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Wiley Wandering

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Dreams of Freedom: An Impossibility in a World of Inconsideration

I recently had a friend tell me that when I was asleep I had said to her that “I can see myself in my dreams.” I wondered what I could have meant when I said that. Was it my vanity revealing itself, some preoccupation with seeing myself? Was it a throwaway statement, so obvious it wasn’t worth unpacking beyond the fact that everyone probably stars in their own dreams. But then I realized that, because of the work I do it might resonate a bit deeper if I dared to go there. So, I dare to go…

I find solace at times escaping the pain of life through my sleep. And yes, when I can avoid nightmares that make us wish we had never lay our heads down, my dreams are a pleasant escape. I once wrote a poem about the solace that can be found in dreams.


Dreams of Reality by J.W. Wiley


It's okay to dream
for dreams are silver lined hopes
and if we have wisely learned the ropes
we will not dwell on them upon awakening.

Yet in the not forsaking of our dreams
for what we deem
for what society deems
as reality
we may come to realize the finality of the fact
that maybe,
just maybe,
we are sleeping through our reality
and awake in our dreams
and things are never what they seem
which makes it even more okay
to dream


Now, no doubt there are so many dimensions to the various ratios that reflect the probability that most of my dreams will be more positive than negative. I could lose energy over an argument with a friend, an academically struggling child of mine, heartbreak from love or what I thought was love, a job loss, and carry that tweaked energy into any given night’s thought. However, losing energy to those types of moments is called being human. At some point the experience of some degree or variation of that type of energy loss will occur and hence, should be expected by everyone. But I wondered how it must feel to go to bed with the possibility of any of these occurrences looming in your subconscious—threatening to morph into a dream—along with the reality that beginning the next morning, you have the possibility of those occurrences occurring, alongside something more daunting. That thought threatens to shatter the sensibilities.

If you are born very different, and understand that you live in a society that far too often sees and even worse, has framed you as less than, is it possible for you to be free in your dreams? I know an oppressed person can dream of freedom, but these dreams of freedom don’t guarantee them freedom from experiencing images of their disenfranchisement when their eyelids close. I’ve never had a dream about struggling to walk, or drive, or reproduce/make love, or read, or write, or laugh/cry? If I had I’m sure I would have considered it a bad dream/nightmare just because I couldn’t do something or lived in a society that said I couldn’t. I’ve never had a bad dream about expectations of my intellectual ability or courage, physicality or economic means.

Have you ever considered what types of dreams different people have? If you know the peace you find in slumber, why have you not stopped and considered how peacefully others may/may not sleep? I know, most of us just haven’t done that, but does that mean we shouldn’t? Wouldn’t we want others to reflect on that part of our reality? Is it possible that if we all attempted to consider the serenity of one another’s dreams, awakening to genuinely care how each other slept, rested, refreshed, that we might walk more “awake/aware” through our intersecting lives, resulting in a consciousness that defaults to care.

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