—Apparently, there is hope. I can reclaim my moods as my own, combat the suffocating anxiety, and subsequently take control of my life. In theory, at least. It doesn’t seem likely, but I’ve been told so many times recently that there is hope. I’ve been told it repeatedly. The people saying it have such confidence in the concept. Hope. Not that I know how to define a term so vague, anyway. What is hope?
-Don’t be a dumbass, you know what hope is. You’ve felt it before, more times than you could even begin to count. Hope is what you felt as a child, going to bed on Christmas Eve, and it’s what woke you up way too early the next morning to peek outside your bedroom door down the hall at the glistening tree. Yes, it’s an intangible thing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Hope is an invisible force that consistently moves in the direction of better things simply because that is its nature. Hope is a lighthouse finally visible in the distance when you’ve been lost at sea, scared and cold, for so long. It’s what you aim for because you know if you do, you’ll land exactly where you’re supposed to be. Hope is something to hold on to when for whatever reason, you’ve let go of the reins and you’re about to be thrown off the horse. It’s what tethers you to the task you’re trying to accomplish until you’ve actually accomplished it and what drives you forward when your goals seem too far out of reach. Hope is expecting these things to save you even if them happening seems unlikely.
—Got a little wordy with that, didn’t you? Let your inter writer come out? Nice touch. But it still doesn’t help. Your metaphors and examples are beautiful, they just don’t give me direction. I’m not lost at sea, I’m not on a horse. You know?
-Gotcha, you wanna be difficult. No, no, it’s okay. I can work with that. You want direction, a map of sorts, a step-by-step guide to refer back to. Well first, close your eyes and take a deep breath. In and out. Again and again. Repeat the process until your heart steadies and the fluttering anxiety vacates your chest. Now tell yourself that you’re stronger than what you’re feeling in this moment. Because you are stronger. The feelings are temporary and you are forever, infinite by default because energy is neither created nor destroyed and my god is your energy, your wild, loud, excited energy, a lasting thing. You are a body and mind and soul, you are everything and the fleeting feelings are nothing. You are powerful. You possess in your very being everything it takes to survive and thrive. Once you’ve internalized that message, check the weather. Go outside, feel the breeze if there is one and let it remind you that there’s good all around us and we are permeable enough to let it in. If it’s raining, be soaked by it’s drops. Let it remind you that you are real, that you are right there, alive and breathing, and that it takes rain to make a rainbow. If it’s sunny, soak it in. Know that every sun casts a shadow, but we have to have some dark in order to show light. But regardless of the current conditions, the weather is going to change tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. That’s just how it is, but if they’re not predicting sun, you can always bring your own sunshine.
—Again, beautifully and artistically explained. But I still don’t know how to latch onto something that isn’t physical. If hope is what’s going to help me get through these problems, these issues, this thing called life, how do I utilize it? How do I actively hope?
-Okay, okay. You want a specific answer to your problem. You want a simple solution that you can whip out and use, right now, so you can feel immediately better. Right? Well, I’m sorry. I can’t help you on that one. It doesn’t work like that. You learn to hope through the efforts you make to learn about what hope is. Which is stupid, I know. But you don’t start out with knowledge, you never do. Learning is an active process. I think it’s a “fake it til you make it” type thing. Just try. Do whatever feels like hoping to you. Jump into it. “Leap and the net will appear,” you know? Ask yourself questions, do some soul-searching and define hope for yourself. Do it now, there’s no point in waiting. Hope isn’t going anywhere, but it’s sitting right in front of you. You might as well acknowledge it.
—Profound, as always. But this time, I think you helped something click in my head. Because I’m already thinking about hope, aren’t I? I’m already halfway there, I guess. Hope is the fact that I’m trying to figure this out. Even that attempt means I’m refusing to give up. Refusing to throw in the towel and let the chaos crash onto me like waves on the shoreline. I’m swimming through the waves, riding over them, and maybe soon I’ll be learning to surf. Hope is pressing on and asking these questions even though I’m confused, feeling meek. Hope is roaring like a lion in spite of all that.
-See, you got it. I hoped that you would