Where Does Your Hope Lie? (June 15, 2022)

For all your daily affirmation needs — Just Rant Already

Mark Manson does it again with his follow up to The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fu*k, the page turner — Everything is Fu*ked (Harper Collins Publishing). Manson starts off the first chapter with the true story behind The Great Escape movie, Witold Pilecki. Manson touches on how the world views heroes and the bravery they must have. Pilecki stood against the opposition during invasions of his homeland — Poland and again during WWII. The story of a man willing to stand up and surpass any definition of what a hero was to me before the age of 13.

I became hyperfocused and facinated with learning about the survivors of the Holocaust after reading Night by Elie Wiesel. I have immense respect for anyone willing to take up arms, stand up for there country after leaving their own family behind and fight for freedom for all. I once wished for that same fate and opprotunity to prove my worth through service. Now, I spend quality time with my partner or children making dinner from scratch, then later enjoy that labor of love with them. I give my energy to research and deep dive my own personal experiences for this blog series because we aren’t all comfortable talking about what we go through with everyone but similar enough to build a community around safety from those who caused the trauma to begin with.

Manson is fucking funny. When clicking on the links to the appendix for each chapter I came across this explination for the use of the word “hope”:

“I don’t use the word hope in this book in the way it is typically used academically. Most academics use “hope” to express a feeling of optimism: an expectation of or belief in the possibility of positive results. This definition is partial and limited. Optimism can feed hope, but it is not the same thing as hope. I can have no expectation for something better to happen, but I can still hope for it. And that hope can still give my life a sense of meaning and purpose despite all evidence to the contrary. No, by “hope,” I am referring to a motivation toward something perceived as valuable, what is sometimes described as “purpose” or “meaning” in the academic literature. As a result, for my discussions of hope, I’ll draw on research on motivation and value theory and, in many cases, try to fuse them together.”

Manson. (2019) The Uncomfortable Truth, P. 170. Everything is Fucked. Harper Collins Publishing.

When asked to find where my hope lies, I immediately say its my kids. Hope they find peace before the ripe age of 40. Hope they feel as fulfilled as I do as a parent. Hope they find their path with the least amount of hills or valleys. So many more to list but those are my top.

Happiness is internal and so is love, those I leave to the seeds planted on self-love and self-care I know I needed more of as a child than now. Giving out my life hack manual to those I care so deeply for — friends and family — in hope they find peace in the simple things. Hope they give themselves the “benefit of the doubt = energy needed” to make it to those special moments we seem to miss when we only feel inadequacy. Mark Manson takes what I feel and twist it on its head. Gives me the reason for deep diving into the umcomfortable truth we all ignore and why when it comes to hope.

“Pilecki’s story is the single most heroic thing I’ve ever come across in my life. Because heroism isn’t just bravery or guts or shrewd maneuvering. These things are common and are often used in unheroic ways. No, being heroic is the ability to conjure hope where there is none. To strike a match to light up the void. To show us a possibility for a better world—not a better world we want to exist, but a better world we didn’t know could exist. To take a situation where everything seems to be absolutely fucked and still somehow make it good. Bravery is common. Resilience is common. But heroism has a philosophical component to it.”

Manson. (2019) The Uncomfortable Truth, P. 11. Everything is Fucked. Harper Collins Publishing.

Pilecki was ignored for what he saw with his own eyes. Endouring the worst of the Holocaust after giving up his freedom to gain information form the depths of Auschwitz for the Secret Poland Army. His last words during his trial, “I have tried to live my life such that in the hour of my death I would feel joy rather than fear,” proves his heart was that of a hero. A man pushing to give hope to all when there was no hope coming to save them.

“To have a belief in something worth fighting for” — my definition of hope. Like Manson said, a purpose or meaning, whatever it might be that we continue to open our eyes, get out of bed, travel to our job, making it through the day and do it again tomorrow. Pilecki’s hope was never in his ability to stop the war single handedly but his contribution to gaining the knowledge for the future. My hope is inline with Pilecki — hope that my information complined in this blog series today is used in the future to help others find their peace.

How May I Help You?

This section of the book threw me for a loop. The question is easily enough passed my lips a million times. Even when my business wasn’t a sparkle in my eye — I knew I was built for customer service. Years of watching others debate on thoertic and realistic experiences of life, love and everything (shout out to Douglas Adams!) gave me what a narcassist would call “ammunition” but what I like to think are witty clapbacks filled with facts no one asked for and because of that it has always been easy to defuse a situation between arguing children, drunk people, sober entitled argumentative assholes and law enforcement officers. A querk I am happy to tap into when injustice is being ignored.

“I have tried to live my life such that in the hour of my death I would feel joy rather than fear.”

Witold Pilecki (1948)

When the world around you seems to need things like validation on their material items and apperance — I crave validation in my personal growth, work ethics and reparenting skills. I crave the ability to be useful in the shape of tangable “easy to learn” skills wanted by others. Not “people pleasing” per say but a deep need to be compensated at a liveable wage for my abilities. This lightbulb turned on when my sister Denise, “NeeNee”, told me “nothing comes for free — so don’t give away your talent for nothing!”

I turned all of my skills to job opprotunities like babysitting into a teaching aide in high school during the summer. Big house chores into housekeeping jobs at multiple estalishments. Being overly organized my whole adolescents into front office aide at the office of education in my hometown. Don’t forget my love of coffee into 4 random years of being a badass barista. My favorite was 12 years of education in subjects such as customer service, early childhood education, business management, and social science into being an even bigger badass homeschool curriculum designer and bartender.

My personality screams “how may I help you?” while my 54 tattoos, now bawl head and bright-flashy clothes screams “I know you could tell if you liked me from a mile away and that’s a-okay with me!” I have no hope in humankind as a whole — statistics prove that — but individuals like me are whom I am hope finds this blog, my coming soon podcast or any of my social media pages. That they find hope that no matter what your age is, its never to late to take life by the horns and scream fuck it — Be yourself and find those who appreciate it over those who’d rather hide their true self for a shallow sense of validation. Then you read this passage further into the chapter:

Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness, and depression. It is the source of all misery and the cause of all addiction. This is not an overstatement. Chronic anxiety is a crisis of hope. It is the fear of a failed future. Depression is a crisis of hope. It is the belief in a meaningless future. Delusion, addiction, obsession—these are all the mind’s desperate and compulsive attempts at generating hope one neurotic tic or obsessive craving at a time.

Manson. (2019) The Uncomfortable Truth, P. 14. Everything is Fucked. Harper Collins Publishing.

I always seemed happier to give than to receive. Not that I wasn’t grateful of the things people did take time to give me, I just never knew what I was supposed to do with it. They bought me things that didn’t match my newest interest — never childlike enough — filled with judgement for my choices made and currently making in life. They usually make comments of my jealousy for there material things. If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting with me recently, you’ll find I am living my life and not stressing over messiness.

Have it all together hasn’t been a goal of mine for the last 6 months. I work harder on taking it easy and not using up all my energy on one project — and choose to focus my energy on reading a book, deep diving into a podcast or two, searching new music on tiktok and this blog series. The hope that they can help me put into words what it is that my childhood trauma, teenage angst and my adulthood toxic relationships can begin to heal and grow into the next stage, exploration. Being prepared is an understatement when it comes to what life is supposed to be — when it comes to me. I have been studying human behavior from different cultural views to build a collective understanding of the world. That has always been the reason for my drive to learn, anthropology.

I have always tried to gain more knowledge or books full of knowledge than material things like accessories or name brand anything — except for All Star Converse shoes. I craved dingy secondhand clothes from a thrift shop in Arroyo Grande, CA and meeting new people on the beach each summer — my sister wanted what her friends were getting — cellphones, sunglasses, etc. I craved the days when I could choose what to spend my money one, that one came back to bite me in the ass. I teach my kids everything I learned about finances in High school because they don’t teach that in high school anymore.

Nihilism and the pure indulgence of desire that accompanies it are gripping the modern world. It is power for the sake of power. Success for the sake of success. Pleasure for the sake of pleasure. Nihilism acknowledges no broader “Why?” It adheres to no great truth or cause. It’s a simple “Because it feels good.”

Manson. (2019) The Uncomfortable Truth, P. 16. Everything is Fucked. Harper Collins Publishing

I don’t want my children to crave the trendy shit — not because its expensive but because its filled with empty dopamine. Teaching my children the healthier options of nature and freedom to save and invest your money into your hobbies that will one day fund your adventures. I am further from want than need and just want to prove in my tiny home on my farm. I just want to live and indulge in a simple life surrounded by chores that feed me and sing all day. The days filled with weather delays and dog tired nights; the life of a farmer never ends.

The Paradox of Progress

It’s a paradox of progress: the better things get, the more anxious and desperate we all seem to feel.

Manson. (2019) The Uncomfortable Truth, P. 17. Everything is Fucked. Harper Collins Publishing

If anything, the News today brings some hope with its fluff pieces but riddled with indulgence and depression even more. We have the world at our fingertips which should bring hope in our future. Consuming more and more each year distances us from nature around us; #80HD and #actuallyautistic can’t turn that part of our brain off. Manson gives many statistics worth exploring so please do read through this book if any. Americans today battle inflation and an neverending fear of our ecomony crashing before dinner where our supply and demand drives costs of living to an extreme degree; 30 percent of median household income go to housing cost.

You spend more money on your house than time spent awake in it. Without hope we lose sight of the purpose for this struggle. I choose to leave something for the next generation, others choose religion, some choose work, no matter what that purpose is, you must be good enough at it to succeed. The community needed for this journey I stumbled on wasn’t always what it looks like today. Many have come and gone but the hope is they still hope for the best for me.

The incredible progress made in health, safety, and material wealth over the past few hundred years is not to be denied. But these are statistics about the past, not the future. And that’s where hope inevitably must be found: in our visions of the future.

Manson. (2019) The Uncomfortable Truth, P. 18. Everything is Fucked. Harper Collins Publishing

The support system I have now depends heavily on professionals. Striving to find the right fit is hard. I do not need a provider that gives me what I want — I need one willing to take the time needed to explain to me what it is that I need to be prepared for and what is next to come. Looking atypical and masking has forced me into a corner of “now you have a problem” instead of the approach I took as a child — “hey, you. Look at me, I am weird.” I am happy to be surrounded by those who appreciate me for who I am because though I forget to mention it outloud — I do appreciate them for being the honest people I know they are.

My hope for “the world I live in” is small in context to my surrounding community– I hope for change that benefits all. Nature needs more care so don’t get me wrong about this idea — community farming. Not free labor but an opprotunity to develop skills and volunteer or gain work experience while giving back. Government funded, community run, board regulated, non-profit. This would give me a sense of community and responsibility to others outside of my own home.

To build and maintain hope, we need three things: a sense of control, a belief in the value of something, and a community. “Control” means we feel as though we’re in control of our own life, that we can affect our fate. “Values” means we find something important enough to work toward, something better, that’s worth striving for. And “community” means we are part of a group that values the same things we do and is working toward achieving those things.
Without a community, we feel isolated, and our values cease to mean anything.

Manson. (2019) The Uncomfortable Truth, P. 18-9. Everything is Fucked. Harper Collins Publishing

I have hope my small business will take on a life of its own and my content helps others find their peace. That I find peace in helping others on this scale. I am uncomfortable about being wrong, not confronted. Give me a legitimate excuse to sit and learn from someone willing to teach me — my goal in life — would help others around me get my content for free. Those who can pay it forward give me hope that humanity is still out there among those working harder to step on their neighbor that feed them.

If the world around me is what is causing my anxiety and depression then I had to take a stand and do what I can to help bring joy to others around me. I use my voice to share emotional memories others have packed away. I give credit to those who have help mold me into the singer I am today. The love of the craft and also those who opposed my dream of one day singing in the back of a smoke filled lounge; even if I have to build it one day myself. The same can be said about the community I am now a part of through social media — another example of that prodox of progress.

On to the next one…

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