Verbing the Crap Out of Hope

Stay tuned for my next post in which I quit with this serious crap, but as soon as I finished rambling on the obligatory“Hope” post last week, I already knew there was more that I wanted to say.

So I started writing about my situation and realized the post was quite personal. Nothing weird or anything, in fact I’ve probably written about it before, but it just had some details about things that I’ve done in the past and sounded too “journaly.”

I read it over. I deleted it.


What’s happened in the past is done, and while I can certainly learn from mistakes that I’ve made, I often find myself stuck on what still hasn’t worked to justify where I am now. That’s not very hopeful, and needless to say, it won’t give me the strength to actually gain back my health.

But after reading a few of the other “Hope” posts, I realized a couple of things.

First, I don’t like hoping for things. With hope comes expectation, and with expectation comes the possibility of disappointment. Through the years my optimism has taken hits from reality, and I’ve let myself become jaded in more ways than one.


But this lead me to my second point in that hope doesn’t have to be the unicorns crapping confetti cheesiness that I roll my eyes at. The definition of hope is quite fluid, and for me I think it includes giving up the expectation that the past should’ve been different and that the future is screwed up from that.

Rather insightful, no?

Well, crap on that, as I also realized that although being insightful and aware and hopeful and all those pretty adjectives are admirable and important, “hoping” is never enough. It takes action—verbs—for the work to be done, as uncomfortable as that work is.

And despite being (relatively) rational, educated and informed, I can’t think myself out of every situation. To be honest, I really have to put the emotional stuff on hold until my brain and body are better physically healed.


In other words, do the work.

So the first step is hope and the next one is action, and although I usually agree that baby steps are fine and beneficial, sometimes I have to call bullshit. With me, baby steps can often be crutches, the “at least I’m doing a little of something” to justify still staying stuck.

Sometimes I just have to “leap and the net will appear” and all those other clichés, even if that means falling on my flat ass, cursing, getting up again, falling, taking another step forward and hoping I’m doing the right thing.

Ahh…there’s that “hope” word again.

However, when backed up with action at least I have proof that I tried—I am trying. It’s 100 percent hour-to-hour with the food and exercise stuff. It sucks, it’s feels foreign and I’m still not totally leaping.


But I’m trying.

And  I (and you) can still verb the crap out of hope.

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29 responses to “Verbing the Crap Out of Hope

  1. I get this.
    Everyone has their shit to get through (I think?) My shit is a lifetime of eating disorders. I guess I don’t technically have them anymore, because it has been many years since I have starved myself – but now of course, I am fatter than I have ever been. But I choose sanity.

    About a year after Lucien was born I took up Weight Watchers, lost 25 pounds and gained obsessive weight issues again. Turns out you should not do WW if you have a history of eating disorders. Something about having to measure every single thing you put in your mouth isn’t good for that. Who knew?

    All I know is that I don’t even want to spend one more second of my life thinking about weight loss when I can be doing anything else. So that’s the action I have to figure out how to take.

    • With me, it’s a lovely combination of things that include OCD and depression and a bunch of crap that creates a Catch-22. Have to physically heal the body and brain so I can get past the depression and mental stuff, but changing that thinking and doing the work goes against what my brain and body are used to (and gravitate towards.) It’s not impossible, but it’s an extra hill to climb.

      Thank you for sharing your story. And by the way, you are stunning, so zip it 😉

  2. I hear you. Hope makes you vulnerable

  3. Oh Abs, I don’t know where I’d be without HOPE. It is the one emotion that I understand fully, even when things are shitty, hopeless…because I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen hope do the work in my life and give me the light I needed. While I hate waiting for it to answer, I know deep down , that it will. Hope is what my life and perception is built on..the simple act of knowing that good things are coming, prayers answered…

    Sending you LOVE,HUGS annd lots and lots of HOPE. Xoxo

  4. I’m not a huge fan of hope, either. Because then I have to admit that I want something. Which I’m not good at.

  5. “With me, baby steps can often be crutches, the “at least I’m doing a little of something” to justify still staying stuck.”
    This line applies to me as well. There are times when baby steps are critical and celebrating them need to be done. But, there are other times when we do need to push ourselves more. Baby steps become what we settle for and what we lament. It can fuel our frustration.
    Thinking, analyzing and cogitating are all well and good but action has to be a part of the equation. I’m trying to spend a little more time not thinking and more just doing. It’s against my inherent nature. Basically, it takes work but it’s helping.

  6. I’m with you on preferring not to hope for anything for fear or disappointment. My mom says I’m a pessimist because of it and I tell her I’m a realist. Maybe we’re both right, but I think I need to let myself hope again…what’s wrong with the excitement of possibility as long as we’re prepared for potential disappointment? It’s all part of life and we might as well experience all of it.

  7. I am forever, FOREVER fighting the good fight between loving myself and wishing I looked different. I eat as healthy as I can without hating food, and I visit the gym ALL THE TIME. But so much of it is in my head. Some idiot part of me is still convinced that if I lost 10 pounds, I’d be popular, famous and happy.

    I’m almost 30. When is this shit going to stop? It’s up to me. And that’s the hard part.

    But I really think we can do it. Slowly. But still. DOING IT.

    • My fight has never had anything to do with looking different in terms of being thinner, but actually quite the opposite. The polar opposite. But in the end, it’s all the same and simply semantics. It’s truly all up to us, for better or worse!

  8. Just like all your posts, this was very insightful. And honest. It was also a smidge humbling. Despite the fact I enjoyed it as a read, I think it was lacking in one area. I mean, would a nice graphic of a unicorn crapping confetti be too much to ask for??

    I think not. Insert winky face here.

    • Meh. It’s already one of those posts that I wish I hadn’t put up, but whatever. It is what it is, and I’m TOTALLY saving the unicorn defecation image for my next post. I like to ration those things out…

  9. “And despite being (relatively) rational, educated and informed, I can’t think myself out of every situation.”

    Reminds me of something I am fond of saying: “I can’t CBT my way out of this”.

    Oh and I LOVE your description of (one type of) hope as “unicorn crapping confetti cheesiness”.

  10. Love love love! I totally agree that hope is nothing without putting thought in to action. It takes work. You can’t just hope something will occur without putting in the effort to make it happen. I think a lot of people miss that step. Love you and I like these serious posts, but I look forward to the next one that’ll make me almost pee my pants a little too.

  11. Every day, we take on the fight.

    That’s how it is for me, feels like for me.

    My armor is hope: I have to hope that somehow, the universe blesses me, and it all works out by the last chapter.

    Love you, Abby.

  12. I agree with you: hope alone is simply wishful thinking. It needs action otherwise you may as well just watch a Walt Disney movie… Aren’t they full of hope?

  13. I think I’m 50:50 with hope.

    The hurt and rejected child in me still clings to hope.

    The logical, protective adult in me tends to shun it.

    I like to try and meet somewhere in the middle, knowing that the baby steps and expectations sometimes fall flat on their face, yet the fucking huge leaps often get me exactly where I want to be.

    You’re taking some fucking huge leaps, my friend.

    I’ve got your back.


  14. Even if you wish you hadn’t put this post up, you have really made me think hard about hope and define whatever little hope I am currently holding onto Like you, I don’t hope for the best, because I can’t handle the disappointment. Hope and positive thinking is something that comes up with cancer patients a lot. To assume and imagine that the sickness will go away and never come back. But there is no way I can go on living life assuming I’ll never get sick again. Because if I do get sick, it will cripple me (emotionally, on top of physically).

    With all of that said, the one area where I do hold hope is that “good times are ahead.” Kind of stupid, I know. But I can’t live thinking this is as good as it’s going to get. Waiting it out for the good times in life is why I went through the worst times during treatment. I can’t give up knowing that I missed the best part.

  15. Your’e a mess. But the good news is your my kind of mess. I’m a mess too. Saying I’m a mess is not a shameful thing, and trying to get out of it is a good thing. Often we bullshit ourselves about how much effort we are making, and sometimes we make some effort which doesn’t come off and we get discouraged. One of the things I like about you is that you know all this stuff already.

    The big thing is you are a mess who is well worth sorting out, because within that mess there is so much valuable stuff waiting to get more attention and air. You have a very large supply of good wishes from me and, believe me, you are one of those people I have met on here who I wished I knew in real life. I also wish I could be of more use to you, but thats just another problem I have to deal with.

  16. I don’t know why my phone comments never show up 😦 Anyways, I posted yesterday and the gist was: You’re awesome. I really think that “all or nothing” mentality is destructive, so there’s nothing wrong with appreciating and being proud of the little steps you take. You don’t need to do it all at once or call bullshit. Just do what you can, when you can, and move forward. As for the past, don’t let it paralyze it from making ground now. Instead of focusing on your failures, focus on the times you overcame, survived, improved, showed strength, etc. You have it in you to do this and to get healthy and happy, I know you do lady. Don’t kick yourself in the crotch. Cheer yourself on. It sounds cheesy, but you gotta dooo it. And you have a lot of people here for you!

  17. This. Is. Brilliant.

    Now. Let’s go walk the walk.

  18. I’m not a naturally hopeful person. I have to really work at optimism (and doesn’t that take some of the fun out of it?) but it’s worth it to me because I know very well the opposite of hope and that is a crappy place to live. And this: ” With hope comes expectation, and with expectation comes the possibility of disappointment.” I totally get this too. I hate hate hate disappointing others. Or myself. And I’ll go to great lengths to mitigate expectations so that doesn’t happen… often to my detriment;) Thanks for a beautiful and thought-provoking post!

  19. Well, I agree with you 100% hope is useless WITHOUT action.

  20. I think the point you made about giving up expectations about the past is so key. Dragging regrets around with you can be really antithetical to hope.

  21. “unicorn crapping confetti”? …will you marry me?

  22. Abby, you’re just awesome. This is the most insightful essay, and I am so glad that you shared your thoughts and feelings, because I CAN RELATE. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with the concept of hope.

  23. Don’t worry about falling. Mistakes are part of the process. (although a tiresome one). Baby steps. OK sometimes when it’s just too much. But I tend to just go ahead and gut it up and jump – kinda like removing a bandage: you can pull it off slowly or jerk it off in one quick rip. Both methods do accomplish the goal.
    You just have to be you – and do what feels right at the time ( with a little analysis along the way.)

  24. The best way out is always through has become my post-bacc motto, Abby. And though my own struggles are different, all I can say is: let’s just keep on keeping on.

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