Updated: Sep 8
I don't have a corner on the market of hope. In fact, most of the time I'm holding onto a shred of it by a sheer act of will and the childlike notion that I can make this world a better place. This is the same place my wonder resides and a place I am unwilling to let get jaded.
When you grow up in an environment where you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, never really knowing who you can trust, wanting to trust those who are responsible for you, but ultimately knowing they don't have their shit together and are struggling with life and can't manage the role of parent you learn it is only a matter of time before something REALLY bad goes wrong. Whether it did go wrong or didn't you develop a fight or flight way of being in the world and possibly a catastrophist way of just being.
Hey, don't get me wrong this is a great survivalist skill that can get you through some of the worst situations life can throw at you, but over time it takes a toll physically, mentally, emotionally, and probably spiritually.
I should know because I have this superpower.
And hell, even when you think you have the whole body, mind, spirit connection thing down you are probably living at what "normals" experience as high stress or off the charts anxiety and that is your every day normal.
I don't want to be a downer. At this point you might be wondering where that hope I mentioned disappeared to, not to worry it is still here somewhere. I just have to find it again.
That's just it, hope is elusive. Hope is like a thread, a thread that is often taken almost to the brink of breaking over and over again, but in the nick of time, it snaps back to hope again.
Hope feels a bit like the Three Fates from Greek mythology: one sister spins the thread of life, one sister decides the length of the thread of each life, and the last sister chooses how each of us dies.
Replace that same idea with the thread of hope we each carry inside us. One sister decides how much hope we will be given over the course of our lifetime, one sister watches each betrayal, injustice, rejection, abandonment, racism, sexism, heterosexism, dis/ableism, sizeism, abuse, victimization, etc. take its toll on our hope over time, and the last sister cuts that thread of hope when enough is enough.
That is how life feels at this present moment, I am relying on my magic power of survivalist to get me through when at 46 I want to be living in my empowered self. This isn't bad or good or even a constant state of being, but when my fight or flight kicks in it is hard to not see being a survivalist as my true nature.
We ultimately know hope isn't measured out in tiny spoonfuls over the course of our lives that there isn't a point we reach where our hope is all used up and when we get to that point hope dies. But we also know that in isolation and despair hope can wither and possibly die.
It is not that hope is fragile and weak, but as so many people know who are enduring systemic racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of intolerance, hope can break. And in that breaking, it is hard to come back.
So is there an answer when our world seems more hopeless than ever?
I think there is. And the answer is simple: Show up!
Show up for those whose hope is waning, show up with hellos, eye contact, closed mouths (if needed) because you don't know how it feels if you aren't walking in the same shoes!
Show up for your neighbors with hot bread, cookies, notes that they are not alone, again not with the answers (unless you are actually walking in the same shoes)!
Show up with parking spots given away, cuts to strangers in line, a smile, less road rage (not smile you look so much better when you smile, but because you want to and someone may feel less alone)!
Show up to rallies, protests (even when it's not about your rights being violated), write letters and postcards, make phone calls, sign petitions because sometimes when you can do it someone else can't. We are a thread that is easily broken when we don't show up for each other.
We are building our way out of a world that is anti-everything and hope is our superpower!!!