Everybody dreams. The scientists believe that is when our minds are rejuvenating and that dreams, even the bad ones, are important for our psychological and emotional well-being. Nightly dreams act like an internal therapist helping us come to terms with life’s stresses and cope with the conflicts we all experience. They help our mood.

I prefer to dream with my eyes open. Then I can control the action and the outcome. I can be the heroine; I will know the right words to say; I can make the ending happy or make everything go my way. Alas that’s not how things usually work in the real world. Situations in dreams, as in life, are often just beyond our control. Still we shouldn’t let that stop us from dreaming whether with our eyes shut or open.

Katherine Felix’s poem Dreams tells of a woman’s dream deferred, lost and found again. It was her first silver award winning piece for NIFCA 2012 and she still loves its message. However Katherine is not only a poet. She’s also a visual artist and in this work of art, I showcase both of her extraordinary talents. Below is the poem Dreams along with some of Katherine’s paintings and drawings.

Dreams by Katherine Felix

Painting of self by Katherine Felix

Self portrait by Katherine Felix. The piece contains snippets of her poems.

There is a spark in each of us,
a glimmer of hope
that began life much as we did…
larger in scope than before we learned to doubt
that quiet certain voice
inside us
that believes, knows,
that we can be – can do – anything.

It is sad that we lose this spark over time,
with the proud assistance of our educators and parents.
Who are only trying to help us to conform,
to fit in…. to meet the expectations that everyone else has of us.

Leaf in the wind - a painting by Katherine Felix

Leaf in the wind – a painting by Katherine Felix

When I had the luxury
of time with my children
I had nothing
in a material sense, yet
I had a precious gift;
the gift that many women nowadays have had to give up in exchange for a business suit and salary.

I was able to read to my children,
gaze in wonder at a waterfall,
play by the riverside and suck on cacao seeds;
take walks
without worry about how long we took.
Those very short years- so long ago,
(while filled with other stresses),
were times that I was able to see the spirit of my children most clearly,
and they could still see mine.

Pieces of Me by Katherine Felix

Pieces of Me by Katherine Felix

I wonder now,
if in racing to leave the world of poverty,
did I break something important, in the process.

At some point I stopped trying to nurture
What was special and unique in each of my children,
stopped using my own talents; talents given to me by God,
and surrendered it all in the name of having enough to eat and financial security.

I have fought and cried, battled and prayed
for my beautiful kids to behave;
to surrender to society’s rules and norms,
and in those struggles, I lost many opportunities
to see them in their own light, from their own eyes;
from God’s.

An elemental painting by visual artist Katherine Felix

Elements – Earth Wind Fire and Water by Katherine Felix

If my fervent prayers had been answered many years ago,
perhaps my living would have been made from my artistic talents,
instead of the many careers I have ventured into
solely to earn a living.
But my parents started the cycle by creating a belief in me
that artists could not make a living….
that my talent was not worthy
of investing money in an education to better.

In pushing my own kids in the same manner; towards academic pursuits, and financially rewarding careers; without considering their true calling in life, I unwittingly joined the conspiracy.

Thankfully, there is still hope.
Somewhere along the line I started painting again, writing again,
and those small changes in my life, resonated in my children’s.
So now, against all odds,
I am blessed with a son who prays,
who holds a mic with confidence on stage, raps, and composes his own rhythms;
a daughter who begins to believe that she is not too short to model,
and she can design for others as well as for herself.

Dripping Stone

Katherine Felix painting of dripping stone found at the Barbados Museum

If I have been able to communicate to them to have a bit of trust in God,
to believe in themselves and the gifts they have inside…
well then I have given them a far greater gift than any inheritance I could leave for them after death;
because their belief in themselves is the most important tool they could possess
to enable them to reach the heights of their inborn potential.
With confidence and their unique talents, they will not require anyone else; other than God, and who they choose to have in their lives….they won’t always have to take jobs which make them exchange what they love for what they need.

I am grateful that I was given time, time in which they were still willing to trust my advice;
the inadvertent dimmer of those great and wonderful sparks.

In my books, the worse crime a person can commit is to put out the lights of another’s dreams.
I have learned to always try to encourage every dream that others have in life,
since my own were circumvented early on, and are only now,
beginning to come back to me again as possibilities.

Floral painting of an orchid by Barbadian painter Katherine Felix

Orchid by Katherine Felix

Life is so much more
than we sometimes acknowledge it to be,
more than merely working to succeed financially.
We too often forget our purpose,
stop seeing the gifts that are all around us, within us,
such amazing possibilities, are forever lost to us as a result.

I hope that the next generation learns from our mistakes, and that
our grandchildren and future generations will be raised differently,
with reverence for their unique talents,
and their dreams given nourishment, and a place in society to flourish,
not just to scrape by when they are not geared toward the mainstream career paths
we so love to embrace in the honor of stability, security and conformity.

Everyone deserves a respectful and independent place in the future, a future where
our descendants live lives filled with the beauty and wonder they deserve;
where dreams do come true.