Last night, the dream was not quite intense, but interesting in the blatant view that it obviously reflected my questions on personal branding, popularity and critique.
In a foyer of a microcinema filled with film enthusiasts and who’s who in arts circle, a colleague warmly greeted me, and then politely asked me have I ever thought of working on non-commercial writing projects. I wanted to explain her that indeed I have laid out such plan in the near future, but she seemed to be satisfied with a short positive answer, then continued by saying that the reason behind her question was because she just read someting appalling written about me in today’s paper. She handed me the paper, and then left me to read it in piece.
It was a national paper that in real life was published in Indonesian, but in my dream it was English. The article was written by a young man whom I suspected have been making his name on social media. The style of language was vulgar. He exposed my lifestyle that included sleeping with many men, and how it somehow correlated with my works as a scriptwriter. He claimed that my works were of completely bad taste. The article was one-third of a page, and there was no single information there supported with facts and data. As many self-proclaimed writers who have made their names in social media, the concept of research and collecting reliable information seemed like too much of a hassle for them.
I quite remember vividly how I felt in my dream as I read that piece. (I find it very interesting that in our dreams we actually feel something.) In real life, since the very first time I wrote for TV series in 2002 I had already seen what would come – such bashing it was. I had been well prepared and I had anticipated it rather lightly. So, what I felt in my dream last night was exactly the same with what I felt in real life every time the movies that I wrote got reviewed in print or social media: I felt the attack was childish and ignorable, even a subject to mockery.
The dream continued with three of my female friends approached me in turns just to say hi, and I told them briefly what I was just reading. I found that these three friends that appeared in my dreams, clearly straight from the outer layer of my subconsciousness, very interesting to talk about.
The first one was a fellow scriptwriter and script editor. In real life we were in the same writing workshops together. She does no small talks. She says things bluntly. She is mean, honest, truthful, and very smart. She will show it clearly without any resentment if she likes or dislikes something. I rarely meet her. We keep in touch only for work-related issues, which was almost never because we have never been in a lasting project together. But, she is one of the persons that I can really trust.
The second one was actually a friend that I just met less than two years ago. She studied something related with arts, media and journalism. She is now an art curator. We are in the same circle. She and I have been in several projects together. She is full of smile, and some of the smiles might be drawn in the name of politeness. However, she is also someone who talks honestly. Unlike the first friend I mentioned above, she shies away from confrontation. She likes to encourage people, enjoys nurturing talents, and she does it all wholeheartedly.
The third one was one of my business partners and longest friend. I have known her for around fifteen years. Ever since the first time we met I knew that we clicked. She is vibrant, very smart, strongly opinionated, blunt, straightforward, analytical, a quick and efficient decision maker, and now a model wife and mother. She is someone whose critiques mean a lot to me.
It was interesting that these people appeared in my dream. They all delivered similar reaction upon knowing about that poor article about me in the paper. The first one just delivered a sarcastic joke on me about it (and I love people who know how to make a sarcastic joke about me!), the second one enthusiastically read every word to also try to understand that the writer was aiming, and the third one just laughed and did not care to read such a trash as she knew very well that I would be just fine reading bad things about me in a national paper.
As I woke up from the dream I got reminded that indeed I was actually a wee bit anxious about my plan to reinvent myself next year. I have been asking about it to two friends of mine who understand a thing or two about personal branding, and have been deeply thinking about their suggestions. I am pretty sure my reputation is far from spotless, but that is not the thing that I worry much. My anxiety is more towards whether this plan will work; not to make me look better, as I do not believe in “better” or “worse”, but to make me look different as I will be charted towards a different direction.
I think the dream was the media that my subconsciousness used to convey an encouragement. In the worst case scenario where my name could be tarred and feathered in public my subconsciousness recalled that I would, one, be nonchalant about it, and two, have a small and strong support system to back me up. It was very interesting how my subconsciousness opted to represent that support system with three female friends.
Yeah, that was a dream really worth recording here.