Journal - Cogito ergo sum
A few years ago, I had a friend who kept a dream journal. He believed his dreams were telling him something. One day he asked me what my dream was. I said I didn’t have a dream. Then he said, “You always have a dream. You just don’t remember them.”
Since I was small, I was far from being sensitive--I slept well anywhere, any time, and I usually didn’t have (or didn’t remember anything about) dreams. Occasionally, though, I had nightmares. People say your nightmares come from your fear. Can you guess what my nightmares were about? I dreamt about losing matches; the final round of a tournament, an important game of an Insei league or the last gate to my professional certificate.
After I became a professional player I no longer feared losing. I was still stressed out and discouraged whenever I lost, but I was confident and secure with myself. Plus, no one blames you for losing once you are a professional player. As a result, I stopped having losing-a-match nightmares. Instead, I started having another recurring nightmare even more frequently. At the time I was living in Seoul by myself, and was often worried about my security. In my dreams, strangers would break into my place, and I would wake up so frightened and panicked.
In 2009, I moved to my parents’ place in Daejeon. My family had been hoping to live with me for a long time--I was away from them for 12 years (since I was 9). I was tired of all the matches, office work and house chores. Though Daejeon was 2 hours away from Seoul, life with my family sounded too tempting to resist any more. Also I was seriously considering entering a college. In other words, I needed a break. Surprisingly, the break brought me a nice break from the recurring nightmares as well.
From the beginning of this year, however, some other kinds of nightmares started visiting me. I dreamt about failing in a class. I forgot to go to classes, messed up on an exam and ended up getting an F. I would be frustrated and depressed. When I finally came back to the reality from the dream, I was so relieved that I would study harder. Luckily my GPA so far is at the opposite side of an F. Another type of a nightmare was losing my boyfriend. It was not from breaking up, but usually some kinds of accident. One night my boyfriend appeared in my dream, badly beaten up by someone. It turned out a crazy drunken Korean man attacked him because he was dating a Korean girl (my boyfriend is American). I cried a lot in the dream, and even when I realized it was a mere nightmare, I still felt like crying. I called him, even though it was the middle of the night, to make sure he was OK.
A few days ago, I had an interesting nightmare. The dream was fragmentary, but the pieces were somehow connected. At first, I was in a classroom. Apparently, I was doing fine as usual. Then I was playing a match. I don’t remember which tournament or who my opponent was, I was playing just terribly--so terribly that I was horrified by my own moves. I couldn’t stop making these bad moves, but could only watch, helpless inside my own body, as I lost the game. At some point I went back to the classroom again. It was the same class, but something was different. It felt as if everyone there was mad at me. The professor, about whom I don’t remember anything, asked me a few questions. I was silent, not knowing how to answer. He said I would fail the class.
Though I stopped studying baduk when I went to a college, I was still following nearly all the news about what is happening in the baduk community. It was handy to know the news when I talk with someone knows baduk well, but that wasn’t the only reason. I was genuinely curious. When I saw pictures of other players playing matches and doing a post-game analysis together I felt something green inside of me--I wish I was there too. When I thought about it, I found that feeling strange. I know that I have never been happier in my life than these last several months. I am living my dream life; studying in an international college while dating a wonderful man. Going back to my old life doesn’t attract me. Thinking about the nightmare I had a few days ago, however, I’ve realized that the problem was my fear; the fear of letting my baduk skill rust, the fear of losing myself and that goal for which I worked so hard. For 16 years, from 5 to 21, baduk was the absolute center of my life. You know, I am only 23 years old now, so I have to learn how to put other goals ahead of baduk. Leaving such a core part of myself shouldn’t be so easy, right?
My bad dream says I am afraid of failing in both fields. Yet, I know what I want. I am not giving up on it because I am afraid, or my dreams say I am afraid. My aspiration is to explore, experience and challenge the world, and later bring something to the baduk community that no other players can. Despite my bad dreams, I became a professional player. In the face of those nightmares, I got A’s in most of my classes, and my boyfriend is doing just fine. I am not worried. Whatever my nightmares say, I know that they only show me that which is most valuable to me. These goals are too valuable to give up because of my fear; they are worth facing and overcoming the fear to achieve. I will live my dreams, not my nightmares.