moments. The past can actually be comforting. It is funny and happy. It can still make me giggle and blush.
It’s been mostly high school friends popping in during this REM time. Looking back, I felt the strongest then – the most confident in myself. I was lucky to go to a school where there were no cliques. I wasn’t exactly an athlete (to put it mildly) but that didn’t mean I didn’t hang out with those who were. We would all laugh together at lunch and lay in the sun taking in the gorgeous New England days. It was more like a family. These were people I felt safe around. No judgement. We were all in it together. During a time of insecurity and awkwardness – when you can’t help but still be you in spite of it all – these people never made me question who I was at my core.
I cringe at some college memories. Confidence lost, I hid behind late nights of liquid courage as insecurities stepped up and took over. Those years were full of some fun and some wild times but it’s the constant self doubt that comes to mind. I wish I’d spent more time focusing on my friends (and school). Not always searching for the wrong person’s approval or staring in a mirror to find fault in myself.
So now, in my unconscious state, my mind is working over time to gather those happy thoughts, the joyful times, the laughter and the crazy adventures…and those traits in me that have been buried. It’s time to purge the unhappy. I got no more room for that.
My friends these days are a mixture of old and new, near and far. But the one thing they have in common is that I’ve made them as my real self. My heart wide open. My words unfiltered. My laughter genuine. My smiles spontaneous and my love endless.
So to all of you out there that will read this, I want to thank you. Each of you have found this post through email or on Facebook where you all mean something special to me.
Maybe we shared a funny joke, a travel adventure, a secret moment, or even an apartment.
I’ve come to see that by accepting me and being my friend you’ve all given me the best gift – the knowledge that I was always worthy just being myself. And that I’ve finally come to accept.
I sign off with this message: while I may not see you in person for many years to come, I will treasure you always for the memories we’ve shared and how they (and you) have brought me back full circle to being someone I’m proud to be.
And to some of you…I’ll see you in my dreams.