When I was little I would dream of running away most nights. After my mother tucked me into bed, I would sneak downstairs to the candy drawer and take out a few pieces. Not so many that she would notice but enough to keep me occupied for the next hour or so. I would carefully tiptoe back upstairs, take out my flashlight and a book, and read under my covers for hours on end. The sweetness of the candy matched the sweet release of imagination. I would enter dream worlds with the full intention of escape. Some nights, I would plot my own escape from my house. I would imagine packing a suitcase and leaving. Other nights, in a more realistic fashion, I would dream about the day I would finally be old enough to leave. College as a concept was not fully fleshed out but even then but I knew that one day I would be old enough to leave. I dreamed of never looking back.
When I went to summer camp in the 7th grade for speech and debate, my teacher told me I had great potential. I took that to mean I should probably become President one day. I took that dream and ran with it for the next seven years of my life. Children who have been made to feel powerless often gravitate towards some semblance of control. It manifests itself in different ways for different people- for me that meant taking on a dream so big and chipping away at it day by day. I did everything in my power to put myself in the best possible position to make it happen. I thought about it constantly. That dream fuelled my drive. It gave me something to run towards and not just away from.
Of course, back then I didn’t realize how much shrinking would be required for me to get there. I didn’t realize how much it would hurt to be the only one. I didn’t realize that one day, I would suddenly come to the realization that, no matter how hard I worked, how loudly I spoke, how invisible I would continue to feel. As an queer Asian American woman, I didn’t realize that that the louder I screamed, the more silenced I would feel.
All of a sudden, the power I thought I was running towards turned into another place of helplessness. And all the while, I also began to come to understanding that we can never really run away from the demons that haunt us because every away you run to is just another place where you will be hurting.
I wanted to stop hurting. I wanted new dreams. I wanted new dreams because when I wasn’t having dreams I was having nightmares.
So, I found new dreams.
I dream about a world where everyone goes to therapy.
I dream about a world where no one needs to go to therapy because we will come to a new understanding of love that is defined not by selfishness, but a dedication to another person’s emotional and spiritual growth. A new understanding of love that decenters the heteronormative exclusivity of romance. A new understanding of care that is not corporatized or commercialized or individualized. I dream of a world where we are all holding each other’s hearts and no one is broken.
I dream about a world where no one has to live on borders because there are no borders. There are no nation states and no militaries meant to protect them. I dream of a world where no one is privileged above another, no one language or culture or skin tone or accent or gender or lack of identification to one or another. That does not mean I want to flatten out our brilliant hues, only that they all be allowed to shine as brightly as they possibly could.
I dream of world where every person can shine as brightly as God had intended them to. I dream of a world where that is not even a question, where the resources needed, the food, shelter, education, and all the nuanced and specific needs that a human being has can be met.
I dream of a world where God is not used to kill but to teach us how to love each other better.
I dream of a world where my little sister feels safe. I dream of a world where little kids like me didn’t have to lie awake at night, consumed by that feeling of uncertainty, desperately fighting the loneliness and sadness with whatever tools they have on hand, even when they are not that much healthier, even when those tools for survival will hurt you long after the surviving is over with.
I dream of a world where little kids like me didn’t feel torn between two countries and cultures. Two tongues and continents.
I dream of a world where my mother does not start sentences with “do you know how much I’ve sacrificed….” I dream of a world where she recognized that her happiness was and is important. That a woman’s place in this world is not to give and give and give and give until she has nothing left for herself. Until the unhappiness spills out in violent and abusive ways that by no means represent her magnificent heart, but still hurts the people around her all the same.
I do not dream of a world without pain. I dream of a world where we can all recognize that running away from pain will only cause more pain. I dream of a world where we can embrace our resilience. I also dream of a world where it is not so needed.
I dream all day and do not know when night comes
I dream so much I do not know if I am living in the “real world”
So when you tell me to come back to it
I have no idea how
Instead I gently tell you
Join me in my dream world
This site is part of my building this dream world. A place where I can write down some of my thoughts and share some of the projects (like zines and podcasts) that I’ve worked on. Feel free to take a look around~