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On Not Losing Hope

August 12, 2014

Like so many others, I’ve been thinking about Robin Williams today. I was up past midnight last night watching YouTube videos of his past work, and watching my Twitter feed to feel like I wasn’t reflecting alone.

There are no easy answers here, obviously.

I have struggled for years with my own creativity and writing, and then I look at Robin’s life—how he let his art out, full throttle and unafraid—and I wonder. Even with this fearlessness, he still struggled with the darkness.

Yet I refuse to believe that the darkness won this one. Somehow, I believe that Robin is still out there in the universe, and that today he’s fine. He’s at peace.

I don’t write much about my personal life on here. Somehow, because it’s the Internet, I’m afraid to. I don’t want to tell you about how hard it is to write, how frustrating it is to constantly put my art aside for my family, how unappreciated I feel on a regular basis. I don’t tell you about my spiritual journey, which occupies much of my time. I don’t write about how I find great meaning out of things like Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Experience—I’m in academia, where I feel like admitting to any sort of spirituality automatically makes me suspect or “stupid.” I don’t tell you about my doubts, because this is supposed to be my “professional” website, where people might look at my CV and offer to hire me for jobs I suspect I don’t actually want.

I have no idea who I am these days, but admitting to that feels like a sort of failure.

So I look at Robin’s life—oh, Captain, my Captain—he who was so funny and bright and charismatic and kind—and I look at how he spent his life fighting his demons…and it is so easy to fall into despair in this moment and lose hope.

But we can’t lose hope.

I won’t lose hope.

I won’t stop writing. I won’t look at all of my failures and how “bad” my life looks today and how little I feel I have done with my life…I won’t give up.

I believe the future is going to be better. I believe I will find my way.

I want to be open to the world, instead of continually closing in on myself and hiding everything I don’t want to show the world. Hiding my writing, hiding my dissertation, hiding my personal life, hiding my spiritual journey.

I want to be inspired and be open to a new life—the rest of my life.

I am tired of looping around my own thoughts.

If anything, I hope that Robin’s legacy won’t be just about the laughter, but about reminding us not to close ourselves in. To remember that we are not isolated selves in a hostile universe. The universe is not our enemy. We choose hope instead.

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