When I was fifteen years old, I was kicked out of the house and left to bounce around through a total of 26 foster homes. The unstable nature of my life left me skittish, especially given I had no control over whether I was going to stay or go in any one given place. My inability to put down physical roots led me to manufacture emotional ones via my dreams and fantasies. I created myself an imaginary boyfriend who would hold me close on those nights when the dark closed in around me and threatened to pull me in. He was extremely athletic, compassionate, gentle and intelligent. When I didn’t know how to deal with the adult situations my lifestyle demanded, despite my young age, he was always able to lead me in the right direction. Most importantly, no matter what I did, or how I did it, my imaginary boyfriend never gave up on me, never stopped loving me, and seemed to think I was the most beautiful girl he’d ever laid eyes on.
Looking back on it now, I doubt very much if I would be here today if it weren’t for him. That may seem high praise to give to a product of my imagination, but I fear it’s very true. When you’re fifteen years old, have been kicked out of the house, and are now finding that no foster home will keep you more than a couple of months, you can start to feel like the most unloved person on the planet. My imaginary boyfriend prevented that feeling of being unwanted from becoming a primary focus, and it’s possible that in so doing, he actually also saved my life. That’s a formidable feat for a figment of my imagination to accomplish, and I believe it’s also a strong testament to the true power of our dreams.
When we’re children, we believe anything is possible. Ask any little one what they are going to be when they grow up, and you’ll get answers like “famous singer”, “movie star”, and “astronaut.” If you venture into your average University class, however, a place where each and every individual in attendance is supposedly there to pursue their ultimate career goal, you’ll find the answers are far less ambitious. Things like “I’m just tying to get through my internship”, or “If I can manage to turn this paper in on time, I’ll be so sleep deprived, I won’t be able to go into work until late into the 23rd century,” are far more likely to be offered as answers to your question. Why? Because we are taught to kill dreams with “realism”, and in so doing, we forget we ever possessed the ability to really dream in the first place.
I know for myself, I’ve allowed circumstances to convince me some of my most sacred dreams would never be. The truth is, however, that nothing is impossible until you believe it to be impossible. Providing I’m still willing to believe I can make my dreams a reality, the possibility exists that I can absolutely do just that. In order to prove to myself that this theory of mine does hold true, I’m going to spend the next year plus achieving every dream I can make happen. At the end of the year plus, I will pull together a list of all the dreams I made into a reality as my own personal proof that any dream you believe truly is yours to achieve.
And yes, I know it sounds sappy. Sometimes, I need to be sappy. Get over it. Or I’ll come over to your house and beat you up with my dream list.