The surprising profundity of an ostensible banality.

“Believe in the beauty of your dreams.”

I think it was my 14th or 15th birthday that my good friend gifted me with a blank journal that had such a sentiment printed across the cover. I decided to use it as a dream journal, and of course, as dreams generally go, not many were particularly “beautiful.”

In my teenage, above-all-this-nonsense cynicism, I concluded that it was just an empty but nice-sounding platitude, like “follow your heart” or “be true to yourself.” “Believe in the beauty of your dreams,” pssh. Yes, it does a lot of good to believe in the beauty of Bill Nye blowing up your elementary school to fix a time paradox, or the beauty of arriving at the airport for a flight only to realize you forgot to put on pants.

The journal went into a drawer around the time I left for college and I eventually forgot about the whole thing. But recently that phrase has popped back up in my mind, suddenly making a lot of sense.

I don’t always believe that my dreams are worth pursuing. Some days I think about the novel I’m writing and cringe. What an embarrassment it will be if anyone ever reads it. Surely it will only serve to prove how little I understand anything about the world, or people, or relationships.

Or I think about the cosplay I’m still working on–how the fabric is slightly the wrong color, and I don’t have the right body type for it. People are gonna see me wearing it and just feel sorry for me.

These feelings grow stronger the longer I neglect whatever project it is. Accordingly, my desire to pick up that project again diminishes further and further. I have, in essence, ceased to believe in the beauty of my dreams.

So I suppose for the sake of not abandoning one’s dreams altogether, it is in fact necessary to believe in their beauty. It’s not like anyone else is gonna do it for me, especially when I give my novel’s working title as Untitled Novel Based on a Talking Cat from America’s Funniest Home Videos and the most I’m willing to share about my friends’ and my upcoming group cosplay is that “we’re gonna papier-mâché an exercise ball.”

The best way I’ve found to do this is to actually do the work. Sit down with it, wrestle with it, puzzle it out. Because as I do this, it subconsciously reinforces the idea that this dream is worth all the time and effort I’m putting into it. It becomes a virtuous circle, and also shuts up that 8th-grade mean-girl inner critic voice for a while.

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