I remember having a dream.
In it, I was in the backseat of a car with some of my friends, driving through a forest late at night, coming back from an event. As we’re cruising down the road, I glance out the window (of the passenger side of the car, no less. I even remember that).
All of a sudden, I see a barrage of meteors in the sky.
And for a brief and infinite moment, I flew into the night.
The universe poured and gravity pulled and I was soaked to my soul with the magnificence of it all.
It was the night sky of Mammoth ski trips, seventh grade science camp, solitary bike rides in Cambridge back to my flat when I would frequently see shooting stars on consecutive days. The Cheshire cat sliver of a smile when I saw the moon in a different hemisphere for the first time. My sister telling me she forgot to tell me to look at the night sky one night because I would have loved it. The lovers I’ve kissed during the Perseids that fall on my birthday.
I love space.
And I love this earth.
In my dream, I tried to get my friends to drive back to where the sky wasn’t shrouded by trees, but I was the only person who saw it, so we arrived back in the city centre shortly after. I remember that the lightrail had just finished running for the night and people were crowding around calling Lyfts, and when I opened my app it was impossible to hail a ride.
So I couldn’t go back into the night sky.
What made this dream (from at least a year ago) unusual was that I remembered anything at all. Normally I don’t even remember that I have dreams; my sleep yields no answers to the mysteries of my mind, regrettably. But I did remember this one, and I racked my brain for what it could mean.
I landed in a similar place to where I was after the events that sparked the first allegory of the cave.
I am unique.
I am not concerned with the material world.
I see the beauty and magic in all these moments of time and space.
I have the capacity to peel back my understanding of reality to reveal deeper truths.
I am alone.
Today, I am 27. And this dream came back to me suddenly because, here I am. One year older, so much wiser, and so deeply humbled by how much I continue to learn every day; by the strength and resiliency of our communities; by my friends who see view me with far greater clarity than I can ever see myself.
Here I am.
While I live fully present, however, I’ve been increasingly feeling like I’ve been waiting for something my whole life.
Not passively waiting either, but chasing something. Every fiber of my being yearns for this something. It aches for this something. I feel its absence and it pulls me inward like a black hole, holding light only in how you imagine a black hole to look like. (Because you can’t see it and yet in your mind you’re picturing something.)
Sometimes the black hole holds the darkness, enveloping me into a nice, cozy despair.
Sometimes it’s the light at the end of the cave, pushing me onward.
For 27 years I’ve moved through life with grace as I carried the twin burdens of my yin and yang beneath the surface of who I want to convey to the world. My depression would not be so deeply felt if my exuberant joy did not make me believe. My optimism would be tepid if my pain were merely skin deep.
It is who I am. Black holes would not exist without glittering galaxies.
This past quarter, I have been methodically taking apart myself in therapy to see where there are holes that need to be filled. It is hard, rewarding, painful work. My projects and engagements over the past year have consumed and confused me. I remain a pulsating ball of yarn in the shape of a woman. Everything in my life is a squiggly line. Every day I have questions and doubts and apprehension.
Every day I believe, in my core, that this is the right path for me.
But for all the other aspects of me, I am still alone.
What am I chasing?
I think I want someone who sees that noctilucent night sky and wants to stop the car and run there with me. Someone who is there in the trip with me, descending into the depths of the earth and re-emerging through the other side in a journey of divine comedy. Someone who looks at me better than I see myself and says:
I see you.
And I am here for you.
Let me fly not into the night but with him. I want to strike my soul against another’s and fan the spark into a flame, feeding it with all my capacity to do so. When it’s over, I want to know that I did all that I could to keep the fire alive. And I’ll know that for a moment, however brief or infinite, the fire kept me warm.
After all, what’s more magnificent than a supernova?
(Artwork by Kaye Blegvad)