This I Believe

Denise - Chula Vista, California
Entered on March 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in hope. Above all other emotions and feelings, I believe in hope. I believe it is the one sustaining emotion, whether we are aware of it or not. Hope is that daily nudge that even the weak and bleary abide by. If not hope, then what?

I was raised in a household divided, my parents were always angry combatants in their marriage and never divorced because neither wanted to give the other 50% of their assets. So I grew up with a terribly distorted image of what ‘normal’ was. To me normal meant hating your life and your station in it with a vengeance and eschewing any sort of personal responsibility for it. I believed that distrust was a natural state and that to show vulnerability was for the weak.

Thankfully, I was later to learn that everything I saw as normal was twisted and wrong. I learned to trust and to love. In the end, what kept me going was hope. The hope that I would have the complete opposite of what my parents had. The hope that not all human beings were so dark and distrusting and the hope that I could be loved in a way that had eluded me from the cradle.

I was lucky or maybe my hope was justified, because I was proven right. The normalcy that I longed for, I came to create for myself and for those around me. I never took anything good in my life for granted and maybe overcompensated from time to time for the sheer fear of being left – as if somehow if people scratched the surface they would see the rotted core that I believed resided firmly in me by simple virtue of my upbringing.

I hoped and that hope gave me strength, the strength and courage to attempt a new route different from the one that I was shown. It is something terrifying to trust and to love and to make yourself this vulnerable thing that can be easily crushed by another’s rejection. Yet, I needed to try. I am glad to say that I am happy, that I am sated. My life turned out even better than I had hoped. I have a wonderful man besides me that affords me all the love and respected I only thought was possible in movies. I have a close group of friends that have come to form my new and freely chosen family. That’s the funny thing about hope, you are almost always certain to be left breathless at how little you had dared to hope for yourself and how much is given in return. I believe in hope.