Informal Hope

The French lesson this morning was très unsatisfactory. For one thing, it was ground into me all through four years of French and Spanish in high school that the informal address is absolutely not to be used on strangers, but apparently all sorts of modern language-learning programs force one to use the informal as a matter of course.

This burns my biscuits, as my grandmother might have said. Americans are already gauche, selfish, and rude enough when they sally past their own borders; there’s no need to make it worse.

Anyway, I’m itching to get back to work today. I’m only allowed a half-day, since I will beyond question hurt myself if left to my own devices. A coughing fit this morning scared me into wondering if I’ve the plague–sure would be nice to have actual tests and a functioning federal government, wouldn’t it.

There’s another season of Unsolved Mysteries to absorb, so that will eat up some of the day. And maybe I can go to bed early. Really I just want to be working while I’m conscious, or sleeping; I don’t want to mess about with things like eating or washing or interacting. I just want to crawl into my stories and pull the wormhole shut behind me.

I’m tired on a much deeper level than the physical, and there’s still November to get through. While talking with a friend last night I realized I don’t even want to hope, because it hurts so badly when hope is ripped away and stamped on. I knew there were cruel, awful people in the world–I was raised by some of them–but I had no idea there were so many, or that others were on the fence and would be emboldened by open fascism.

It’s somewhat of a shock to look at my earlier self and think that the lady was indeed a sweet optimistic summer child. It strikes right at the root of who I thought I was; I thought well, I’ve survived hell more than once, not much else can disturb me.

I hate being wrong about things like that.

But there’s still coffee, and I still have to walk the dogs. And once I’ve walked them, I’m already in my running clothes so I might as well run, and once I do that I might as well have lunch. I’ve set up my life to force myself into at least the minimum of daily self-care. It’s just little things, like setting out my running clothes before I go to bed and keeping a calorie counter so I have to eat or get a notification–and gods help me, I hate phone notifications and will do almost anything to avoid them.

If I am very, very good and get the self-care done, I will be allowed to crawl into a story and forget, for a few hours, the crushing burden of living in a world populated by far many more cruel people than even I ever believed possible. And if I am superlative I may even reward myself with some of the alien romance, or the occult detective story I am absolutely not playing hooky with, no ma’am, perish the thought.

Maybe I’ll even pause in front of the beehive and whisper a thank you to the tiny dancing creatures. At least they–and the dogs–aren’t cruel.

What’s giving you joy today, my beloveds? Or if not joy, what’s giving you the strength to carry on? Drop it in the comments; strength is bolstered when it’s shared, and I could do with a little reinforcement. I think we all could.

8 thoughts on “Informal Hope”

  1. Not hope exactly, but faith in continuity. The Appalachians are aflame with gold, orange, and red. White-tailed deer are courting. Houses are lit with orange, white, yellow, and purple lights. Over the next week, my kitchen will be full of the smells of cinnamon, clove, and chili powder as I make the final feast of the Wheel.

    But the Wheel will continue turning. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to other people whether or not you think they deserve it. The Wheel will bring sunlight again.

  2. A few years ago, while HBO was broadcasting the first (and best, IMHO) season of “True Detective,” I would occasionally see ads for the series online or in print (remember print?), the tagline of which was “Man is the cruellest animal.” True, but misleading, all at once. Humans are the only creatures capable of hurting another creature merely for the enjoyment of it. Nature is not cruel — nature is only indifferent, which we sometimes, mistakenly, process as cruelty. Only humans have the capacity for cruelty, and far too many of us indulge it far too often.

  3. Let me just say I believe some parents shouldn’t be allowed around children. My joy is simple. I have a daughter that makes me proud every day, a daughter-in-law that is a blessing, and two absolutely amazing grandchildren. After living 70 years I found it is the people in my life that keep me strong. I hope you find what you need also. CJ

  4. I watch my dog for his newest unusual behavior and laugh. He is very unique. An Africanis, but I know so little about that breed that I don’t know if they are usually like him or he IS really unique. Anyway I try and notice these things daily to get a laugh. Also he IS just like me so Hubs and I say because, for example we always seem to be in the way of where Hubs is going to walk next. We think it’s him.

  5. I’m really off this week, and I think a lot of it’s the growing roar of the impending election. I don’t know whether to hope or not; I already voted, so at this point I’m basically just trying to keep my head down and not get overwhelmed by all the crazy. That’s meant less news-watching, less time on social media (and avoiding politics in favor of cheerier fare there too), and trying to ignore the fact that I’m working at home because my workplace is an early voting location. (Working from home is harder for me. My hardware isn’t as nice here as it is at my desk, and there are more distractions, and something about the ritual motions of Going To Work really does help my brain set itself to be productive.)

    What’s keeping me going, more than anything else, is the need to keep my family going. The boys are ten and fourteen; making sure they’re up, fed, and medicated for school is pretty much the only reason I haven’t turned completely nocturnal. (They’re remote learning, and it honestly seems to work better for them than in-school learning did; I suspect that’s directly related to the massive ADHD in our whole family. But it’s also done wonders in keeping me from being in a constant state of panic.)

    I’m trying to pace myself, not so much out of hope as out of necessity, but it’s hard. I keep trying to push hard enough to lose myself in whatever I’m doing, and I keep having to remind myself that I can’t keep that up and I have to pull back, rest, and keep myself together. I’d love to take a week and just have a complete breakdown, but I don’t think any of us are going to get to do that.

  6. First, a virtual hug for your younger self who wasn’t cared for as she should have been, and another virtual hug for your current self who is maintaining as best she can in difficult circumstances. Second, a rousing primal scream to release the tension and fear of what may come. It might not help but it’ll scare the neighbors into ignoring anything else you do that might get you locked up. Two weeks. Let’s make a compact to get thru the next 2 weeks. You do you and I’ll do me and we’ll meet back here.

  7. I’m constantly reward by my cat’s antics. And this week there is joy in being alive. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. But the blessings come from the fact it was caught VERY early (Stage 0), the surgery went well, and I get to spend time with my sister. We don’t get to do this often as she works out of town a lot. And like Mr. Mock I have already voted. I have always been of the opinion that you reap what you sow. So my motto is kindness and patience. And I’ve reminded all the women in my life to GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM NOW! Sorry about the shouting.

  8. I’ve had the plague. It was miserable, but not too bad. It was like the flu. Aches, pains, head coldish, fever, lost taste and smell. It lasted pretty much 9 days. They didn’t give me any medicine, just said take vitamin C, D, and zinc. That was it. I realize everyone is different, but maybe that will ease your mind some.

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