my vain expression of hope

“After the fires of anger have been blow out, the next stage is a desperate round of bargaining, seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of hope that the bad news is reversible.”

There are no miracles. There is only cold hard reality. As someone that can’t find comfort or hope in magic, I must create my own. Hope is not just for those with a faith in miracles. This is really hard for me. Not my beliefs, but sharing them. I’m usually very quiet about it, because I was raised religious, and I know how I was taught to judge those who didn’t agree with my dogma. I mean, they say, “don’t judge” but if religion taught me anything, it was how to judge other people. I don’t want to give the religious a reason to dismiss my words, as they are taught that people like me are fools that should not be listened to, so I keep quite. However, in order for me to express what I really want to say here, I need to be honest and clear. I believe in humanity. I believe in the power of the human mind and it’s capacity for imagination. I believe in love and compassion. I believe in friendship and family. I believe pain and suffering is a reality that cannot be escaped through a power any higher than myself and the love of others. I believe that no matter where it comes from, hope is a powerful tool that can help us accomplish much more than we think we can on our own. We may credit what we believe to be the source of hope, but I believe that it is hope itself that deserves the credit.

hope/hōp/ Noun: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen

Feelings and emotions come from within ourselves. And the brain is plastic, meaning it can be easily changed if we allow it. We learn things at a young age, make pathways of wires in our mind. We touch a block, feel the wood texture and our brain records that feeling. We do it enough times that the pathway becomes a solid, seemingly unbreakable connection, that forever tells us when we look at a wooden block, what it feels like, what it smells like, what it tastes like, without ever having to pick that block up again. We just know. And so, throughout our entire lives, we continue to make more and more connections and pathways in the mind that tell us how things are.  But what about when we are given false information? What about the child that is told they are stupid? What about the person who fails at something enough times that their own mind makes a connection, telling them, “you can’t do it, you’re not good enough.” I think it is all too common for us to make these false connections in our mind, to give up on ourselves and believe that our dreams are meant to be lived through someone else, more capable than we are.

I think everyone is born with a capacity for the creative arts. Some are taught that it’s a waste of time, some are made to feel they lack the talent, and others hear all of that and don’t let it stop them. So when you look at an artist and think they have something you don’t, you may be right. But it’s not a natural artistic talent they were born with, it’s a talent for being stubborn, and a deaf ear for all who stand in their way.

I was, I guess, fortunate for a series of events in my life that taught me at a very young age that I could do a lot of things that people told me I couldn’t. The earliest I remember was joining the jump-rope team in elementary school, and then learning that my knees never grew together and I would never be able to jump-rope, run, or do many other things that children enjoy doing. But I had a mother that I wish everyone else was as fortunate enough to have. She believed I could do anything and everything. She didn’t let doctors or teachers or anyone else make me believe I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. It wasn’t going to be perfect or easy, she would tell me, but if I wanted to do something, we would find a way. I jumped rope. I ran. I danced. It was painful, and I would often have to take long breaks to heal, but when my knees were good I lived the life I wanted and I loved it. I loved my mother for believing in me, and I loved myself for enduring.

By the time I got to high school I was armed with the knowledge that no one could tell me what I could or could not do. My photography teacher and English teacher and Yearbook Staff teacher all told me in one way or another to give up on photography and focus on writing, I took it as a challenge. It never occurred to me that they were trying to tell me I was good at writing. The only thing that registered with me was that someone told me I didn’t have what it took to be a photographer, and that was all I had to hear to set the rest of my creative life in motion. The fact is, if you put enough hours into something, you can master it. I can guarantee you that anyone that’s talented at ANYTHING did not come at it naturally. Whether they admit it or not, (and I’ve known people that believe they are “gifted” and I can’t help laughing at them) they put many many hours into perfecting their craft.

Now I’m told that I won’t be able to poop out my butthole and I snicker at myself when I say, “I’ll show you!” No. It will be physically impossible. Still funny that my mind automatically goes to the place where I think I can challenge the impossible. Humor aside, I’m about go through something more difficult, physically, than I have ever been faced with. A permanent colostomy bag changes my way of life forever. I know I’ll adjust and I’ll overcome the challenges, but just the fact that I have to overcome is worth acknowledging. I say this because too many people attempt to comfort me by telling me I’ll adjust. That’s not the issue. I know I will. The sadness I’m experiencing, and what I want acknowledged, is having to say goodbye to the person I am now. I have to leave her behind and change and become someone new, and I don’t have a choice. Do it, or risk death. That’s not a choice to someone that values their life. Nothing about that feels like a choice. Let my mourn. Don’t tell me there will be some other time in the future that won’t be like today. I’m perfectly aware that things change over time. Let me mourn.


About Kamina Kapow

I have dimples and friends

20 responses to “my vain expression of hope”

  1. Jenn Longbine says :

    1.) I love you. You’re inspiring no matter where your poop comes out.
    2.) I’m in. After much deliberating, I’m going to get my PHR this Spring. After I got the study materials, I’ve been vacillating… considering chickening out. So much to learn… but I really want the education and the proof that I know what I know. Soooo, I shall pledge to study my tush off and pass the damn thing.
    3.) You’re brave. Thanks for letting us in.

  2. Markis Melarkis says :

    One of the Major Arcana tarot cards — Death (number 13 as it happens) — is associated with change or a transition into a new state, and I was struck by the symbolism in your post: you are ceasing to be who you were, which is a death. But you are becoming a new person, which is a change. Death is scary, as is change, even if it is welcome.

    Now, I don’t believe in the tarot, any more than I believe in gods, but I believe in a good symbol all right. I will hold your hand during this death, and I know I will love the new you, too. You know our bargain.

  3. Jenn's Mom says :

    In order to meet your challenge, I’ve got some thinking to do.

  4. Gina says :

    Kamina, I’ve had a thought growing in my head the last few weeks that I’m getting ready to act on. I am going to start my own business selling gluten-free flour mixes. I will become an entrepreneur. That is my pledge.

    Also, you are crazy strong. You will get through this change.

  5. adayinthelifeofamiddleagewoman says :

    I let self-pity, excuses and the belief that I wasn’t worth it hold me back from going to college and pursuing life with light and love.
    So, I’m going to school.
    The second half of my life is going to be the half where living really happens.
    Kids with special education needs won’t know what hit them when Ms. Tash enters the classroom. 😉

  6. Julie says :

    You are amazing and my life is richer for knowing you. I think it is very profound that since your butt hurts, you have decided to kick all the rest of us in ours. No more easy excuses or lackadaisical attitudes towards using this amazing gift of creativity, thought , generosity and drive that makes us human. I will give it some thought but I accept your challenge to make the next pathway in my life. Thanks for the swift kick in the pants. You go girl!

  7. Tina Lucero Donnaloia says :

    Ok…so…art, it is my nemisis! But I will conqur it!! My biggest obsticle is time! Time and money. Time and money and knowledge of materials. I don’t know what all the different types of paints are or other mediums or surfaces are called. I only know that I have ideas and I want to make them. My pledge is to MAKE time, CREATE an “art aka shit tina likes to do” account and to LEARN about these materials. I pledge to have paintings on my walls, right next to those of my children and stand back and say, “jolly good show!”

    Oh…and with the help of the first girl who posted, I have been told I have a voice that could be amazing by the only person I ever sing in front of who happens to know a little about music 😉 He has nudged me many times to go after it. I am deathly afraid of such a thing and have mentioned that I would take lessons someday, but only if I could wear a paper bag over my head!! So I will also make time to pester this certain sweet singer to give me a lesson here and there even though it makes me naueous (and extremely excited) to do so!

    There! Two pledges! Cause I’m a hard core mother f’er!!

    Peace out!

    PS LOVE YOU!! See you soon!

    • clumsythinker says :

      time is going to be the biggest challenge.
      acrylic paints are cheap and easy to use, they would be a great place to start. you can get small portions of them at michaels or craft warehouse for like 80 cents each, and that’s usually enough to do several paintings.

      what you paint on can be more expensive, but my favorite is to take an old dresser or end table or any furniture with large pieces of wood apart and use the wood as your canvas. it might require a light sanding before you paint if there’s a glossy coat on it. set up an email alert on craigslist for free dressers and end tables soon you’ll have what you need at little cost.

      when you come over remind me to show you the cheap type of canvases i use.

      i have a decent voice that i rarely share, too. we can start a shy-singers band. 🙂

    • Jenn Longbine says :

      I will totally have singy time with you. Also, Michael’s is selling canvas right now 50% off…

  8. Vivian Ruby Stacks says :

    I’ve been thinking and thinking. I will develop at least one roll of film myself. Having to get the chemicals and not screw it up (plus that whole lack of a darkroom thing) makes it scary to me. Your challenge is the kick my butt needed.

  9. Sopes de pa says :

    I met you through Flickr, many months ago, perhaps years. I liked your pictures and I added you as a contact. But until now, I didn’t know anything about the person who is behind “Foolish Kamina”. I have to say that your words have touched me, and that I have cried while reading them. Your story is very moving and very encouraging too, and so the way you are living this moment of your life. I don’t know you, but I’m crying for you and your story right now. Tears of sadness and tears of admiration. I would love to share this challenge with you and make a big change, but I don’t want to deceive you: I am not a brave person. But I promise that I will think about it. A big hugh from Spain. One more thing: people like you are what don’t make me loose the faith in humanity.

  10. Sally says :

    I will lead a group of women who are on parole for domestic violence. The group is already formed but I had been fearful of taking the leadership role. It’s time to get over my “fraidy cat” attitude and be powerful! Thanks, Kamina. Good butt kick and I needed it.

  11. Amber Gregory says :

    I WILL become a full time professional photographer & be able to quit my day job. I will not live in fear of possible failure, and i won’t continue to be lazy and lack confidence. I need the biggest kick in the ass imaginable for this one, and this ironically has to do with asses, so I figure … its the least I can do.

  12. Fyr says :

    You inspire me on a near daily basis. Thank you.

    Ok, deep breath.

    I will write a novel and submit it to real, grown up publisher.

  13. Vivian Ruby Stacks says :

    I was thinking of you just today when I ordered everything I need to develop film in my sink.

  14. Shah says :

    I will make a movie. I’ve been wanting to do it for the longest time but never have. Because of this pledge I finally will.

  15. Alex says :

    Rebirth, personal growth, learning to become anew…these are central themes that you’ve been alluding to since before you started this journal, before you were even diagnosed. Your catalyst is abrupt, powerful, and immediately debilitating, but you have a conditioned soul and you aren’t afraid to explore the substance of pain. I’m awed by your quick ability to master the new forces guiding your life, even if they’ve just begun to sow.

    A year and a half ago, I quit my job of close to 7 years with the intention of reinventing myself. I’d lost a high school friend to brain cancer, I’d let stress get the best of my mind and body, and worst of all I felt time had given nothing in return.

    I was wrong. The pressure I put on myself was thoroughly intangible, but the powers of reflection prevailed. I was able to capture my fears and shape them into something that I could truly see. Much of my past life is riddled in fear, but as of a year ago I’m no longer afraid to bask in the rising tide.

    I pledge to you that I will complete college–ideally, twice–and live my life in the pursuit of happiness as I’ve come to define it, which includes keeping an open mind, an open heart, and supporting friends and family wherever, whenever I can. After all, I would not be the person I am today without your influence and support.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your recovery, and I look forward to our days to come.

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