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.