the incurable dreamer

my dreams are my disease, chasing them my only option

a storm so perfect

I am a dreamer – an incurable one.

I have never felt like I belong, or that I am where I am meant to be.  Never.  When I was a kid, I often sat contemplating, dreaming and imagining what existed beyond the desolate fields of the prairie town in which I lived.  Beyond captured my imagination and grabbed hold of my soul, and as though it knew what I needed, it was always whispering, calling.  In stillness and chaos, I could hear it.  Silently I carried those whispers like fuel and found solace in the step I knew I would one day take.  Even then, I understood that I was destined to harbour an ache and long for the unknown, but for reasons, I couldn’t quite understand.  I just knew that Beyond offered something necessary and that listening was vital to my well-being – it was what would save me.

The ache of profound sorrow that resides inside of me when I am still is indescribable. In normalcy, most people find comfort; I do not.  I long to feed my soul excerpts of beauty, made possible only because I dared to step to the other side of caution and risk it all.  My dream has always been to make impossible, possible.

Working just to amass security for a future not guaranteed scares me more than death – upon retirement is not when I wish to be issued my licence to live.  For years, though, my day-to-day consisted of preparations for precisely that.  Blindly living, void of purpose – carrying wishes in one hand and failure in the other, was my normal.  When I would look towards the horizon, Beyond would glance over, hold my stare, plead with me, and then regrettably turn away.  I had given up on myself, and so had it.

The ache intensified and I could no longer see past the relentless pulse of regret.  I was merely existing, imprisoned in a world not meant for me, unable to escape.  Each breath was a painful reminder of the life I hadn’t dared reach for and the one smothering my soul.

Then, in a twist of fate, two fronts collided and formed a storm so perfect, it forever changed my life and taught me the lessons I desperately needed.

I learned that, without notice, ‘goodbye’ can become forever.  That ‘see you later’ is an expectation, not a guarantee.  That no matter how hard you wish, the seat beside you will never again hold the soul of the one lost.  I learned that people don’t always come back.  He didn’t.

I learned that there is beauty in devastating heartbreak.  That to love someone to the point of despair is a gift.  That there is so much to gain if you just find the courage to step through the pain.  That to love so deeply is my strength and my power.  I learned that if pain changes you, it was worth it.  She was.

So, with the understanding that life is fragile and merely a fleeting moment, I began to pull myself from the abyss of all-consuming darkness and started looking up.  Every day I remembered the forever goodbye I hadn’t anticipated and used it as motivation to go after what I had long desired.  He had dared, and it cost him, but regret isn’t found in daring to live, it’s found in not.

Understanding that even in the darkest of places I still had an obligation to myself changed everything.  I was alive.  He wasn’t.

So, instead of surrendering to the pain, I accepted how gravely my heart hurt, faced it and rebuilt myself on a foundation of appreciation, strength and purpose.  Even in pain, there is meaning, and I understood the reason for mine.  Piece by piece I put myself back together and became a person I could be proud of.  As much as I loved her, I began to love myself.

That storm, that horrible storm, is one I refuse to let go.  Forever I will hold on, not to dwell, but because I never want to relinquish my strength, forget the value of a single breath or the significance of time.

Tragedy and heartbreak inspired my words to meet paper and my dreams to meet possibility.  That little girl who was long lost came back, and she now stands on the shore looking towards the horizon with renewed hope.  She has her arm out and is daring to reach with no regard for consequence.  To feel whole, she must not only reach but step.

Understand, that one day, while you are sitting down to dinner with your family, or are safe in the arms of the ones you love, I will be out there, far away, touching something unfamiliar, and my soul will be on fire.  I will be happy.  And I will be where I belong.

As I sit typing this post, I feel the ache.  It’s always there.  Accompanying it now, though, are familiar whispers.   Above all the voices and noises around me, I can hear them, and they are louder than they have ever been.

Beyond is calling and beyond is where I must go.

There simply is no time to wait.

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49 Comments

  1. I don’t have words, this is too beautiful.

  2. Kim

    Tanya, I was so moved by this post. Your writing is so honest that I could really connect with those words and emotions. You are so right about pain and its ability to create meaning and eventually mould who we are. As one half of a retired couple who’s life has been turned around in a way that was unexpected, I totally agree with the idea of not saving everything up (LIFE, money, experiences, etc) for when you retire. It’s a fallacy that we are conditioned to believe. Because of the ‘storms’ in my life, my husband and I are living a very different life to the one we had planned and it’s allowing us to grow and accept in ways that we would not have had the opportunity to do, had we led a ‘normal’ life. You are a brave soul, always reaching beyond, for there are many that can not handle the unknown, or at least they THINK they can’t handle it and cling to security even when they’re not entirely happy with it. I don’t know what your storms were but kudos to you for allowing them to awaken the possibilities. Great piece of writing! 👏😊

    • the incurable dreamer

      Kim, you are so lovely, and I just love ya. I am sorry that you and your husband have had to adapt to the unexpected, but it is obvious to me that you do it with so much grace and positivity. You have no choice but take from it all that you can and enjoy it for what it is. So many wouldn’t, but of course, you do.

      My dad and stepmom are the same age, have been together for 30 years. A couple of months after she retired (3 years ago) her breast cancer came back in her bones (she is terminal), and my dad is now a year into a cancer diagnosis that is not as simple as first thought. My heart breaks for them, they should be living and be travelling as they had always dreamed, but now they are consumed by appointments and duelling treatment schedules. Like, how and why? My point is, waiting for what might never be is not what I want to do. Right now is the moment I have, and that’s the only thing I know for sure. I need to make the most out of it, now.

      You are such a beautiful soul, Kim, and I am so thankful that you are here, your support and encouragement means so much to me. All the best to you and your husband! Big hugs and lots and lots of love!

  3. Rina

    Wow, this is powerful! Good job!

  4. This is one of the most moving, heartbreaking, inspiring, authentic, beautiful things I have read in I can’t tell you how long. Tanya. Jesus christ. I have goosebumps, tears streaming down my face and an ache in my heart.

    But you- with your unfathomable resilience and heart- you are an inspiration. You are a force of nature, an unstoppable current forging your way through pain and disappointment with so much grace and steadfast determination… I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anything like it before.

    If you ever doubt your capacity to impact people, to inspire and move us to the point of feeling what we all crave when we read others’ writing, read this comment and then read the sentence below, and then read this comment again…

    “When I would look towards the horizon, Beyond would glance over, hold my stare, plead with me, and then regrettably turn away. I had given up on myself, and so had it.”

    I’ll end with this. Go, ride that current to wherever your heart tells you to go. You will have great adventures, you will explore and feel more alive than you ever have.

    But I will say this, your leap doesn’t have to lead you down a path you walk alone, unless that is what you want. You can also, when the time is right, walk along side your family, the tribe YOU choose. And you can be in the arms of someone who loves you and who you love. The right person will show up at exactly the right time if that is what you want. Because I truly believe, when you commit to feeding your soul and tossing caution to the undercurrent, your dreams will meet their maker.

    You are meant for great things. I think you are finally realizing that you always had wings, you just didn’t quite have the courage to use them. But there is not doubt in my mind…

    Now you do.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Brooke, I just can’t seem to form an adequate response to this comment. I don’t have to tell you what it means to me; I know you know. Some people come along so unexpectedly in life; it’s not until you pause, stand quietly in a moment, again feeling the breeze of possibility that you realize what you were even missing before they did. You have changed me and inspired me to plot a new course. I see myself in you; you are my reflection, and what I see before me are all the impossible things I am destined to make possible. To say that your presence in my life is a gift would be a gross understatement. You are air that I never want to stop breathing in. No matter where I am in this world, your words will whisper, and remind me to keep reaching and to keep moving forward. You have helped me find the courage to use my wings, never forget that. Thank you for being you and for being the friend I could never have imagined. I am one of the luckiest people in the world…that I know for sure.

  5. Shara Haggett

    You, my girl, are a brilliant writer and an amazing person. One of my all time favourites in my lifetime, I am a better person for knowing you and miss the hell out of you! I hope you have the most incredible adventures and your dreams meet their maker. You truly deserve the very best in life, and I hope our paths cross again soon. I need some Tanya time in my life!

    • the incurable dreamer

      Shara, you know how much I love you, but I will remind you anyway. I love you and adore you so very much and will forever remain grateful that all those years ago our paths crossed. How lucky am I? You too are one of my absolute favourites ever; my soul lights up when I am in your presence. I miss you so so much and hate that there are so many miles between us. We need to find a way, that’s all there is to it. I know we will. Tanya/Shara time is much-needed, so I am throwing it out to the universe to make it happen. You have always been there for me, encouraging me and believing in me, and I can’t thank you enough. Honestly, I could not love you more. Thanks for being you, and for being my friend. I wouldn’t want it any other way. The biggest of hugs…until I can give you a real one! xoxoxo

  6. Ann

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing this powerful message.

  7. My favorite mornings now are those when I get to read something new you have written. This piece is achingly beautiful, raw and vulnerable, courageous and empowering. I love and admire that you don’t run from pain or try to quell it, but you embrace it and allow it to teach you and give you freedom. You see, experience and live all aspects of life, not just the ones that feel good; you are true bravery and true beauty. You inspire me to be a better writer and a better person, for myself and for those I love. These words, “I long to feed my soul excerpts of beauty, made possible only because I dared to step to the other side of caution and risk it all.”, they take flight and breathe courage into my heart and my skin – they are poetic abandon and boundless love. You are soaring and it is exquisite.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Susan, your comment means so much to me, truly, you have no idea. To know that you found inspiration in my words makes me feel like I am doing something right and that I need to keep going. Sometimes I don’t know or understand what I am trying to say; I just know that they need to come out. And I don’t want to run from the things that hurt me; I want to face them, understand them and find meaning. There is always meaning, and it is what keeps me evolving and growing as a person. I just want to figure this shit out, and live my best possible life. Sounds cheesy, but that’s all that matters to me. When the end comes for me, I want to look back with pride, knowing that I gave it my absolute all and that I loved with reckless abandon. Nothing else matters to me except that. If I inspire people along the way, well, that’s even better. So happy that I have inspired you with this post. Thank you, soooo much for being so kind and supportive!

  8. Tanya, I have waited and waited for the notification that you broke your silence. The joy I felt at seeing the email announcing this new post, however, was dwarfed and deflated by the power and purity in your voice and these words.There are a few people who’s words open a portal to their soul the way yours do. And that soul is bright and beautiful. I have read the pain, yes, but it is merely an accent to the grander piece that is you. Do not ever forget that you are living light. It is so freaking evident by this. And Brooke is right, so I will quote her wise words again in to sear them into your brain:

    “You are meant for great things. I think you are finally realizing that you always had wings, you just didn’t quite have the courage to use them. But there is not doubt in my mind…”

    • the incurable dreamer

      You are so very kind, B, thank you. To be referred to as living light means everything, and is one of the most incredible things anyone has ever said to me. Truly. I am just simply trying to do my very best to understand and navigate this thing called life in the best possible way I can. It isn’t always easy, but knowing that there is a team of people out there rooting me on, encourages me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. For being one of those people, I can only offer you my sincerest thanks and promise that your words will stick with me. Thank you for being here and for seeing what I sometimes can’t.

      • You are so welcome, Tanya. Perhaps this should is nourished knowing he was able to push back some of that darkness. It’s an act I will gladly accept as selfish if the result rings true and grants some solace. As long as I am here I will continue to remind people like you, and Brooke, and Gwen…at least for as long as you all let me.

        Stay true and bright to your dream!

  9. Your words, so good, make my words, seem not good enough to talk about your words….You just transported us into a land of heartbreak and resilience and the human spirit; I just made a frozen burrito in the microwave. You are a word sorceress; my burrito is still frozen in the middle.

    • the incurable dreamer

      How in the hell did this beautifully weird comment get spammed?? Jesus, you shouldn’t throw the word burrito around so lightly I suppose. Gir,l, your words mean so much to me, so thank you for leaving them here! Umm, did you eat the burrito half frozen? Can’t help but wonder. That is totally something I would do.

  10. What a painful lesson expressed so eloquently. Unfortunately, we all know to “live for today”, but most of the time something BIG has to happen for us to do it. It’s so nice to know you’re dealing with this pain and slowly overcoming it.

    • the incurable dreamer

      It is so true. Usually, it takes something unfathomable and so cruel before we learn and understand what ‘live for today’ really means. I can’t change what happened, but I am so thankful it taught me what I needed to know. Forever I will be grateful, for both of them.

  11. You, my friend, have an amazing gift to bring life to words! I could feel them dance upon my skin, giving me goosebumps and weigh heavy on my heart with your loss and sadness, thrust me toward joy as you find a belonging and hope and prickle my curiosity at what adventure awaits you! The artistry you show, makes me feel as though you are reaching right into my soul and touching it in such a way that I will be forever changed!

    This, “Working just to amass security for a future not guaranteed scares me more than death – upon retirement is not when I wish to be issued my licence to live.” – YES YES YES!

    And this, “I learned that there is beauty in devastating heartbreak. That to love someone to the point of despair is a gift.” – TEARS! ALL THE TEARS!!!!

    Thank you for sharing your spirit, your light, your masterpiece with me!

    You inspire me to be the me I am proud of. You inspire me to live to my most fascinating dream and not the the plotted course that “makes sense”. You inspire me to love with my whole heart regardless of a hurt that is inevitable when you lose someone, because no one can stay forever.

    I am grateful for you!
    Sarah

    • the incurable dreamer

      From the utmost depths of my heart, Sarah, thank you. Seriously, thank you so much. You know I absolutely adore you and think you are just the sweetest, so what you said here means so much. Recently you have had to deal with a different kind of loss, and the way you have faced it with such grace and dignity has inspired me greatly. You should be so very proud of who you are, and if I in any way have inspired you, well, then I couldn’t be more proud.

      These words…

      ‘You inspire me to be the me I am proud of. You inspire me to live to my most fascinating dream and not the the plotted course that “makes sense”. You inspire me to love with my whole heart regardless of a hurt that is inevitable when you lose someone, because no one can stay forever.’

      Sarah, as a writer, this is everything. Thank you for understanding my words and for letting me know just how deeply they impact you. It inspires me, and I can’t thank you enough.

      I am so grateful for you! Lots of love. xo

  12. Beautifully written.

  13. After reading all these beautifully honest comments, it seems to me that whatever I say may sound stupid.
    Instead, I’ll just sit with you in silence and hold your hand.
    I’m sharing your sorrow while being so happy at the same time that I found you, one and only Tanya, like no other I’ve met before.

    Welcome back sweetie and don’t ever stop dreaming.
    ‘We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on; and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep.’

    • the incurable dreamer

      Bojana, nothing you say could ever sound stupid, in fact, what you said here is so thoughtful and kind, I feel unworthy. Thank you so very very much. This blogging community has changed my life, and to be thought of in this way, by people I hold in such high esteem is truly an honour. Though I love to laugh at the absurdity of life, I do tend to hide in the dark. To know that when I step from out of the shadows you are there means absolutely everything. It really does amaze me, so please know how much I appreciate that you are here. To know that you will sit with me in silence and hold my hand speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. Know

      • Melting like a Popsicle….
        Did I tell you how happy I am that you’re back? I guess, one more time won’t hurt you.
        Just like Wulf said, when I saw an email with your name, it was overwhelmed with joy.
        Now, enough with sentimentality. I sound like Jane Austin. Disgusting.

  14. Wow! That really stirred some emotions in me Tanya. You are so brave for taking that leap into the beyond. I’ve been doing the same job for 30 years and I used to love it. I’m not so much in love with it anymore. I often seriously think about making a change in my life but I don’t think I have the guts to make that leap into the beyond. I wish I could let go, but I’ve been holding on so tight for so long…

    Good luck on your journey and keep in touch.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Leap if you can Ari, I mean if that is what you want. My dad worked for the same company for 44 years and retired in 2010. My stepmom worked for the same company for over 20 years and retired 3 years ago. They both now attend chemo appointments opposite weeks, and instead of retiring off into the sunset, they are both fighting to stay alive. Not telling you this to depress you, but to remind you that the only moment that is guaranteed is the one we have right now. If you want to make a change, ever, put fear to the side, breathe in possibility, and just fucking go for it.

      I am not leaving tomorrow, but I promise you, I am going to stay in touch, no matter where I end up or when. Big hug to you, my friend!

  15. Tanya, powerful writing that is emotionally intense and burning with energy and the fire of life anew! I know a couple of people who have never dared to love, fearing the heartache of loss…I feel sorrow for their loss – of themselves before they’ve even started the journey of living. Your words ring true in all their force and having lost close ones am awed with so many of your statements, including this one: ‘That to love someone to the point of despair is a gift.’ As my son went through heartache of a break up with his first girlfriend I said something similar … it never feels like a gift at the time, but it helps your grow, become stronger, learn more about yourself and others. He matured quickly after that … his innate wisdom and intuitive emotions heartwarming. Beautiful post, my friend. Hope you are okay…hugs xx

    • the incurable dreamer

      Annika, you always make me light up inside when you leave a comment on one of my posts, and you have again with this one. Thank you so much. It certainly never feels like it is a gift at the time, but what I now understand is that you have to surrender to the pain. You have to feel it so that you can begin to understand and grow from it. I did, and I will never be the same. Oh how grateful for that I am. And I would choose to go through it a thousand times over even with the knowledge that it is going to hurt like hell because it made me who I am today. It must have been so hard to watch your son go through his breakup, but how wonderful it must be to see him now stronger and wiser. Hope you are enjoying your weekend and some Annika time! Big hug. xo

  16. This post was so heartbreaking, beautiful, inspiring, and uplifting all in one. Your words are relatable to people from all walks of life. Thank you for sharing.

    • the incurable dreamer

      That means a whole lot, Savanna, thank you so much. My hope is always that people will connect with the things I say and realize that they are not alone. We are all just trying to figure this stuff out, better if we do it together!

  17. Your posts either make me laugh my head off or cry at the poignant beauty of your heart. This is the latter, Tanya. What an amazing and moving journey put so elegantly into words that stir the hearts of your readers. I’m truly blown away. I can tell from the comments that you reached us all in a similar fashion, touching something profoundly human and spiritual at the same time. Thank you <3

    • the incurable dreamer

      Thank you, Diana, so much! I am a complicated creature for sure, and it means so much to me that I am able to touch you with the absurdity of my life and also my deepest and darkest parts. As a writer, my hope is that by being honest people will connect with the things I say and know that they are not alone and that there is always hope. Thank you for letting me know that what I am doing is worth doing. Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend and are doing well! Lots of love and hugs. xo

  18. This was real Tanya.

    More than a quiet reminder that the grass IS greener on the other side, I can feel your restless yearning. Powerful enough to propel you to distant horizons, and painfully likely to scrape the hell out of you along the way. This driving force, so much more than “restlessness” and “wanderlust” has been there since I’ve known you Tanya, but I love how eloquently you’ve molded this inner force into words that makes it tangible for us.

    (almost) enough to motivate me again…

    “Tragedy and heartbreak inspired my words to meet paper and my dreams to meet possibility.” This is magic Tanya. Some might say… incurably magical.

    So glad you haven’t allowed the tragedy and heartbreak to stop you as it has so many. This is a gift. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • the incurable dreamer

      Oh, Gabe, I can’t thank you enough for these words. You brought tears to my eyes because I know that you understand the pull that exists inside of me, the one that always has me dreaming and longing for something I can’t define. It has always been there, but I was too scared to dip my toe in and had no motivation to do so. On a Friday afternoon, though, I said to Mick, ‘Be careful, and have fun! See you on Monday.’ Well, I didn’t see him on Monday, because as careful as he was, he still took his last breath on Saturday afternoon. Seeing his empty seat that morning forever altered the course of my life and I can feel his spirit running through my veins. He unknowingly gave me the greatest gift of my life, and I don’t intend to waste it. There simply is no time for fear or appeasing the expectations of others; there is somewhere I need to be. You, Gabe, always remind me that what I am doing means something and that I must keep moving…I can’t thank you enough for that. All I can offer in return is my deepest gratitude and the promise of one day enjoying a cold beer (beers on me!) with you and Monica! I can’t wait for that!

      • Doesn’t it just piss you off that it seems like growing, changing, insight etc. comes at such an enormous cost? I friggin hate it. Love that you’ve obviously chosen to grow from the tragedies that rocked you world, and it motivates me to ignore that inside voice that often tells me to just hide in my cave until everything ends.

        And the promise of beers together (can’t wait for you to hang out with Monica) sounds awesome. Consider it a date!

  19. A stunning, raw, and heartfelt post my friend. I know ‘Beyond’ is already within your reach, here for the taking Now. Joy, fearlessness, peace, love, abundance – you embody all of that and more! Wishing you a magical Sunday 🙂 <3 xx

    • the incurable dreamer

      Thank you, Hayley, so so much. Your kindness and encouragement always inspire me, and it is appreciated more than you know. You are a beautiful human being, and it means everything that you are here. I too believe that Beyond is within my reach, I can feel its breath, and it is pulling me now more than ever, so I can’t let up…I have to go for it. Hope you are doing well and are enjoying a wonderful weekend! Lots of love and hugs to you! xo

  20. Di

    Hello dear Tanya.
    Reading the wonderful comments you have received about your post, I cannot add much more.
    I think this is like a prayer, like a song of loss, of hope and renewal, from which you seem to have consolidated your resolve to live the life you dreamt of, starting from this moment.
    Yes, we can’t wait for a future time to do what we really want to do. Every little thing counts…Dreamers unite, those of us who stared out the window wondering…
    As always, your writing is exquisite, brimming with emotion, enough to stir empathy and feeling deep in your reader’s hearts…
    Thank you thank you dear Tanya…from someone whose ‘one day…’ has become real, discovering it’s never too late…
    Much love,
    Di 💐🌈💕

    • the incurable dreamer

      Aww, Di, what a gift it is to see your name here this morning and to read your beautiful words. You brought a tear to my eye, but not because I was sad but because you made me believe that impossible can become possible. You are proof, and I know without a doubt that my ‘one day’ is also going to become real. It brings me immense joy to know that you exist in your dream right now because I know the pain of longing for what only you can see. It is a painful place to be, standing in front of a window, wondering. What I now know is that the only way to conquer the pain is to mute the voices telling me that I can’t and to listen to my own, the one telling me that I must. My responsibility is not to meet the expectations of others; it is to be true to myself and fulfill the dreams I have long carried, no matter what that looks like to anyone else. I must be reckless in my pursuit and dare to risk it all because the reward that awaits is the only thing that will make me feel whole. Thank you, Di, for showing me that dreams do come true and for being my friend, I can’t wait to see you on the other side of the ocean and utter the words, ‘I did it.’ It will be a very magical moment because two dreamers will indeed stand united. So much love to you, my friend. xo

      • Di

        Wow, my dear friend…you know how to make me feel something with your beautiful reply…thank you so much both for your kind words and being so articulate.
        You are so resolute in your desire to make your dreams come true, that if you can feel them, not just wishing them to come true, you have nowhere to go but to live them out…
        I’m touched that my example can propel you towards yours and absolutely…until two dreamers can meet and understand each other without saying a word,
        it’s ‘until soon’ from me and sending love, hugs and my best wishes to you.
        💜🌈 from me

  21. A perfectly written post, Tanya. Many thanks.

  22. Have you figured out where or what beyond is for you? I hope it is everything you dreamed and more when you get there or it.

    • the incurable dreamer

      Yes, I have, and I know that it will be everything I could have ever imagined. ‘There’ is where everything will finally make sense. Thank you for this, it means a whole lot.

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