I think of the word “hope” and I must admit, I have no idea how to put a definition on the word. And I use it all the time. Hell, within my first blog, “My Personal Hell”, I referred to hope. In case you can’t place a definition on the word, here you go: an optimistic attitude of the mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances. Expecting with confidence and cherishing a desire with anticipation.
Are you bored yet… Because that is a whole lot of technicality thrown into your brain. I still can’t fully wrap my mind around that killer of a word because of my ADD. Let me reference it to my life because that is the only way it will make sense to me and hopefully it will resonate with you too. Hah – hopefully.
When I was growing up, there was no hope. I didn’t even believe I could have hope in the sense that I had no support from my family. I didn’t know how hope applied to me even when I heard people talk about it. When they did talk about it, I internalized the belief that I didn’t deserve having hope or love or happiness or joy.
Here is a high-level introduction of my family dynamic: biological father divorced my mother when I was seven, he did not help raise me and left my life when I was eleven to move 256 miles away to start a new family – I was always called “daddy’s girl” and I was never treated that way regardless of how hard I tried; mother was a meth and cocaine addict while I was in-utero through age four drawing the attention of Child Protective Services. My mother had convinced me that the only way to live is to be codependent to her, hence, my inability to think for myself – this codependency lasted until I was thirty. She had full control of all thoughts I processed. She instilled in me that my life goals are to marry, have as many children as I can, and conform to society, even if I’m not happy.
My step-father. In every sense of the word created a chaotic environment. The anger, paranoia, distrust, violence, detachment from reality, selfishness – and the list goes on. I never had a safe place at home. If a small dose of happiness existed in the home, then he would do anything to take that happiness away so that he remained in control. Shit, he needs a blog all for himself (maybe I will title it “Rising Above Childhood Chaos”).
I guess he isn’t 100% bad… The 3% good that he did for me was: 1) introduce me to AC/DC; 2) help pay for part of my DUI fines; and 3) introduce me to basketball. In retrospect, he only introduced me to basketball to get me out of the house and away from him…
I realize I sound like I’m complaining a lot. Regardless of it taking three decades, there is happiness too. I found hope somewhere in that mess.
Two years ago, I went above my families expectations of not believing in mental health and sought treatment. Mother considered me crazy. Step-father considered me irrational. Both brothers turned their backs to my new found belief. This was the first step of being considered an outcast in the family, from their eyes. Additionally, my now, ex-husband did not support me in bettering myself and did not believe in mental health.
Their loss because I know now that I am capable in conquering all barriers and it isn’t worth my energy to succumb to their personal expectations.
Hope during the last year, is the only thing that kept me alive during my three attempts of suicide. Each time, I found a small amount of hope that something positive would eventually come to me. There was never full confidence in that statement. After all, why would I deserve to have the suffering end after it had consistently blanketed my Self my entire life?
When I was prescribed my mood stabilizer, May 2017, hope suddenly meant I anticipated the day I’d find happiness within this lifetime. I expected, with immense confidence, that I’d cherish living.
Through counseling I spent many sessions working through disconnecting from that codependency instilled in me by my parents.
I learned that I can, and am able to, think for myself. Believe for myself. Live for myself. Live each day with no agenda; and instead, i will live by doing the best I can each day with no expectations.
Now I am able to set healthy boundaries between me and my parents, for me. That ability is real. It’s like having a super power. I still haven’t finalized those boundaries. The beauty in that is I have time to create boundaries. And I now realize that any boundary created isn’t set in stone; it can be dynamic.
Currently, I haven’t seen either parent in two months. I have no regrets and happiness has emerged due to this new-found hope in my confidence that I deserve to live my own life detached from their expectations and control. I believe that is partially the definition of self-empowerment (but then again, I am terrible at definitions).
With all certainty, I know I am now hopeful for a brighter future. One where co-dependency won’t exist. I recognize that it is human nature to want love and comfort. However, when codependency consumes you, you will never be happy. I now believe that if you love yourself enough you wouldn’t need to depend on others to create that happiness for you; you will fight to create happiness within yourself.
You can create your life. Live freely. And there is still time – that’s the beautiful part.
Each of us has a different life, a different story. If I can go against every odd in the world, I believe you can as well.
Cherish your hope.