I am a dreamer. Probably what causes me to compulsively write all my thoughts and feelings. I live inside my head to the point that it is hard sometimes to listen to those around me that are as important, if not more important, than the dreams in my head. I live in my head because it is safe there, and it gives me freedom that I cannot find anywhere else on earth. It gives me a security that is warmer and more protective than any blanket ever found.
My dreams change as the person I am changes. They become harsher, longer, more exciting as the needs within me are not met. I find the ability to take deep breaths in my thoughts. I can find the solutions to problems that don’t exist, and I can find the acceptance that is so rare in my life. I can find the ability to be in my thoughts. I allow them to change because my life isn’t over yet, and there are so many things that I need, that I want and those things aren’t static. They change as fast as my dreams, and the ability to sink into that darkness and find the artificial light gets me through the night.
Since long before I understood that I was finding escapes, I have been doing this. One of my most prevalent dreams, the one I can remember hardly ever-changing no matter how much I did, is probably the most profound of all of them. Where usually I dream of being a person, a thing, going to a place, or doing that which I know is just a dream, this memory is something altogether different. It is something that lives deep inside of me, in a place I never share.
I dream of a large tree. A beautiful and strong tree, with large branches and deep, healthy leaves. Roots that become arms reach toward me giving me a glimpse of all that the tree can give. The shade is dark, yet the sunlight moves through the branches warming all it touches. The ground is soft, there are no bugs, and the bark on the tree provides the sturdy strength signifying that someone, or something, is there to get me through.
And standing within the root arms is a man. I don’t know how old he is, although he has the muscles to hold me for as long as I need. He has broad shoulders, and that place designed only for my head to lay upon. His chest is designed to carry my weight as I lean into him, and his legs can surround me in a hug as strong as his arm do. And I sit there with him and simply breathe. And he sits there silently and allows me to.
He doesn’t say anything, he doesn’t fidget; he simply sits there and allows me to feel. I cry tears that I can’t in real life, I am still for hours at a time, and I build my defenses in his arms. There is no discomfort, no branches sticking into my hips, nor is there any fear. His heart, his arms, his very presence is solid, strong, and comfortable. He is my resting place. He is my silence in a world of screams, and he is the stillness in a world of voices.
There are no cars waiting for me, nor roads to or from that special place. I get there only in my dreams, and only when I need somewhere the most. I don’t have a name for the man, or even a way to call him; yet he is there. I can’t draw on a map how to get to that tree, or even what state it is in; yet it lives as strongly and as surely as you and I. It is the most real I feel, the most complete and the most at peace. It is the one place no one can take from me, and no one can steal for themselves. It is mine.
I have other places, docks and beaches. But I only have that one man to hold me. When the world finds itself destroying me, slowly, it is where I go. When He decides that I can take just one more slip, one more slap, one more hit, it is where I go. When the moon disappears from my sight to shine on someone else, it is where I go. It is the one place.
I don’t know why I am the kind of person who needs that place. I don’t know why long ago I quit looking for that place. I don’t know why the very real tree in my dreams represents so much more than any other ever could. And I don’t know why that silent man will never be found in reality. I don’t know why I need him, even when I can stand, look around and see all that I have. He is my chocolate, my guilty pleasure, and he will always be that which I can’t find anywhere else.
I have heard the term “happy place” ever since the moment I stepped into therapy for the first time. I don’t consider this tree or this man my happy place. My happy place is that simple dream I feel when I need a second to catch my breath or go into a different direction. The tree is not there for a moment; it is there when a moment is not enough. It is there when the world has become all that is ugly, wrong, and desperate in this time. It is a place that I can rest, recuperate, and feel emotions that are not allowed in my real world. It is a place of truth, of reality, and pure love. It is a place of rest.
It describes my most fundamental need; my most precious want. And it is not and cannot be duplicated in the real world. It takes a faceless man, and a silent tree to give me what those around me and what this world can never give. It takes a dream to give me a blanket deep in the quiet night.