*I want to offer a trigger warning at the start of this post, that I’m going to be discussing mental health, depression, suicide, and sadness. If you’re not in a spot to hear this, please feel free to skip this one, though I really hope you won’t, because in the end, it’s about hope, and it’s about finding light despite it all. Just wanted to offer that up, as I value you all so much. Onward, if you wish.*
Let no one lie to you of this again, let no one come offering snake oil and promise, instant remedy to the ennui that comes without warning, and stays like uninvited guest when the food has run low: Hoping, is hard.
Some come, call it choice, speak of positivity and reframing our lenses, adjusting our points of view, and say that it’s up to us how we see the life we live, how the troubles we face will play out. Nonsense. Life is hard, and the years we’ve come through are but icebergs floating in some frozen sea, for the truth is, below the surface of Covid and pandemics and political upheavals and war, are ten million billion other reasons why the whole of this life, this trip through an existence, is really god damn hard. We are all facing things, every single day we’re up against a planet quite literally trying to exterminate us from it, a lot of us in this space are living in a country that is not at all conducive to any kind of actual equality, so unless you’re born into a position of stress-free security, you wake, and just as I mentioned last week, are forced to hustle and grind in order to stay somewhere near the top, the foam art on the overpriced latte.
Hoping is hard. Hope, is hard. I know, from such heartbreaking experience I know, that giving in to despair can feel as easy as falling asleep, that there will come days where you’re so worn out and empty, you just want to rest and don’t really care when, or if, that rest is over. I have lost two friends in my life to suicide, and many more that were not close friends, but acquaintances, and every time it happens, it ruins me just a little bit more. I am angry, but I am understanding, I am heartbroken, but I am sympathetic. I know how hard life can be, I know how low we can sink and how much water there seems to be above us when we plummet towards that dark bottom, burdens anchored to us like concrete and rope. I know, I’ve been there, and it’s from this place that I say again, Hoping is hard, hope, is hard.
Believing, actual true and honest belief is a fight, a constant fight, and there is nothing harder on earth than staying on earth. I spill truths here, I always have, and so once again I will not lie to you and say that there’s one path forward, that things are always going to work out, that whatever is pulling you down now will miraculously let go and all will be well. What I will say, is that there is hope to be had, and this has nothing to do with toxic positivity or any bullshit about making a choice to ignore the hard things. This is about fighting, this is about hope being a battle against that falling asleep, that haze of despair. This is about making one choice, and one choice only: You’ll keep fighting. You’re not going to win them all, you’re not going to always come out on top, you’re not always going to have everything go your way or enjoy the smoothest seas, no, but sometimes, sometimes the winds will calm and the waves will quiet and all you’ll see is stars. Sometimes, you’ll hoist the trophy, instead of falling to your knees in defeat. Sometimes you’ll find light, in all that darkness. More than all things, Sometimes, there are those that will need you to fight for them, to be their light when they cannot find any, and this, this is why we fight.
Maybe there will be times where this is the only thing that keeps us going, the fight for someone else, the fight to be that light, and maybe that’s ok. Maybe it’s ok if there’s only on tiny lifeline, as long as there is a lifeline. Maybe instead of chasing perfection or that aforementioned toxic positivity, we should just be chasing one another, maybe instead of constantly trying to lift ourselves up, we should lift others, and let others lift us. I don’t know the answers to this thing, I just know that it’s hard, and I just know that it’s worth it. I also know that I am here, and willing to be that light for you, should yours start to dim. I know that I never again want to get the phone call that I’ve lost anyone else, and so that I’m in it for the fight, for myself, for anyone else that needs it.
I’ve had many people in my life wander in claiming to know the secrets to a happy life, claiming that if we pop on some happy music and just “snap out of it,” all will settle and we’ll miraculously be healed from our afflictions, be they mental, physical, or emotional. Sadly, all of these people I have seen fall deeper into their own problems, deeper into their own sadness, and I honestly believe it’s because of this false narrative they were even telling themself. That hoping is easy, that life can just *poof*change*poof* if we ask it to change. How intense the failure feels when we personalize it this way, when we blame ourselves for not being able to, or being strong enough, to choose something different than the sadness we are surrounded by. That we’re too weak to find hope, or some other such nonsense that ignores the truths I have found, and tried to lay out in this essay.
Now, when people come to me and suggest I try positivity, as gently as I can, I tell them to fuck off. Sometimes, things are hard, sometimes life sucks, sometimes we feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s then we need someone to sit with us in the dark, and just tell us they’ll help us fight. That’s it, nothing more. That’s what I’m saying to you today, should you find yourself in that tunnel, I’m here, I’m beside you, and I’ll fight right by your side. If you’re not there, and light is all around you, if hope doesn’t feel like a battle right now, find someone that doesn’t agree, and instead of trying to fix them, trying to turn it around and offer some false promise, just tell them you’re there, always. Tell them Hope is a battle, and they won’t fight alone.
Hope is a battle,
against the falling asleep,
the haze of despair.