“What’s something you wish you knew how to do?” I wish I knew how to answer questions like that for a start. I never know what information they’re trying to solicit, and I don’t like to be wrong. Are they asking for lighthearted thoughts, or is this a “probe the depths of your soul” kind of query?
Anxiety prefers concrete direction.
One thought sprung instantly to mind: I wish I took things more lightly. I’m not a go-with-the-flow girl. Woman. Whatever (if you knew the mental debate that went on there, you too would push for the increase in mental laissez-faire). The point I’m making is that intensity, and not ease, is my middle name.
This, however, is hardly news or even a problem new.
Something else I wish I knew how to do: fix people. But that’s a pipedream for another day.
I wish I could fly.
I could, once upon a time, or at least, that’s what the memories of the vivid dreams I had as a child made me believe. I was so sure. It felt so real. That is, of course, the power of the dream, and yet.
Part of the reason I was convinced it was real was that learning to fly took a great deal of work. I didn’t soar through the skies with ease. It was hard freaking work. I fell. I fell a lot. And it hurt. I’d practice in the front yard, pushing off from the second step, slamming into the concrete and grass time and again before finally achieving hover. As I recall, it took a great deal of ab work to stay airborne.
I didn’t flap like a bird to move; it was more a breaststroke kind of thing. And it remained hard: if I broke concentration for even a moment, I’d fall. Sometimes, I caught myself before impact. Sometimes, I didn’t.
I also dream-practiced in the house. I’d try and fail inside, too, leaping from my bed until I was able to float near the ceiling. I even got myself off the ground at school, though only once or twice in that location.
I never soared away: I didn’t explore the neighbourhood or fly the ninety kilometres to grandma’s house. It seems to me in retrospect that the dreams were perhaps less about the soaring and more about hard work. But I digress.
I don’t know how the dreams ended. The dreams in that series were never interrupted: I never woke before the end. [i] Luckily, dreams don’t need to conclude logically. The brain simply moves on to an elsewhere. Dreamworld logic also doesn’t hold up outside. For all that I want to believe I was the girl who could fly, certain features of my adventures make that impossible.
A world made of one doesn’t seem strange when dreaming, logical hard work to get airborne notwithstanding. Still, once I reflected, the oddities became apparent.
It’s a hard truth to face, that I’m not secretly capable of flight. I’m not interested in learning to fly a plane, either. It doesn’t feel comparable: hang gliding would be more like human flight, but in the real world, desires are balanced against fears, and soaring requires height. I suppose that’s why I pick “dolphin” when I end up in reincarnation conversations: I like to swim. Dolphins also seem happy in a way most birds don’t. Though I’d make sure to stay away from the briny very-deep. I relate to the ocean depths as I do to great
[i] I often have recurring dreams. It was especially true in childhood and especially true of nightmares.