A penny for your dreams, little one?
When you wish upon a star, what do you wish for?
It’s been seven weeks since I was here last, but my hands haven’t been idle.
Sitting here on my Quarterdeck, looking out over what I have achieved so far,
I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.
My progress may be slow, but I’ve reached a point where I can see,
actually see, the progress I make from week to week.
Perhaps that is why I’ve spent so much time thinking about dreams,
and about daring to live your dream, lately.
Since I first painted and decorated the Quarterdeck, I’ve only popped in here when I’ve had something new to add to the logbook. I like the idea of having a log where I can keep track of things like milestones reached, special events, news to be announced etc. And while I’m at it, I like to take the opportunity to have a cuppa and a chinwag.
Last time, on top of dropping a few links, I spilled some beans about my 2017 New Year’s resolution and the project I’ve been working on since then. In secret. Well, almost in secret. I’ve told you some of it, but by and large what I’m up to is still pretty much my secret.
Over the past seven weeks, I’ve kept on working as much as my condition allows (very little). I’ve managed to raise a few more walls, paint and decorate a few more areas and spent some time trying to decide what I like and what I don’t like. And every day I’ve marvelled at the fact this is really happening. After two years doing “invisible work” every day, it is truly fascinating how the progress I make now is clearly visible. I wasn’t joking when I said I have to pinch myself to check it’s not just a dream.
Just a dream…
Isn’t it funny how we use that word? Dream. A dream. To dream. Most of the time we think of dreams as things that are way better than just good. Something for us to dream of and strive for.
THERE'S DREAMS AND THERE'S DREAMS
For me, Dreams are first and foremost my Grandma’s gorgeous home made biscuits tasting of vanilla, love and Swedish summer. Their sweet scent mingled with those wafting from the abundance of slow cooked peasant’s food , baked goods and freshly brewed coffee on offer in my Grandparents’ homely kitchen. To me, it was a veritable watering hole; a place of physical and spiritual nourishment where even the loftiest of my dreams felt perfectly achievable.
The best Dreams were always the ones my Grandmother so lovingly made.
Alas, inasmuch as my Grandma’s Dreams were the tastiest by far, there are more dreams than those we can fish out of a biscuit tin in this world. Many runners, for instance, dream of doing a Bannister and run the dream mile. Something only the fleet of foot can hope to achieve, as it means running a mile in less than four minutes. Sir Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old neurology student, was the first one to see this dream come true when he ran the distance in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. The naturally talented runner set the first record in the city of dreaming spires. On the Oxford University tracks on Iffley Road in May 1954 to be precise.
Later that year, at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, he shaved another second off his dream time when he beat his rival John Landy in what was billed the miracle mile. The new sub-four-minute mile records set a new standard for middle-distance athletes all over the world; but although we’ve seen some 2000 (ish) runners managed to do a Bannister by now we still call it a dream mile.
But we’re not done with the dream words yet. Did you know that we have hundreds of words, phrases, phrasal verbs, idioms and expressions in the English language that contain some variant of the word dream? And have you ever considered that almost all of them are used to denote something we like, or something we think is really good. People look for their dream house, want to marry (or date) the person of their dreams and they daydream of living the dream.
Nevertheless, there are times when the same word is used to signpost that something is really bad or inappropriate. To be a dreamer, to be chasing a pipe dream or to be living in a dream world, for instance, are all examples of things most people wouldn’t dream of doing. Unless you’re a dreamer dreaming of the right things that is. But then again, you wouldn’t be called a dreamer if you did. You’d be a visionary person. And that, my friend, is a very good thing.
OUR WORDS REVEAL OUR VALUES
As most of us, I grew up imprinted with the Disney dream. It doesn’t matter who you are, Jimini Cricket sang. When you wish upon a star anything your heart desires may very well come true.
And it’s not just Disney. The whole dream factory was designed to be a giant dream machine. With clever PR and packaging, they regurgitate that same message that says no dream is too extreme as long as we believe it may come true. As long as…
Unfortunately, outside of Hollywood/Bollywood the notion that anyone can dream of just about anything is not exactly rooted in reality. Rather the opposite.
We tend to limit people’s dreams and tell them just how much they are allowed to dream of based on a complicated set of arbitrary rules and norms we’ve designed. In music, for instance, it is seen as a positive thing if kids learn how to play a decent instrument and how to hold their own in a dinner table conversation about classical composers. For the right kind of kid, this kind of extra-curricular schooling is a testament of good upbringing. And it looks good on a CV or Uxbridge application too.
But what if the kid is dreaming of a future as a popstar?
Hell to the no! If them kids are going to dream of becoming musicians, they best be starting out as natural talents. And they had better be dreaming of violins, lutes and other instruments you’d expect to find in a philharmonic orchestra. But even then the little virtuoso would be expected to get a back-up qualification. Something to fall back on when music fails to pay the bills.
Children with other creative talents, like art or dancing, face even worse odds. There are often very few ways for them to hone their skills unless their parents can, and will, pay for private tuition. But the dancers are subjected to the same evaluation that places classical before contemporary and makes one posh and accepted and the other a waste of time. For artists it’s even worse. It’s very posh indeed to own a piece of art, but being the artist? Nuh-uh! Everybody knows artists are smelly bohemian lefties in charity shop clothes. A bunch of hopeless dreamers living in a dream world.
Just like the wannabe rock stars, pop princesses, rappers and street dancers.
I wonder what happens to kids who dream of becoming hedge fund managers, stock brokers or entrepreneurs rather than musicians, dancers or artists? I wonder whether there are types of finance or riches that are considered bad or not good enough to dream of?
I’ve come across, befriended and worked with quite a few number crunchers and money makers in my days and one thing that I found interesting about them was that no one ever seemed to piss on their dreams. No one rubbished their ambitions or told them their dreams were too big. Too wild. Funny that.
Some people dream of cloud surfing their way towards massive Success and Fortunes.
None of them had been told they’d need an extra qualification as a backup. Something to fall back on should the stock market crash or their business go into liquidation. They were never told rich is not a profession or that they were chasing a pipe dream. Because people cloud surfing their way towards Success and Fortunes are considered visionaries. Provided they were born to money, of course. Poor people dreaming of Success and Fortunes are just common dreamers who ought to know better.
And here we are.
Outside of the dream factory, dreams can be considered good and proper or bad and inappropriate. Our words reveal our values and our values reveal the state of our society. It is almost impossible to find any clear cut case for something all people can dream of as they see fit without interference from the norm police.
– But, Evalena! We can’t very well have a world where everybody dream of becoming popstars!
No, we can’t. But we can’t have a world full of bankers and doctors either. We need all sorts of people in all sorts of professions and positions for our society to flourish. And to be honest, I don’t think we need to fear a situation where everybody all of a sudden want to be exactly the same as everybody else. We’re all human after all.
Wouldn’t it be nice, though, if we could just scrap all these ideas about what is better. Which life is more precious. More worthy of acceptance? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could let our grandchildren inherit a world where their lives aren’t constantly weighed and measured in terms of money or dated norms that serve no good purpose?
A world where people not only are allowed, but actively encouraged, to dream.  A world where people’s dreams don’t need to pass no external verification or quality assurance validation. Wouldn’t that be something?
WHEN YOU WISH UPON A STAR
Two little dreamers side by side in the grass.
A real dream for a bedridden storyteller such as myself, would be a world where our individual differences were seen as our strength. A world where you are free to dream; and where you can keep growing, try your wings and find your place in life. And all of this without having to negotiate a slew of rotten values that try to sift us all into suffocating pigeon holes.
A real dream vision.
Which brings me back to my (almost) secret project and this old building site where we keep running into each other. I’ve already mentioned that this domain is a small cog in what I’m hoping to turn into a bigger machinery. Did I say cog? I suppose it’s safer to say it’s the hub I’ll be building my machinery around.
I’ve bought a number of domains over the years, but this one was my first. I was still living in Sweden back then, and moving countries was very much my happy dream. I used to envision a future in which I could take my five little offsprings out of the suffocating pigeon hole and find us a new cote in England. A dream so wild and crazy I had to surround myself with vision boards and paraphernalia that could help me focus on the dream. And this domain was part and parcel of that strategy.
Here I got my first professional email address and it came with a signpost pointing towards my destination. Here I could blog about my dreams, plans and preparations. Here I could hide my deepest desires and biggest fears. All my insecurities and all the thoughts and feelings I desperately wanted to share with someone. I had been blogging for years, but I would never have posted a anything as private as the kind of posts I wrote here on my own domain. It became my digital vault. The space where I could write whatever I wanted without publishing a single post.
I had finally found a journal that I alone could access. No one could take it away from me, read it or as much as look at it without my consent.
It’s been about 20 years since I bought this domain, and I guess I have treated it more like a harvester than an elegant vault. I’ve moved it between differnt Internet Service Providers in Sweden and Britain, and I’ve hosted it on a number of different web hotels. For years, it served me like a piece of machinery and was instrumental in a number of processes like my:
- planning and organising the move from Sundsvall, in Sweden, via Gothenburg to London;
- managing all private communication and the calendars for my family;
- applying for jobs and courses, and accepting or rejecting offers;
- resigning from positions that no longer served a purpose;
- launching a company that grew into something I am still very proud of even though my health forced me to pull out;
- actually setting up a school that was quality approved, listed on the DfEd registry and accredited to deliver Post -16 programmes up to level 7;
- starting an education management consultancy where we delivered management, quality assurance and internal verification services to private colleges;
- offering small business startup and marketing services;
- assist spoonies with fundraising activities to help fun accessibility equipment; and
- launching a mentoring project focussing on tailor made, holistic education for young people excluded from mainstream education.
Right, I’d better stop there before the list starts to look exhausting. What I wanted to show you was not so much what I have done as how instrumental this domain turned out to be in my personal journey. A catalyst, if you will. Somehow, buying this domain set me off on a journey that far surpassed even my wildest dreams. I think the domain helped me establish a professional sense of self that I had never had before, and that this helped give me the strength to finally take my kids on the dream adventure I wanted them to have.
This proto domain of mine have had to work hard and do whatever was needed for us to get where I wanted us to go. I saw her (she’s always been a her) as my harvester and as my working horse. Sometimes she was my tool. My instrument. Like me, she had a function to fill and that was all. I don’t think I ever considered doing something fancy with her. It never dawned on me that she could shine if I gave her a good seeing to and put a fresh coat of paint on her. That maybe she had actually deserved that chance.
Truth be told, I ddn’t even see her as anything other than the mother domain that would carry, feed and raise all the child domains when I started working on this new project two years ago. Just like when I started Project Out Of Granloholm, I began this my last great adventure with a lot of planning. I made blueprints, diagrams and flow charts trying to visualise the project and the Big Picture. I needed to take a huge number of texts and pictures and turn them into one cohesive body. A collage made up of many different building blocks that were not really meant to fit together.
It wasn’t until I realised I already had the solution in my stable that I saw what I had to build. My trusty old steed would become my new dream machine!
It took a complete change of plans and a major box shuffling operation to make it work. And I would have to make a completely different collage than the one I had pictured for this to work. But as I was lying here in my bed, comparing the two blueprints I had drawn up, I realised I liked this new version better. A lot better actually. I looked at the new concept and it felt like my dream would come true.
For some reason, I still feel that way.
And this is why I’m going to love you and leave you now. In true dream factory style, I reach out to you and ask: What do you dream of when you wish upon a star? Morning dreams come true, they say, so come along with me and let’s make our dreams come true. Together.
Much love and many blessings,
- Peasant’s food is my artist son’s name for heartily home cooked food. His favourite fare.
- I do believe we should all be allowed to dream the wildest and craziest dreams we can as long as we don’t hurt anyone in the process. And by hurt, I don’t mean ruffled feathers.
- On this page, I have purposefully managed to squeeze in the word dream 94 times! This is a part of my dream campaign daring you to dream bigger. If you too want to start working on your dreams, whether you know what they are or need to start by working it out, I suggest you click on the link here. Or down below. I promise it’s one of those once in a lifetime dream opportunities… 😉
After 25 years of anonymous blogging on a number of free platforms, Evalena Styf decided to go pro and put all of her writings on a private wall. In her personal blog, she primarily writes about personal and professional development; about living the dream; and about how to keep on living and loving when everything seems to be falling apart.
Evalena’s ambition is for All of Me to become a source of inspiration, motivation, joy and love; but she would also like to see the blog become a space where we can talk, teach and learn together. Using her knack for storytelling, Evalena dives into her pool of personal and professional experiences to bring a wide range of difficult and diverse topics to the surface; e.g. funkophobia, social exclusion, chafing societal norms, mental & physical health issues, racism, poverty, identity, creativity, nerdiness, lusting for life and longing for death.
If you want to get in touch with Evalena, you can find all the contact details in this linktree.
FINISHED READING? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO NEXT?
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
What is your favourite kind of dream?
The question of the day is (surprise, surprise) related to dreams. I’ve already told you about my favourite kind of Dreams: the sweet biscuits my Grandma used to bake. Would you mind telling me about yours? Please, let me know in the comment section below. If you don’t want your response to show up on the site, just start your message with the word ANONYMOUS and it will be our secret.