By Rikki Dubois
Dreams. We all have them. Some people don’t recall their dreams, but they’re there.
Webster’s Dictionary defines dreams as “The thought or series of thoughts of a person in sleep” and “impressions on the minds of sleeping persons made by divine agency; a matter which has only an imaginary reality; a visionary scheme or conceit; a vain fancy.”
Dreams don’t only come to those who sleep. Most people have waking dreams as well.
What are my dreams? I could say, I dream of a world where a person can marry anyone they love, regardless of which sex their partner is. I dream of a world where a person can live the life of their chosen gender and not have to be stuck with the one given to them at birth. I dream of a world of where when a child who is born with male genitalia tells their parents that they are a girl, their parents accept and love them as the girl they are meant to be and not use religion or other reasons to deny this poor girl, causing her to commit suicide because she can no longer live her life in a male body.
These are wonderful dreams and maybe they can become reality. In some parts of the world, they already are. And that makes me happy.
But let me tell you about a dream I had. One I had while I was sleeping.
I was really close to my maternal grandmother. I used to visit her at least once a week. We would have supper together, talk about all sorts of things and sometimes I would ask her for advice. She was an extremely devout Catholic, though she didn’t force it on others. It was a personal thing for her. Every day at 4:00 p.m., she would go up to the chapel in the building where she lived and say her prayers and she would walk to church every Sunday. When it was too cold to walk, one of my aunts would drive her. It was a sad day for me on May 9, 2000 when she passed away. I still miss her.
As some of you probably know, I changed my gender in June 2010. I started living my life as a woman at that time and had my gender reaffirmation surgery in June 2011. Both of my parents accepted my changes. My sister, aunts, uncles and cousins, all accepted the new me, because they love me and want me to be happy.
When I came out to them, I told them that this was what was going to happen. I was not asking their permission or crying for acceptance. I told them this was fact. When all of them accepted me, that made me so happy and so proud to be part of a understanding family. So, in that respect, the dream I had mentioned above is alive and well in my extended family.
But after a couple of years, I started to wonder what my very religious grandmother would have thought of my changes if she were alive today. I valued her opinion and hoped she would also approve. I wouldn’t say I was obsessed with what she would think, but it remained at the back of my mind.
One night, as I was sleeping, I had a dream. I was visited by a woman who would have been about 30 years old. She was dressed in clothes from the 1940s and I knew when I saw her that she was my grandmother.
I was surprised that she didn’t look like the older lady I knew, with the wrinkled skin and the white hair, but I knew in my heart, she was my loving grandmother. She came up to me and said “It’s okay.” And that was it. She only said it once, but I heard her clearly. Then I woke up.
As I lay there, I thought that this was a strange dream. I have a lot a lot of dreams, but I felt that there was something different about this one. It didn’t feel like a dream. The woman felt real.
So, I pondered on this for a couple of days, wondering what this all meant. Wondering why my grandmother looked like a young woman, younger than I am now.
Then it came to me. My grandmother came to visit me in that dream. I imagine she chose to visit me in a dream, because if she showed up as an entity, she may have thought I would be frightened. So, she came to see me to tell me “It’s okay” that I transitioned. She came to tell me that she is also accepting of my having changed my gender and when that realization came to me, it made me smile. Even if she was a staunch Catholic, she felt that I should be happy and that she supported me in my decision.
This is true love. This is how it should be. This was a powerful dream. This made me stronger. And that’s what dreams are made of.