They say “hope can move mountains.” Or is it “faith?” Ooops. Well, since I need it to be “hope” for this analogy to work, it’s going to be “hope.” With that said, let’s continue. Am I the only one who wishes the freakin’ mountain would just fall over and crush hope? Shocked? I’m sure you are. But hear me out. When hope does more harm than good, it needs to die. When it keeps you stuck in the past instead of moving forward, it needs to die. When it’s false . . . yep. You guessed it. And here’s another when ⇒⇒ When you are breaking up, divorcing or otherwise ending a relationship YOU KNOW needs to end . . . then, yes. Die, sucker, die!
If I had my way, “Abandon hope all ye who are ending a relationship” would be posted on a billboard—or at least printed on an effing bumper sticker! Because too often “hope” is the worst thing you can cling to in a break-up. But I am as guilty as anyone of adhering to the tradition trope. Hell, I have even perpetuated it! Remember, in my “real world” job I’m a flight attendant. So it should come as no surprise I once wrote the clever little metaphor: “Hope is one’s individual flotation device.” But here’s the truth as I have come to realize it. Hope is a double-sided bastard. As wonderful and necessary as hope is/can be, there’s a flip side. A dark side. A downright dangerous side.
Now let’s talk cautionary tale. Let’s talk “don’t do as I do, but do as I say.” Yep. Let’s talk Sunday . . . a guy I will absolutely admit I fell hard for. He was my first “real” post-divorce relationship. Danger, Will Robinson, danger! Can you say “red flag?” In truth, this man had more red flags than a 5-mile mountain detour. Sew those little triangles together, and we’re talking king-size comforter. But ohhhhh, nooooo! I thought I was being careful. Walls erected, expectations at zero, eyes wide open . . . I could handle it. (I thought.) I knew better. (I thought.) I wouldn’t be stupid. (I thought.) Problem was . . . I THOUGHT. And forgot about what I FELT. And what I FELT flew in the face of logic, common sense and caution. Not only was he all wrong, he came with a list of warning signs a mile long (Rhyme not intended.) But damn he was good! A master seducer—and not just in bed. My walls? My resolve? My thinking I knew what I was doing? Yeah . . . that all worked like a bucket with sieve for a bottom.
His were moves I never saw coming. Tactics I’d never fathomed. Up, around and under my oh-so carefully laid defenses. Intentional or not, I may never know. He was that ninja-good. And I don’t mean that as a compliment, ’cause here’s a spoiler alert (and history lesson): Folklore, popular culture, modern movies and reality TV have all mystified and venerated the ninja as some ultimate warrior ideal. In truth, they were spies, saboteurs and assassins. In fact, in feudal Japan where the samurai adhered to strict rules about honor and combat, they were viewed as ignoble mercenaries, their covert and irregular methods of waging war considered dishonorable and reprehensible.
So back to Sunday. And I. And painful truths finally acknowledged . . . It (he) was never going to be what I wanted. It needed to be over. But he wasn’t going to be the one to end it. He liked the way it was. And why wouldn’t he? It was on his terms. He came and went as he pleased and let me in only when he wanted. So now after another of his 4-week disappearing acts. I’m done. Here’s the problem. My mind says it, but my heart isn’t getting the memo. Because I still FEEL. And because friggin’ hope won’t die. So I continue to find excuses, analyze, rationalize . . . Worse, I fall back into that fucking trap we women do! That deep pit of delusion called “I’ll be THE ONE”—the who who can turn a bad boy into a good man. Am I ringing any bells, ladies? ‘Cause every time my phone rings or a text message chime sounds, I hope it’s him. Bloody hell! And hell-o!
He’s not only drawn me a picture, he’s colored it in and sprinkled it with glitter! Message received. Trust me. I SEE it. I KNOW. I know he’s keeping me on a hook and reeling me back when he wants attention and/or needs what I offer. But if I need him? Yeah. Caspar’s got nothing on his ghost-ass. I’m his swinging door . . . to exit or enter at will. Worse, I KNOW he won’t change. Ergo, I KNOW I have to cut ties and move on. Page turned and chapter closed. But the heart is slow to catch up to the mind. It’s like a bizarre boxing match. “Ladies and gentlemen, in the blue corner we have LOGIC, COMMON SENSE, FACT, SOLID EVIDENCE, and MULTIPLE EXAMPLES of why it is over. But in the red corner we have HOPE. Now let’s get ready to Ruuuuuuuuuuuuumble!” Care to pick a winner?
In all truth, I wish I had better advice to give than a “don’t do as I do” admonition. And I wish I had a better answer for myself than what I’ve come up with, which is to keep telling myself until I FEEL it. Speaking of “telling” . . . They tell you never to lose hope. Trust me. I’ve seen the same Facebook memes you have, ala:
- “Sometimes hope is all you have. But if you have it, you have everything.”
- “Don’t lose hope. You never know what tomorrow will bring.”
- “Hope is the little voice you hear whisper ‘maybe’ when it seems the entire world is telling you ‘no.’”
But here are a few quotes they don’t put on cutesy inspirational posters:
- “Hope is a great falsifier of truth.” Baltasar Gracián
- “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” Benjamin Franklin
- “It is natural to man to indulge in the illusion of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren . . .” Patrick Henry
FYI, if you don’t remember your high school Greek mythology, the Sirens were winged creatures whose singing lured unwary sailors to shipwreck on rocks. Keep that visual in mind. ‘Cause if what hope is keeping alive needs to die, then so does hope. Lose it, ladies! Let it die! ‘Cause hope has a flip side. A dark side. A downright dangerous side. And BTW, if you kick hope to the curb, you get a two-fer. It’s evil cousin, disappointment, goes too.
Now back to that nautical reference earlier . . . If hope is keeping you from moving on when you KNOW you need to, then it’s not a buoy—it’s an anchor. It’s keeping you tethered to the past. Cut the rope. ‘Cause contrary to the charming Sandra Bullock movie, “Hope Floats,” this side of hope don’t. It’s going to sink—don’t let it take you with it.