I dream constantly, but most are just flashes that I vaguely, if it all, remember. A lot have to do with practical, everyday things or things so unreal they mean little. I know my brain moves ninety-to-nothing at all times, and sleep is no different.
But occasionally a dream is so connected to reality, that I forget I’m supposed to be asleep. This was one such dream.
We should first put aside that something like this is so unlikely to happen in my office that it would be laughable if not slightly profound.
I was so deeply involved in work, digging so far into solving someone’s content delivery problem, that I didn’t see or hear them enter the office. Boisterously, as if just leaving a party, they all came into my quad, looking for a coworker who wasn’t at his desk. At realizing he wasn’t there, they were suddenly all around me, looking across the office in search of their friend.
It was a group of drag performers, decked out in everything shiny and bright, all laughing and smiling—except one. I could instantly tell that she was different. For her, this wasn’t drag—it was life. She wasn’t putting on a costume to be someone else, but to be herself—despite the body that carried her.
Overcoming her apparent timid nature, she mustered up a short burst of boldness, and with one breath she forced out: “Excuse me sir? I’m just coming to terms with who I am, and part of being comfortable in my own skin is being able to talk to strangers about liking what I see in the mirror.”
I was a bit surprised, but it was as if she were in some 12-step program of self-acceptance, and this was step five. I was happy to oblige, though a bit uncertain of how much help I might be. I stopped typing and turned around to face her directly, as if ready to give a lecture:
“I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask about being comfortable in my own skin, or liking what’s in the mirror.
When I imagine myself doing something or being somewhere, I don’t see this (lots of gesturing around my face and body). Whenever I think of myself from outside of my body, this is not the person I see. So my body is a bit foreign to me, as well.”
It was then that I realized that maybe I could be of some help, since I could in some ways relate. So I went on:
“But what I do know, is that as long as what you leave behind is beauty and that what you project to the world comes from here (pointing to heart), then that’s all that matters. As long as you know that what you’re sharing is beautiful and that it matters to even one person—that you make just one person in this world happy—then you’ll be fine.
Just exude beauty and share nothing but joy. That’s when you’ll love yourself.
Yeah, I know you probably feel it goes a bit deeper for you. You think this (I gesture to her face and body) is a walking reminder to the world that your outside doesn’t necessarily match what’s in your heart or head. Maybe you think people will never see the real you, never understand you, or worse…hate you?
But you know what? Fuck ’em! Fuck them and their mama, too! Because let me tell you: what you’re leaving behind here is beautiful. It does matter, and you do make people happy. Own it, and love yourself.”
This is when I woke up. It was so quick, short, and real. I never even got to hear or see much of her response, beyond a growing smile. But I meant every word.
Life is short. Ignore the hate, ignore those who don’t understand or appreciate you, and the rest will fall into place.
People who spend their time denigrating others are covering for their own weaknesses, not pointing out yours. Those who try to rule your life with their beliefs do so not because they’re certain of those beliefs, but because of a deep-seated fear they may be proven wrong. Hate is always bred in weakness, not strength.
So be outrageous if that’s you! Sparkle, shine, and glitter! Or be eternally calm and quiet if that’s you. Read a book on Friday night! Just own it. But beyond all: find, create, and share something beautiful while you’re here. There’s nothing more courageous in our world than embracing joy.