“You reach a state of hopelessness prematurely.”
I stared across the over-friendly room, decorated with like, cats and stuff, and I looked her straight in her chin. She adjusted he head a little to meet my eyes, but I overcompensated in nervous rebellion and looked at her forehead instead. She gave up and continued.
“It happens to a lot of people.”
I still didn’t respond.
“Think about it. How many things that have brought you down kept you down?”
I look down at my hands now, and I heard her sigh.
None of them. It’s always a roller coaster. Up and down and up and down. But never just down. There was always an up. Sometimes the ups were shorter than I wanted, but up nonetheless.
You learn with age how to deal with these matters of the heart. For me, it’s just a matter of surrounding myself with the little things. Hot chocolate, and used book stores, warm socks, and fun crochet patterns. These are ways to deal with the low times I often find myself trapped in, but they don’t cover the matter of my emotional humanity.
My dad has always said I have an “artist heart.” Makes sense why I’m a writer, right? I’m just as screwed up as the rest of them. It’s tender, sensitive, and way too easily broken.
One of his favorite stories of me takes place when I was six-years-old, and he took my family to an Avalanche/Predators game in Nashville. I was born in Colorado so I was told that, despite the black and gold all around me, we were to pull for the blue and red team. It wasn’t far into the game that the crowd around us started to gang up on the avalanche goalie, David Aebischer.
They started chanting in unison at the poor guy, “Aebischer, Abischer, YOU SUCK.”
I literally cried the whole rest of the game.
I was crying for the feelings of a grown man, a professional hockey player, nonetheless, who probably had more money, talent, and girls than anyone I personally knew. Isn’t that so bizarre?
So yeah, I get my feelings hurt quite easily, and I also get the hurt of other people’s feelings. My skin can be as thin as seaweed at times, and I can, indeed, feel quite hopeless.
Nice to meet you.
But we all do, right? We all find ourselves in places of hopelessness at times. Even those who have strong and steady hearts. Sometimes humans are just blind to the many options the world offers each situation so we surrender to our breaking.
But the thing is: We truly have no reason to lose hope. That’s what I wish I could tell my over emotional, sixteen-year-old, acne infested, puberty bellied, still trying to figure out the make-up and hair thing, self as she sat in that depressingly perky room to talk about the issues of her soul.
In his book, Looking for Alaska, John Green says:
“We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”
That’s what I wish my sixteen-year-old self could of held onto. That’s what my, still sometimes unstable, twenty-year-old self holds onto, and that’s what I someday hope to give my nieces (Who hopefully will have the heart of a wrestler, or ninja, or anything other than an artist) when they reach the age of adolescence to hold on to.
And that’s what I want to give to you whether you’re fifteen and experiencing the fierce attacks of new hormones for the first time, or you’re fifty and experiencing things I’m luckily thirty years too young to understand.
Hold on to the times that you didn’t actually break.
Hold on to the times that you found better friends anyways.
Hold on to the moments that you realized exactly why he would have never worked out.
Hold on to the times when you knew they saw you from heaven.
Hold on to the times that you passed the class despite the incompetency of the professor.
Hold on to the times you eventually got out of your financial rut.
Hold on to the times you didn’t break.
Because if you think about it, you’ve never been broken beyond repair. That’s why you’re here spending a solid seven minutes reading about my adolescent depression.
You’re still working. Your heart is still beating, and I’m still routing for you.
Life isn’t always lovely, and the business of the heart can be messy. Hopelessness is an easier place to find yourself in than you’d think.
But get out of there! You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again. No problem you find yourself in, no brokenness you feel, will ever be irreparable.
You are repairable.
Life is repairable.
Hold on to that.
Photography by: Andrew Jordan Luetkehans