Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hold on Hope project

Hope (is a Colour)
(Hold on Hope Series, 2010/2011)

Hold on Hope (a life project)

I’ve always had a well of hope, of optimism, and I never tried to guess how many experiences, at what intensity, might drain it too quickly to replenish. I assumed it was infinite. I assumed I could always draw hope from within, even when the world was stingy in providing. I could always find reasons, ways to hope.

And then, I couldn’t.

Sometime last year, I started losing hope. It’s been coming on for some time, in waves of despair that I dissipated quickly with some pride in my efficiency.

But they kept coming.

Stronger. Pounding me down a little harder each time, with fewer moments for a relieving breath before the next wave, BAM. And me, the whole time, trying to pretend to stand upright, pretend I’m not dripping wet, my smile determined.

That day, the day I scraped the bottom, I didn’t see it coming. I was paying attention to my body, breathing, focusing on my strength and capabilities. Then gradually, an undercurrent distracted my attention. I felt a rumble of discontent, like a little earthquake shaking my Okay. I felt a rumble of BULLSHIT.

From threat to explosion, brutality disguised as truth, the dam I’d been building gave way and what was there behind it was still there, rancid and steaming:

You don’t buy this. You know it’s hopeless. Is this what you’ve made of your life? Do you think that all those people watching Fox News are really capable of understanding what is required for humanity to live in peace on this planet? You have no more impact than a finger stuck in a pond and removed. Where do you get off even thinking you should or could make a difference? You’re just a middle-class no one in nowhereville doing nothing that anyone will ever care about, and that’s all you can be. You're on a path to fucking even that up. You’re ridiculous.

I sunk to the ground. I couldn’t remember one reason why I might want to dwell among humans. I thought, if I die right now, that’s okay. Whatever.


I don’t know how long I was there, in a heap, repeating that word , Whatever, over and over and over to myself like it excused every weak and ugly thing about me, like it absolved me of thought, caring and action all at once. A guilty relief, and a fake one, but I didn’t care at all. I laughed, manically at and to myself. I thought maybe my head would explode with the pressure of rejecting anything that felt like caring.

Me, without hope, is not someone I’m fond of being.

Eventually, I had to move. The body required it. Stiff, drained, empty, I rolled to my side. I sat up and faced myself in the mirrored wall. I couldn’t look in my eyes. I moved closer, rested my forehead against my forehead in the glass.

You need to get a hold on hope, I told myself.

I raised my head, and my blue eyes shocked me with their brilliance. I watched me see myself, and I smiled for a moment.

But it’s hard, I said, whiny.

I nodded in sympathy. Yes, it’s hard.  Hope anyway.

I held my eyes. I told myself: decide and stop deciding. Commit to a life that demands hope, every day. Stop worrying if it’s going to hurt. It is. Just figure out how to do it. Each choice, each decision, says what we really believe. What do you believe? What do you dare hope for?

This Hold on Hope project is about that, for me. It permeates everything I'm doing. It demands expression, this process of asking:

What do I believe? 
What do I dare hope for? 
And how will I be strong enough for all the inevitable disappointment along the way?

It's a life project. I’m glad you’re here with me. Stay tuned.
Almost a Path
(Hold on Hope, 2011)