Carolina Chanis

Hope is my four letter word

I’ve been focusing on one thing for the past month and a half. Can I wake up and carry on with my day as someone who believes she is worthy?

I am glad to report that for the most part I have, and even on the days where I feel like I dropped the ball, I do not beat myself up about it, and that’s what people who believe in their worth do…so there ya go.

It’s about how I navigate things, less about what I get done. Though it feels damn good to be taking action because I am LIVING. I am building my life. I am listening to what my soul wants.

Here’s where it gets intense. I’m looking at this emotional scale and the next level from contentment is hope.

Emotional Guidance Scale

Oooooohhhhhh no. I hate this.

I casually decided a couple of years ago that I was done with hope. We broke up. I decided hope was an emotion that did not serve me.

And here I am, about 4 years later, staring at that fucking word, and having to describe — how does hope feel in my body?

It feels like I am trying to swallow a slimy, live frog.

It brings me back down to powerlessness.

It is like 100 alarm buttons were pressed at the same time, and the flood of flashbacks fill me with rage and sadness.

Why is it such a loaded word?

So, we took a step back.

A synonym that didn’t upset me was DESIRE.

I’ve been using that word a lot recently. Desire feels expansive and positive. Hope feels like the world is going to crash on my head.

Why is that?

(Parenthesis here. I’m not doing this introspection alone. I’m working with a professional on this.)

When I lost hope, I lost hope not only for myself but for humanity.

I have not recovered this hope for humanity.

In the session, I shared all my despondency and disdain for such word.

Why do I need hope anyways? What good has it ever done for me?

I was told to grieve what I lost when I lost hope.

I have grieved so much that I have come to terms with a lot of those things. The past is the past. I cannot negate it. I do not resent it. I do not wish that the girl who’d rather endure an oil burn than ask for help never had to go through that. I do not wish that the seven odd years that I spent struggling with PMDD did not happen.

So what is behind the instant tears that come out when I think of my lack of hope?

Do I have any hopes left in me, given that I have very little for mankind?

Actually, I do.

I have these hopes that feel larger than my own life.

And I think this is why it feels like trying to hold on to a slimy frog.

I had never expressed my hope as something that could be my reality.

I had never thought of my hopes as something that gets to exist.

I just thought my hopes are on the verge of the impossible, and I do not have the strength to undergo the transformation that my hopes are asking of me.

This is what I grieve. This is why the tears come out.

I had let those possibilities die before they could sprout. I am trying to live while suffocating my hope, telling it to wait in the back of the line, because if I were to put it front and center right now, I’d collapse from the pressure.

I’ve been more focused on desires, because my desires are earthy. Very concrete. Yet I do not think that they are less worthy because of that.

I am rebuilding and I got to start somewhere.

If I can’t hold myself in my simple human desires, my hopes will always feel like they do now, an impossible dream.

It is all necessary and important work.

The part that I didn’t consider was that I can weave my hope into my desires right now. I forgot to give my hope space. I forgot to give my hope a chance to be a warm, fuzzy feeling. I let my hope become a hazy vision that had no eyes, mouth or hands, it was just clinging to the air and I can only sense it when it upsets me.

I sense my hope whenever I see the same thing written over and over again in journal entries that span decades. That desire “to connect to the land”. I still don’t know what that could look like.

I sense my hope every time I try to describe the collective pain body of our culture. My hope to articulate it, my hope to build something positive from processing that collective trauma.

I sense my hope every time I find the books that describe something that is causing discomfort in my mind. Recently, it’s been the conversations about reconciliation, anti-racism, decolonization, capitalism.

I sense my hope every time I have a meaningful connection with another human and think to myself, “More of this, please”.

I think this is why I still have days where I go from “life is great” to “tell me again why going through this is supposed to be fulfilling?”

I don’t give space to my hope, so it comes back as something that haunts me. It is fueling that voice that tells me this is all a joke. When I told my hope to wait in the back of the line, it didn’t like that.

My hope had to go undercover as the demon that tells me: “If you don’t acknowledge my existence, I will build this dome around your potential and you will not soar. You will think you are flying but you will hit the ceiling very fast. Because without me, you cannot go far. Without me, you will always recoil when you hear the word DREAM.”

“You will not break this dome without me”

“That pain you feel when you open up your heart? That’s me.”

“That blockage you have in your throat when you do those embodiment exercises? That’s me.”

“That sadness you feel because you can’t remember if there was ever a version of you that had real dreams…that’s me.”

My desires are good fuel for the sprint of the day. They do not sustain me when I think of an open ended future that is not in my control. That’s where hope steps in, and I haven’t let her be my companion. I have kept her at a distance, so far from me that when I try to imagine her demon form, she is just mist. She is the thing that wants to come out and I keep putting the lid back on. The feeling is quite literal. It feels like molasses in my throat, it feels like a weight that sinks my heart.

I know that this overnight emotional clearing is not “magic”. I’ve been peeling layers and layers for a while now, and today I am finally able to recognize the mist for what it is. This recognition is enough to create cracks in that dome that my lovely demon created for me. I’ve been trying to tear it apart through brutal willpower. Of course, that only leaves me bruised and fucked up for days, until I learn a new lesson about control and surrender. But today, I finally see what the dome is made of. I understand the source, I understand the composition of those blocks. It is the mist, cemented, it is the lost hope, calcified.

The mist is clearing, and there’s something else happening. It is gathering itself, on my right hand, transforming into something else. It feels warm and cuddly. Like holding a baby bird. Hmmm.

I write about the emotional courage it takes to start a thing…from the lens of an extreme perfectionist