Tag Archives: hope

Letting Go

I hesitate to even write about my unemployment situation again because above everything else, I like to keep things light here. It’s a blog, not a diary.

But it’s also impossible to ignore the stress, the panic attacks and the uncertainty that I deal with every day and that some of you might relate to. Plus, people have asked, so funny next time but an update today.


Imagine being stuck at the bottom of a deep, dark hole with no idea how you’re going to make your way out. There are times you can see the sun up above and feel the rays on your face, but yet you are still down in that hole, surrounded by nothing but darkness on every side.

Friends and family walk by and offer heartfelt advice and encouragement, sometimes throwing a rope down to try and pull you back up. Grateful, you eagerly grab a hold of both the literal and figurative lifeline, only to find that it’s not strong enough and eventually you crash back down.

You try and remember that the next rope that gets thrown your way could be the one that saves you, but not knowing when that might be—or if it will ever show up, for that matter—makes looking up pretty hard.

It’s exhausting.

It’s disheartening.

It’s unemployment.

The thing is, I’m someone who functions best when I’m productive and creative. When I get on a roll—whether it’s just tweets, a blog post or something professionally—I feel great. I feel useful. I feel productive.

One of the biggest frustrations with unemployment—aside from not making money, of course—is that I don’t have anywhere to really focus all of that creative energy. Granted, hours of my day are often spent sending out emails, researching job boards and trying to find something new, but I’m a big fan of instant gratification. Work hard—see results.

Well, it’s been two months and yeah…not so much.

Every time I open my email or see a new posting, my heart lifts before dropping down. There have been several occasions when I was certain that I would be a perfect fit for the job, only to be greeted with a rejection, or even worse, nothing at all. 

This uncertainty is new for me.

I don’t like it.

Even though I know things could be so much worse, I’ll be honest and say there have been some pretty dark days. And as much as I appreciate the support, I find myself uncharacteristically envious of people with jobs or spouses to financially help them out, and I hate that. I find myself wondering if I’m doing something—or everything—wrong, and why just one thing can’t go my way, and I feel selfish.

I feel like I’m fighting a battle on every side. Much like a Saturday afternoon in Walmart, it’s not very attractive. It’s also not very much fun, and a pretty big creativity buzzkill.

And so this is where I add in the “hopeful” part and say there are two ways that all this can go—I can cling to how I want things to be or I can adjust to how things are now. When we cling to things—whatever those things are— we struggle. When we grasp at what we want or think we want, we suffocate it. When we identify with a list of “should,” we always fall short in the end.

So, I’m trying to let go—to some of the doubt, expectations, guilt, attachment to results and the idea that my next path needs to be a straight line.

Some days it’s really hard, but I know the next rope that gets thrown my way could be the one that saves me. Or it could conk me in the head because I was distracted by something shiny down in that hole. But for the most part, I’m more than ready to grab on.

And it starts with letting go.

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That’s Where I’ll Be

Six days before Christmas I found myself leaving the house at 7 a.m., not to go join the crowds bustling out to finish their holiday shopping, but to go stand outside in the cold and wait for the unemployment office to open the doors for the second time in three days.

As I made my way inside, I took a number and a seat among the crowd that had already filled up the room. A quick check of the clock showed that almost exactly two weeks ago at that time, I was told that my job of almost eight years wasn’t mine anymore.

And so, there I was, a number among the crowd.

Two weeks ago I would have never envisioned myself in that position, listening to an unemployment office worker address the room like a school teacher, instructing us as to the steps we needed to take, the forms we needed to complete, the frustration we should probably anticipate. I would have never envisioned myself among the crowd I often saw waiting outside as I drove past this building hundreds of times through the years.

Having security ripped from me in one quick sentence —“We’ve decided to go in a different direction” — essentially changed my life forever.

Instead of worrying about editorial deadlines or meetings, I now worried about overly complicated online paperwork, figuring out self-paid health care and sending out emails, resumes and positive vibes to the universe.

While I had previously thought freelance rejection was disheartening, I was now faced with rejection in terms of jobs I felt were a good fit, frustration in not reaching an actual person on the phone, and helplessness and fear that has reduced me, the woman who never cries, to sobbing like a baby more than once or twice.

And so, there I was.

When I looked around that room, I wondered about the stories of everyone else. What brought them to that point?

I wondered if they felt like a burden to those in their lives, despite how supportive they’ve been. I wondered if their hearts leapt into their throats every time the phone rang with possible news, if they got hopeful and then disheartened, motivated and then discouraged. I wondered if they missed the luxury of being stressed out over completely insignificant things like a long morning commute or a boring meeting.

And I wondered if they felt humbled, the way that I most certainly did.

While I’m envious of those not dealing with this, I’m not bitter and no that it could be worse. If nothing else, I’m now forced to realize how so much is out of my control—a feeling we all know that I try and avoid—and to let go of how I think things should be. I’m now forced to reflect and rebuild—a process that’s hard, but that’s also exciting in some ways, as I know my last job just wasn’t for me

It’s that whole, “see a slammed door as a window to new opportunity” hippy-dippy thing. 

Above everything else though, these past few weeks have showed me just how much I need people. I always appreciated those in my life, but this situation has forced me to open up, be vulnerable and let down my guard quite a bit. In doing so, I have been overwhelmed with the kindness bestowed upon me, melting away my cynicism and replacing it with a restored faith in people, in goodness, in hope.

I might have a heavy heart at times, but it’s also a heart filled with gratitude for those in my life—both online and off.

When my number was called I walked up to the desk and looked around that room one last time. As cheesy as it sounds, I hoped everyone else had their own stories to write that would end up okay in the end, that they had people they could talk to when the cloud of uncertainty shrouded the last spark of hope.

Without these people in my life this past month, I don’t know what I would have done. They’ve reminded me that while one sentence changed my life for the worst, one sentence could bring a new start.

It’s time to go in a different direction. 

And then, that’s where I will be.

While I keep things light around here, people are also asking me how things are going so I thought I would just give an update. However, attempts at humor coming next post.  

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A Light In the Dark

As a writer, I try to write about everything.

It’s basically all that I know how to do.

But the thing about writing humor is that it sometimes makes me feel like I’m hiding behind a mask and pretending I’m something I’m not. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a person who loves to laugh—who loves to make other people laugh even more—but yet most of the time that’s not me, or at least that’s not how I feel.

But it’s hard to ignore what goes on in my head and even harder to write about depression. For one, there’s the fear that writing about it makes you look weak and turns people off because it’s not funny or light. Most people have their own problems, so why would they read about mine?

The other trouble is that it is often incredibly difficult to articulate just how I feel.

Deep depression is hard to understand, especially if you’ve never been there. It has manageable days that for me usually include writing something I don’t hate or spending time outside. In other words, I function and appear to be fine.

But then there are days—sometimes even that same day— when like a virus it flares up and all I can do is remind myself not to swerve my car over the center line or walk a little too close to the edge.

These are the times that I should reach out, but the thing about depression is that it comes with the sense that you shouldn’t have it to begin with, that it’s a bunch of self-indulgent navel gazing and not an actual illness like those that everyone can see looking in.

And so I swallow it down and isolate more, feeling that talking about it at all with people will only make me sound whiny. It’s hard to explain that depression isn’t like being sad and OCD isn’t just “needing to clean,” but rather that they are entirely crippling.

Unfortunately for me, it has crippled me both physically and mentally.

My concentration is barely existent, and more times than not I alternate between staring at my computer and feeling trapped behind a curtain too heavy to lift/inadequate in comparison to everyone else and doing unhealthy amounts of exercise in an attempt to distract myself and feel something, anything other than flat.

At least the exercise—the slow self-destruction in part because of my OCD —gives me some false sense that I’m coping or in control…until my body can no longer take the brunt of my mind. But no matter what I do, it’s never enough, and the addiction can only temporarily serve as distraction before my body literally breaks.

The effects devastate me not because of what they’re doing to my body, but because they take away the only coping mechanism that I feel like I have when everything feels like too much and yet not enough. The immediate consequences don’t matter because at that point, nothing really matters.

But that’s what depression does.

It twists things around in your mind. Any activity takes many times more effort, like trying to run through quicksand. Work is boring and intolerable. What felt joyful feels dull and what felt sad feels unbearable. Everything seems meaningless, including previous accomplishments and anything you used to like.

Depression is truly the absence of hope.

So why write this post?

Because ignoring that fact is ignoring what I deal with each day. But more importantly, maybe it’s because what you deal with, too, and hearing that others are in the same boat can be something you didn’t even know you needed to hear.

After all, words have power. But this isn’t a motivational speech with a happy ending or solution, as I have neither of those things. It’s simply a reminder that you’re not alone. You’re not defective or broken or dealing with what you “deserve.”

No, you’re simply human.

You’re doing the best that you can with the strength that you have. You’re choosing to hold on to hope and to fight, and as much as I feel like I can’t on some days, I choose to keep fighting as well.

It’s basically all that I know how to do, but we don’t have to do it alone.

And hopefully at the end of the day, we can find something that makes us smile. Sometimes that’s all — and everything — that we might need.


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Three Things

“The three grand essentials to happiness in life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” – Joseph Addison

Although I like to keep things light here, this time of year is always a little bit rough for me. So while this post feels self-indulgent and I’m sure I’ll regret that I shared it, that’s why I’m writing it—because it’s easy to only share good things and hide all the gray in between.

I promise “funny” next time. It’s not all doom and gloom.

But while everyone is optimistic and resolving to be EVEN MORE AWESOME and productive and “following their passion” in 2013, I’m still counting the minutes until I can crawl into bed and drop the façade of a functioning adult human being. In other words, riding out another wave of depression in which I find it hard to find any or all of those things.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

The past couple years I’ve really come to embrace my own likes and dislikes and peculiarities, and I do have a slightly better grasp of what makes me content. I’m quite simple, and it doesn’t take much.

But depression’s a game-changer, and I feel like my biggest accomplishment in 2012 was surviving without complete self-destruction. I didn’t really live up to my potential and didn’t really care all that much. My weight slipped down, motivation came in bursts and busts and for the most part I just floated along.

We don’t need to go back over that, as that’s not the “something to do” that he spoke of. Instead, I shall overshare more.


For me, “something to do” is to make a living in a way that grants me the freedom to look forward to going to work, ideally writing and making a few people smile. I don’t seek fame, but rather the work that I do and the people I’m around to make me feel good about myself.

I’ve yet to find my “fit,” that place that feels right, but I have to believe that meaningful work is somewhere out there for me.


When you’re depressed, your world gets very, very small and soon you see nothing but things in your head. The last thing you want to do is appear weak or feel like a burden, so it’s easy to keep it all in.

And despite my fierce independence, wanting a connection with others is a natural inclination. Connections are the main reason why I write—along with the fact that I love it—but I often reveal myself to strangers and hide myself from the people I know.

I need to remember that “something to love” doesn’t necessarily mean “something to validate me” and that being in an abusive relationship with myself takes up time in which I could be open to healthy relationships.


As I’ve covered before, the key is to want to want something to hope for, to want to want something to change. For most of last year I had insight, but not much inspiration. So while I don’t aim for extra awesomeness or miracles in 2013, I hope to do more than survive.

I hope to find somewhere I fit.

And no, it’s not a resolution. It’s a reminder that life is messy for everyone. It’s filled with pain and confusion mixed with moments of joy, much of it out of our control. But we can all seek something to do, something to love and something to hope for.

Three things.

One day at a time.

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What are one of your “three things” from above?

It’s a Funny Thing

I’m not an easy person to be close with. There are a few quirks you have to get used to, and I’m sure I’m frustrating more times than not.


But there are moments when I can be semi-humorous and/or introspective, and it’s been my experience that people don’t always want introspection—they want to be entertained.

I’m no exception to this rule.

While getting introspective and “deep” can be helpful, sometimes I think that writing about it all the time ends up sounding like I’m just dwelling on things.

So instead of publishing posts that make me sound like a drag, I often try to find the funny and share the posts that make me sound like a weirdo. Humor is a great distraction from things and most people like to laugh—me included—because who wouldn’t want to be happy?

But here’s where I let you in on a secret.

Sometimes when I’m at my (relative) funniest, that’s when I’m at my lowest, and each tweet, update or post is simply me grasping at sanity straws. I might be snarky, but chances are I’d rather be in bed with covers over my head pretending the day isn’t happening.

Don’t get me wrong—sometimes I’m genuinely happy with things and I’m naturally a sarcastic smartass. On those days when I’m able to write, creating something—anything—makes me happy, ridiculously happy, mostly because I feel productive and useful for at least a few minutes in time.

Then there are times I epically fail, and instead of trying to search for a laugh, I go and search for the covers. Unfortunately, those days happen much more often than I’d like to admit.

But while there is often real suffering, there is also self-created suffering. While there is often real happiness, there is also self-created happiness.

I forget this when I’m not only without a funny blog post, status update or quick quip to read or write, but also without the desire to care either way—about that, or really, anything. These are the times when I get stressed, as I simply want to be funny and LAUGH DAMMIT! Why is being happy so hard?

But as Thich Nhat Hanh once said much more eloquently than me, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

True, Thich my man, true.

It’s rather unrealistic to think you can be happy 100 percent of the time. That would be weird and unnatural, like how people’s faces vibrate when they try and hold in a yawn. (Just let it go, people.) And even though many of us have good lives and good opportunities, normal life isn’t easy for anyone—even those without depression.

But we can try to create small moments when things seem most bleak. We can remember that behind everyone’s smile, there might be some pain. Behind everyone’s laugh, there might be self-doubt. Behind every dark moment there has to be light, even if it’s buried under eight pounds of crap.

Where there’s humor, there’s hope.

It’s funny how those things work out.

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This post was kind of written in response to a company called The b Positive Project, a T-shirt company that has become more of a “positive movement” of sorts.  As their site states, “We know that everyone encounters tough times, but we believe that, in those moments, everyone also has the choice to ‘b Positive.’”


They have a really cool story and they reached out to me to share something, I was honored, so you have this. Oh! And even though they offered to send me a shirt, I haven’t been compensated in any way. I just think they’re cool. But I do love T-shirts, so there’s that, too.   

If anyone else wants to send me a T-shirt, I’ll totally write you a post.  

I Hope So

No offense to anyone, but I hate being tagged for things in the blogging world, mostly because it feels chain letter-y and those things creep me out.

But Jerrod tagged me in this Hope Blog Relay and threatened very mean things if I refused to participate , mostly because Melanie threatened very mean things if he dropped the blogging baton. I just couldn’t live with the guilt.


Okay, I probably could, but I’ll give this a shot anyway.

The gist is you write about hope and then pass it along. Snark aside, this was hard. Like, “I don’t want to do this and I’m going to throw a great big tantrum” hard. Why? Because most days I feel there is there is no hope for me, so writing about it feels like an exercise in futility.

Well, I’ve written about depression multiple times, so it’s not like I don’t have much to say. I have a lot to say, but I’ve already said it before. For those who don’t want to click on the links, here’s a recap:

I don’t choose to be depressed.

I don’t wake up and conscientiously make a decision to already wish I could go back to bed. I don’t isolate and choose not to just “snap out of it” or to be so OCD that now my body has gone from whispering warnings to screaming satanic-like shouts.

While I could go on about the health things as of late, I’m not sure this is the place or the post. I’ll simply say that they add to the whole “absence of hope” thing.

But this relay isn’t about that—it’s about having hope.

So I thought about writing a funny or inspirational piece using other people’s stories and the choices they’ve made that have inspired hope in others. Then I called bullshit on myself.

Because while I’m sure that would be lovely, it would also be a bit of a cop out.  And as comfortable as feeling like crap can become, I’m tired of ignoring the fact that hope can exist for me too and that every day I have a choice. 

I can choose to own it.

I can choose to quit acting like hope is this foreign concept that applies to the whole world except me.

I can choose to admit that while there are physical barriers, I don’t help myself like I should.

I can choose to reach out to friends, family and doctors again without feeling like it makes me weak.

I can choose not to wait for something or someone to come and do all the work for me, to change the course of my sometimes tumultuous path.

Will I choose all these things? I don’t know. 

I’ve said it all before and it still kind of feels like a crap shoot. If I was reading this I would probably be rolling my eyes and saying, “Good lord, woman. How is this hopeful? Eat more, quit exercising, smile and get yourself some serious drugs.”

OK. I probably wouldn’t think that about anyone else, but that’s how I feel. In fact, I didn’t even want to write this at all. It sounds whiny and like I’m rambling on when all I want to do is delete this and post something funny.

But I choose to be honest today.

I choose to admit that I want to have hope and deserve to be healthy again. 

And I choose to pass that along.

For those of you who actually stuck around until the end of this thing, gold star for you today! I promise more “normal” ramblings next time, but today I was passed the baton, and as part of the relay I’m required to pass it along.

While many bloggers have already been tagged, there are a couple that I want to feel forced to participate (but no obligation, of course.)

Nichole at MichonMichon

Dana at The Kitchen Witch

Cara at Fork and Beans

Lance at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Jen at When Pigs Fly

If anyone else wants to join in, please feel free and continue this thread with anything about hope. You can even add that fun little graphic up there (not me smoking a piece of asparagus, but the relay button thing.)

And in my final act as freaking Pollyanna, tell me one thing about hope in the comments. What does the word mean to you?