Dreams of Others

Crowd of protesters holding signs
Photo by Life Matters on Pexels

I see you:

Standing there with the sign
Walking for miles
Shouting ’til you’re hoarse
Reading books
Watching documentaries
Calling people out
Giving yourself up
Wondering, constantly wondering, what more can I do?

You’ve acquired a new anxiety.
You’re standing in someone else’s pain.
You’re up at night, up early in the morning, earlier than usual.
You need more hours now because the world needs you.

It’s not like you’re looking for recognition but every once in a while, you ask yourself why are you doing this? Or, can you keep doing this? Or, is this really what you think it is?

And you feel a bit guilty for asking, for not knowing, for having the need to know. You feel guilty for enjoying the softness of your bed at night because so many for so long went without softness, were only fed in order to be owned, were instructed to walk on broken glass and not bleed.

So, you think to yourself, my blisters don’t matter, my hoarse voice don’t matter. My tired shoulders don’t matter, my new anxiety….


I have something for you.

Deep below the stillness, there is a great vibration. The plates are shifting, thunderous like a million beating hearts thumping at the exact same time. It is a rumbling approval from the earth, from the rocks and the bones that were here the whole time.

Believe it. This is your reward.

Heads of long ago are turning toward you. They are raising their eyebrows, sucking in their cheeks for the first time since they were lost — the great thinkers, the great workers, there in black and white, with bent backs carrying heavy loads, squinting tired eyes, and craning tired necks. “Really?” They’re nudging each other to look, restless bony elbows into bony rib cages. They can’t believe it but they’re letting themselves smile. They’re dropping shovels and pens, they’re pulling babies into their chests. They’re mouthing the words they’d always hoped to say. It’s happening…”

An unrest, an awakening, a clumsy, angry scribble on our timeline that is already being seen as a milestone.

But for now, the dust and the heat. The voices and the hands up. The walking and the screaming. And you, beautiful you, fighting, dreaming, wondering, tired…

You can see it now: the dreams of others coming up through the ground, inhaled by a new set of warriors, by your beautiful mouth, taking in the new language and the new pain, harsh in the throat, jagged going down into the lungs and stomach.

It’s hard to see all the way through. It’s hard to keep walking.

We know, the voices whisper, so pained, so patient, they’ve been allowed to reach across time and space, to send their dreams through the layers of the earth.

We know.