Am I capable of hope?


I am incapable of being hopeful.

When life hits Timmie with a steel curved ball, knocking him down, he gets down and beaten up, but he remains at the core, a firm belief in himself and that things will get sorted out and “It will be all right.” He endures with a hopeful outlook and becomes cheerful again.

When I get anxious and worrisome, Timmie tries to cheer me up, to get me to be playful and take my own medicine that I prescribe for others. I have been particularly emotional and exhausted recently, and a sense of heaviness on my shoulders from other states of affairs around me.

Timmie said, “I have hope, don’t you?”

I responded in reflex, “No.”

And he questioned, if I was capable of being hopeful?

I do not know what form or shape hope takes. I expect the worst to happen, and spend my time mitigating the risks. I do not recall a time when hope had motivated me to go on – it would usually be some obstinate determination or a refusal to admit defeat, not because I had hope that tomorrow would be better. Maybe this is why I get so agitated at positive psychology and those rainbow quotations, because I do not hope for rainbows when the rain stops – or rather, it is such a fact that it does not require hope.

I wondered if it was my cynicism that took over, or if the drastic sense of hopelessness and helplessness during my clinical depression had left its traumatic footprint on my psyche.

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Or, in a conversation with Slo, it would seem that the way we grew up and were educated had taught us to stop dreaming, whereas a dreamer like Timmie could fantasize and think up a more colourful alternative.

Imagination was weeded out of me. Creativity was suppressed until I started playing with my stuffed toy bears again. Dreams were banished as unrealistic to make way for Calculus, Economics, and Chemistry classes. Fictional writing notebooks stood in the dust as I labored over essays on current affairs.

I knew no hope – only hard work and accomplishments and then more hard work.

I would like to dream again, to fantasize, to create. Unless I can daydream without thinking it a waste of time, I do not think I will find hope.

Apart from hope, there are other emotions I am not quite attuned to compassion, gratitude, or even love. Where do they reside in me? Or have I cut them off with my finger nails? Maybe, despite my cringing, I might have to do those “list 3 things you are grateful for everyday for 30 days” spins.

Hope is one crucial element that could keep a person out of a depressed state.

2018 closes soon. Another year gone. And what have you done? And what are your hopes?

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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.