Although misleadingly beautiful and welcoming from afar, its fortification remains a secretly shrouded prison. The base exudes a familiar warmth, a picture of grace and sovereignty, like a marvelous dream furnishing eternal hope. In the cold light of reality, its tainted exterior thrives malevolently from the swallowed hopes and dreams of primordial casualties. At the world’s end; much like the anciently drafted one-dimensional maps of old, the threshold of life is halted abruptly at the verge of perdition, and my path feels less than futile.
I’ve dreamt of stumbling upon a serendipitous message-in-a-bottle; an unintended form of direction from a foreign entity that somehow steered my path abruptly off-course. Like a perplexing labyrinth with two seemingly identical dead ends, I’d run full force towards the summons and dive headfirst into everlasting utopia. I’ve envisioned it as a blessing and a guidance; a glimpse into my future through all-encompassing eyes. I’d escape the clutches of everyday normality and leap haphazardly into foreign, beautiful lands, where I would live happily ever after, dwelling in the magic that fairy tales are made of.
But if it’s okay to dream, why do I feel bound in these shackles? I continue to battle this prison, forcing my way through with telepathic intuition; sustaining on mesmerizing hope and feeding my soul’s most intimate desires. How could it simultaneously be such a fearful experience? I begin to question my trepidation.
“Dream, dear dreamer,” the voice scoffs eerily from the shadows of the whispering unknown. My apprehension reaches a grinding halt, and I finally begin to grasp that this tormented unbeliever is beginning to regard my ruthlessness and my determination.
My hands tremble, clammy with apprehension, and my blood runs slow with affliction. In this battle of wills, my subconscious begins writhing from preconceived perceptions of what’s socially accepted and I second-guess my tenacity.
“Dream,” it perseveres unsteadily louder, overcompensating for confidence with sheer volume. With long and raspy notes, the voice continues on. “It’s quite alright to dream, for without dreaming there is no hope. Dream, but only dream; nothing more. Without hope, what is there to live for?”
Entranced, I ponder and continue to listen, though it seems to be reverberating within me now. “Dream, dear dreamer, but listen well. Dream, oh dream, though not so far as to venture where there’s no return. You may very well relinquish your reality and your material worth. Deprivation from your superficial livelihood means you will lose who you are.”
Something inside me snaps, and the trance is lifted.
“No. You’re WRONG!”
“Reality will cease to exist if you push too far. You’ve done well, oh dreamer, you’ve accomplished much, precious believer,” it taunted. “You’ve pushed yourself to the brink, where only I - the fear inside - can save you. I am the mindful and sensible reality who instills this distress!”
Speechless, I drop to my knees and collapse into a kneeling position. There I braced myself for what seemed like days in a horrible reverie. Wondering alone, I’ve dreamed for years upon years about escaping my suburban stockade. Wanderlust has driven me to this point, where years of dreams have amounted to such great heights. Through all my fantasies, I never fathomed that there were infallible bars that bound me to my birthright reality; manacles that would restrain me from living out my dreams.
“Why uproot yourself? By changing jobs and selling your possessions, don’t you see what chaos you are fashioning?” offers the voice, now clearly coming from within. “Why search for true happiness when you could end up failing? Isn’t your life as comfortable as it could be? Sure, maybe that girl you’re about to marry doesn’t always make you feel like she’s the one, but those are just fairytale women you’ve dreamed of. They aren’t real; you won’t find anything better. Why strain yourself, when you can achieve the American Dream? Don’t you know life is about following the path of least resistance? Life’s already so damned hard to live anyway; you should be where you are and accept how your life is. I won’t let you venture near the edge.”
Denial is the only thought I can register, heart-wrenching screams from every inch of my soul. “I don’t believe you.” I shriek. “My destiny is meant to be much more than this white box reality. I don’t want to live my life simply based on what’s easy and what’s comfortable.”
Quivering, I push myself back onto my feet and bellow, “If anything, I wish for discomfort. Through discomfort you grow. Through anguish you are able to redefine yourself!”
Cringing, my eyes closed, the voice reared once more, in a final attempt at triumph. “Dear dreamer, you are not strong enough for a journey such as this.”
“Yes, I am!” I howled in return. “The beauty in dreaming is that nothing can trample your faith in conviction. Faith is not something anyone invests in without sacrifice, but if you believe in yourself, you can conquer the world. You will not stand in my way. I will no longer be afraid, for fear itself is nothing more than a misfortune.”
My eyes surge open, wide and unclouded. The road to nirvana has reappeared, and the air is full of redemption. And all at once I realize, the wicked aura has vanished....for now.