This summer, I came to the realization that it wasn’t someone else, wasn’t anyone else, that I longed to have this song serenaded to me by, it was myself. Well…my future self, that is. To sing this song to my middle school self. Let him know it’ll be okay, and if he wants, I won’t tell ’em his name.
Music has always been a huge factor in my life, and I may still long to have my “song” sung back to me. But as I said in my last post, I almost made the choice to not have a life for music to play a part in.
“And scars are souvenirs you never lose The past is never far Did you lose yourself somewhere out there Did you get to be a star”
I used to think I have loads of scars. But if I were honest, I don’t have scars yet. I think I still have wounds.
And that’s partially my fault for not letting them heal.
Well anyway, it’s been 5 years since I got around to not only creating new music, but updating the music section of my website…
My son recently told me that the reason he doesn’t like his dreams is because he’s alone in them.
I didn’t know what to tell him. The world’s big enough as it is, moreso when you’re four and a half.
And then you add a burgeoning subconscious that you’re only starting to navigate, and how do you come to understand who you are and process what this thing called living is when by no choice of yours, a hungry sasquatch comes into your house looking for snacks? And while that in itself is enough to cause you to question things, on top of that, the family that tends to always be there, isn’t; it’s just you, a four and a half year old kid, left alone to deal with this unprecedented situation.
What do you do as that kid?
Go hide in your bed, and find a sword.
…At least that’s what he said he did in the dream.
But more than just that one dream, what do you do as that kid having to face a reality where things seem normal until they’re not, and when you most need reassurance, comfort even, none can be found? Because you’re dreaming. And you’re alone. And you don’t know it’s a dream.
I think if I were being honest, I didn’t know what to tell him because experience has only really served to actually drive this point home. It seems like shit advice from an emotionally uninvested parent.
“Guess what kid, it’s only going to get worse in the real (waking) world. You’ll find yourself facing questionable, unprecedented situation after questionable, unprecedented situation as you get older, that’ll all seem just as jarring as a bad dream, and there will be countless of those situations where you’ll look around for comfort and reassurance, only to find yourself alone.”
Harsh… But true?
Just how much of life are you not alone in? And the more you experience life, the more it could feel like that child-like oscillation between being asleep and not knowing it, and being awake.
Between being alone, and being connected.
Being apart from.
And being a part of.
When you’re awake, you know you’re awake. Everything’s normal. But that’s only because you’ve experienced waking.
When you’re dreaming, and don’t know you’re dreaming, it feels like everything’s normal. It’s only after you awake, that you realize the experience you had prior that felt so normal (no matter how strange it got), wasn’t normal, and was the dream.
And how often in life does something feel normal (no matter how strange it gets), only for you to find out it isn’t?
How often in our lives does it feel, effectively, like we wake up?
So is it so strange that some people begin to feel like my kid does right now, and begin to despise the “dream”? But it’s not dreaming, is it, it’s an aspect of reality—the world—itself.
Ever had someone in your dream tell you it’s real life, not a dream?
How is that any different than telling someone who feels alone, that they’re not alone?
And if you can’t tell you’re dreaming when you’re dreaming, so much so that you begin to hate sleep itself because of that fact, how do you begin feeling about life after those situations where you look around for that comfort and reassurance, only to find yourself alone…again.
I think at this point, there may be a tendency to differentiate between solitude and isolation. And it’s true. They’re different things.
Growing up, there was a lot of circumstances in my life that left me to my own devices. Family of five that grew up moving around regularly; with sisters that were not only just enough older than me that there was rarely any scholastic overlap, but are also twins. This solitude was further perpetrated by having an immune deficiency disorder, one which required plenty of self reflection if only to get the help I needed, because I rarely would show signs of being sick outwardly until it was INCREDIBLY bad.
Throw in experiences and trauma in my life that further left me feeling unrelatable, and the solitude I never really minded, turned to isolation. And it never mattered how many people I connected with, or how often I was told I wasn’t alone (cue the Christians with their “but God is always with you” rhetoric), didn’t change how often I felt like a four and a half year old discovering a sasquatch in his house, hungry for snacks, and no one else at home to comfort him in this scary, unprecedented situation.
We have moments of solitude. We FEEL isolation.
And that’s the point. My kid’s not afraid of solitude. He’s afraid of being alone when he’s really scared. He’s afraid of being alone when he really shouldn’t be alone.
Being afraid of solitude is one thing. Being afraid of isolation, of being alone, that’s something else.
The Bard put it best, “If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time, then lonesome would mean nothing to me at all.”
Sometimes tomorrow is such a long time, and the dream when you’re alone—unknown to be a dream—seems to stretch on forever.
Sometimes you’re so alone, you can’t remember the sound of your own name.
I originally planned on titling this “One and Done.” Because maybe one isn’t the loneliest number, maybe it’s just the most solitary. Which would make it more prone to bouts of loneliness.
How often, do you think, has “One” struggled to find another “One”? How many suicide notes has “One” written in its lifetime?
How many suicides prayed to God for SOMETHING to wake them up only for their prayers to go unanswered. Or maybe thought the answer—the “wake up”—lay at the end of the rope, or down the barrel of the gun, or the razors edge, or the bottom of the pill container.
I can’t enter my son’s dreams and make it so he’s not alone there, but I can make damn sure I’m there for him when he needs me in waking life (yes, my daughter too…not leaving her out to dry).
I recently spent one hell of a weekend where I almost wasn’t,
because I didn’t want to be.
I almost wasn’t here, because I was going to choose NOT to be.
And…those were some of the toughest words I’ve ever written out.
To admit to that truth.
And see, one of the worst parts of being in a dream that you can’t wake up from, and don’t know is a dream, is that you don’t wake up unless someone wakes you.
It may very well be that Alonzo Quijano is awake, and Don Quixote is the dream.
And Alonzo Quijano MAY have “friends” and “family” around; but the truth is, Alonzo Quijano is alone.
His existence might as well be a dream.
Don Quixote may be the dream, but the dream isn’t alone. Even if the dream requires being awokenTO it.
Alonzo was ready to die. And die alone.
Don Quixote was ready to live. And adventure.
Even though he dies shortly after.
The thing is, Alonzo would’ve died alone. Don Quixote didn’t die alone.
It’s probably crazy. Crazy to to be alive. Crazy to hope. Crazy to dream. Crazy to keep believing in a Dulcinea that WILL return and sing your song back to you.
But I’m done with the lie that we are alone. I’m done with “life as it is…”
And you know what?
I’d rather be crazy, than dead.
And I’ll joyfully die a crazy madman who dreams he’s not alone, among other crazy madmen who dream with me.
Time to wake up, Darling.
Time to wake up. And keep dreaming the Impossible Dream.
Some time ago, I referred to Aldonza’s song sung when facing the ‘cruelest of all’–Don Quixote, after being stolen, carried off, and brutally and repeatedly raped. I associated it as that which I oft cried out to God (even when I feigned ‘proper’ polite and dutiful Christian prayers and actions, underneath my words and heart remained the same cry). If you haven’t seen it, or follow with what I’m saying, you can watch me speak here, or simply see the song clip here.
Recently—who am I kidding, repeatedly (to the point of almost being a constant) life has not been manifestingly kind. Where once excitement lay in change, in the bed now seems to be only despair.
As often as I’ve spoken—and even in symbol, representation, and connection referred to, the ‘mad knight’ Don Quixote, to seeing life as it should be and not as it is, to ‘dreaming the Impossible Dream,’ to the world being better for seeking, striving, fighting, reaching, all for the unreachable star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far, no matter how beaten and battered, no matter how scorned and riddled with scars; I can (and truthfully must) admit to presently and consistently a loss of hope.
Of late, it’s as if I am not merely struggling to keep afloat, to press on through it all, to do what I must, what I ought, what’s placed before me to do; but instead like pieces of me are being torn away, ripped out, robbed, given away like a whore for a measly scrap to get by on. Of witnessing bridges—connections in joy, and hope and love, being washed away in a flash flood (of no apparent cause but nature itself), of roots steadily unearthed without any sight of fertile soil to replant. Of opportunities and purpose fading away like phantoms, of loss and of outlets and of passions dashed.
Having hope torn apart.
Having that ‘impossible’ dream turned to shame.
And life killing that dream I dream.
Put simply, from the sweet, exciting song on my lips being this:
Change has presently rendered itself to be quite at hand both temporally and physically. I do not know what it will bring, nor where it will bring us; in fact I don’t truly know much of anything at all. What I am quite well aware of is that ‘change’ is not always neat, it’s not always tidy, and it’s not always kind.
And what I also know is myself.
And I know that where I have oft had excitement at the possibility of new, of uncharted waters, for in each, there was a bounty to be harvested, treasures and new realms and possibilities and hope and anticipation and all manner of beauty my imagination lended itself to, creating, scripting, writing my future role, the story, what could be done and would be best done; there now lay only void.
No imagined beauty.
Yet if experience has taught me anything (which it has, succeeding in keeping me foolhardy in never giving up), it is that there is an inevitable oscillation between hope and desperation. I’ve had change I feared that turned to wonder. I’ve had change I anticipated excitedly only to reveal itself to be nothing. I’ve hoped. And despaired. And hoped again, and despaired once more. I’ve discovered giftings and talents and truths about myself. Only to have no use of those which I reveled in, hoped to see manifest and used, longed to share and make known.
I’ve seen the simplest of me come out.
I’ve stared into the refining fire and accepted the face staring back at me, the reflection of my own therein, and the cruel, wicked, vile, dancing shadow I cast—growing larger and larger the closer I draw to that fire.
I’ve cried out in anguish and wretchedness that if God was whittling and pruning me down to nothing in this life to just take the last thing I have left, life itself—to just kill me off and be done with it, only to angrily hear a quiet whisper from my heart, “NEVERTHELESS, not my will, but yours be done.”
Still I dream.
Still I hope.
Still I believe in the sun, even in night.
Still I believe in the fixed guiding star that always remains, even behind the storm clouds.
And the more I fade, the more I lose, the more I witness the waves of uncertain, unknowable, untrusted, unsure change drawing closer and closer to my shore; of tethers to the here and now being cut, of friendships and opportunities and hopes and aspirations washed away; the more I stare at the fire all around me rather than the shadows behind me, the shadows of me, the more I lose sight of all which I place(d) importance in and I bear witness to the fire alone.
I used to think that what I longed for was what the fire could share, of what it could speak, and teach, and reveal, and change, and affect in and through me. I convinced myself (quite well, actually) that I desired more than anything for the fire to speak to me, to give me purpose, to answer my questions, and make itself real by proving to me that I am real.
But in a (foolishly) fleeting moment of truant honesty and flagrant, unmitigated transparency, I discovered that what I truly long for, what I have found myself in want of was the quite simply the fundamental, childlike desire simply for the presence. I didn’t find myself wanting the fire to tell me what to do, how to do it, where, and why; but merely to know its presence anywhere and at all times, to embrace me, to wrap me up.
Not for the fire to coddle me, but to swaddle me.
As easy as it would be for me to say that I don’t want someone to merely listen to me, to simply take me in as I am—to simply take me in, as easy as it would be to say that I want conversation, I want knowledge, I want activity and a place to shine and be me, I don’t.
I just want to know it’s there.
I just want to feel it.
To see it present with me in every moment and every where.
To hold me when I hurt.
Bounce me when I’m giddy.
Burn when I’m angry.
Correct when I stray.
To love regardless of my lovability.
This, I know, is undoubtedly foolish, childish, unwise. And I am indeed anticipating the time where this fleeting revelation, and bury it back deep within (yet this itself is hopeless, for as I said, I’m quite foolhardy).
For when life kills the dream I dream, I’m left with nothing but reality.
But it’s a reality that remains in spite of me, despite me. A reality which my dreams contain so many elements of. A reality any dream I dream is and can only be based on. A reality which even the best dream I dream proves itself in comparison to be just that, a dream in the face of a glorious reality.
My name is James Christian Kumpost.
I go by my middle name.
I’m a hobo gypsy who happens to be an ordained Reverend, and spend my time teaching and doing other things.
The “other things” is only if you want me to...