I had a dream last night that I was living in this house where everyone hated me. At first, I didn't know why, and I had to spend a lot of time trying to uncover the plot. Finally, it was revealed that I laugh at everyone.
"Really?" I asked.
"Yup," one of the dream residents said. "As soon as someone walks away, but they're still within earshot, you laugh at them."
I sat there dumbfounded. I knew I was in a dream, so I started to think it might be because I thought I was better than people, or maybe because I was underwater in some other way by being drunk or other things. I was still trying to solve the riddle when a group of the dream residents surrounded me and started calling me naive and stupid and other horrible things.
"I've never liked you," one of the dream residents stated very matter of factly.
"Yes," another agreed--who looked strangely like Daniel Craig--"and when you did that scene with the knife the other day, that was dangerous. You could have killed the actor--"
"I don't think any actor was in danger--"
"It was dangerous," Daniel Craig resident said and started walking behind the group that was now in a half semi-circle around me.
That was when I noticed my cameras in boxes on the ground in a closet. They were boxed and being shipped off.
"Those are my cameras," I said and pointed at the boxes.
"Jeez," the matriarch of the house said, "you're staying with us and you don't want to share?"
"Huh?" I said.
"We share everything--"
"But you didn't even ask me if you could rent these out. You've already sent them."
"Man, this guy is so selfish," the matriarch announced to the group. "We don't know if we can be around a person like this."
"Yeah," Daniel Craig piped up from the back.
"Okay," I said. "I'm sorry. I usually ask people to borrow things."
"Ask?" the matriarch shouted. "We do not ask!"
I woke up later and lied in bed for a bit. I remembered how Dariusz Rawa, a shaman, used to tell me that sometimes a dream was just a dream, and how other times there was something more to them. In fact, I might be confusing this slightly, because I now remember clearly Dariusz standing over me--like he always was--saying, "the first thing think about in the morning is the first thing you need to do."
So I lied there with my dream and realized that I was and wasn't all the things the dream residents accused me of. I can be selfish, naive, and off-putting. I can also be the opposite of all those things. I can be quite selfless, wise, and charming. It really was a question of being superior. The dream residents had an agenda. They thought they were better than me from the onset and were looking for ways to oust me from the group. This has often been my relationship with groups. I hang around on the outskirts just looking and get pushed back a hundred feet for any reason that's suitable.
Often, I find this same scenario in life. I might want something or to just be able to accomplish something good in life, and I'm met with suspicion or a pushing from someone who wants to exert control because they feel threatened or confused because my actions might have disrupted expectations. But I don't make films or art for success alone. My priorities are the creation and its evolutionary process. That's the joy for me. And working with a team. Success is usually an after-thought and much more of an artistic experiment in trial and error without the financial or connected means to move a product like those in power do.
I realize now my dream is an affirmation that I'm doing okay. If the dream residents don't like me, then I must be doing something right. I don't want to live in a house with no rules where everyone shares everything and has no boundaries. Rules are okay for me.
I also realize that the "dream residence" was similar to a hippy commune and that people who are super liberal are just as bad as people who are extremely conservative and constricting. The extremes make for a bad environment, because it's just as bad to be made to go to the back of the bus for your skin color as it is to be guilted into thinking a certain way because someone has an agenda.
These days Facebook shows us people's daily agendas. Everyone is posting on topics that are important to them. This is to be expected. But, oftentimes, folks want to start battles to get other people to agree with their agendas or platforms.
"Why don't you like this post?" the Agenda Pusher might ask. "Why don't you share this campaign?"
But I'm not here in this world to share everything. I'm just making things and trying to be helpful and good and myself. I can't help it if I'm genuinely naive sometimes. I also can't do anything if I seem that way because I don't agree with an agenda so much so that I disconnect from other human beings.
I'm here to make things and be with humans.
If I'm not invited to the parties, that's okay. Our parties usually happen on film sets and writing sessions anyway. It's in those exchanges that I come alive.
Then I walk the streets in LA, and I talk to strangers, and I find that I'm not alone. We're working the night shift at a gas station, or running a magazine rack, or performing our hearts out at a theater, or driving home from a long day's work, or sitting at home on a computer reading the screen--and all the while knowing that we're all at the party, and it'll only take a moment to reach out to a complete stranger and say hello to have a genuine moment, where you might talk about working a shitty job and how everyone probably just comes to this magazine rack to buy water and smokes.
"Yup," the guy running the magazine rack says. "Usually cigarettes and snacks."
"Well, I got my snacks," I tell him and hold up my coffee, protein bar, mints, and one liter water.
He smiles and peaks around to the front of the store to make sure a girl's not stealing out front. She turns to him. holds up a magazine, and says something unintelligible.
I open my Starbucks frappacino, drain it, and then the salesman offers to throw away the bottle.