Statue of Liberty

Dear Friend,

I had this blog almost ready to send Wednesday morning. It started like this:

I choose hope in 2021, in spite of everything that could still go wrong—COVID, political turmoil, record snowstorms like we had here in upstate NY last week, failing to get a book deal.

Had I sent it, I would have felt foolish. That afternoon, watching the siege of the US Capitol unfold, my hope was overpowered by fear and bewilderment. I was glued to the TV, paralyzed from doing anything else.

My original blog continued:

But my hopefulness isn’t a conscious choice. It’s something I feel in my gut, almost like it chooses me. I can’t shake it, even when the feeling all but disappears.

I let hope choose me.

When I sat down to work on this blog today, three days after the seige, I didn’t know how I felt. Do I still have hope? So I sat quietly, listening to my body’s signals, paying attention to what I felt in my gut.

I’m almost embarrassed to say yes, I still have hope.

I never used to be a glass-half-full person. I thought and talked more about what went wrong than what went right, an unhealthy tendency I only realized in retrospect. As I’m writing this, though, I’m aware that I’m not as negative. I can’t tell you when or why that changed—I’ll have to process it for weeks, I imagine, to figure it out. I’ll be sure to let you know when I have an answer, or at least a good guess.

But I wonder if my career change in September 2016 due to chronic health problems, and my subsequent renewed goal to finish my memoir, is part of it.

More from my pre-seige blog:

I recently sent out a new batch of queries to literary agents, and one responded within five hours that she wanted to look at my manuscript. That was almost unheard of–to hear back so quickly. And she was a significant agent. Being represented by her would have been a writing coup.

But 24 hours later, she emailed to say she was going to pass. I don’t know if I’m cut out for this, was my first thought.

The highs and lows of book publishing are emotional minefields. I couldn’t decide at that moment if I should close my laptop and have a good cry, go read a book, or get off the querying hamster wheel completely and self-publish my book.

But my gut said carry on.

“Carry on”–such prophetic words for me now. Some goals are so important, like getting a book published is to me, we have no choice but to carry on, and that very act means hope is alive.

The very act of carrying on means hope is alive.

And I will carry on in 2021, in spite of the attacks on our democracy, in spite of what may come in the weeks and months ahead. I will continue to choose hope that my book will be published. I will continue to search for answers about my partially-diagnosed chronic health issues. I will continue to interact with others–in person, through this blog, and on social media–with respect and kindness. I will continue to fight my people-pleasing tendencies, at the same time refusing to tolerate racism and other injustices in my community and country.

I’ll be busy this year. And if I lose my will to choose hope, I will let it choose me.

What about you–do you choose hope? Does hope choose you? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Have you checked out my new page? Ten Signs You May be a People-Pleaser?

***

Author

  • An emerging writer in upstate, NY, Karen DeBonis tells her story on her website, in publications like the NY Times, (a Tiny Love Story), in her “Become Emboldened” projects, and elsewhere. "Portrait of a People-Pleaser and the Son Who Paid the Price", Karen’s transformational memoir about a woman’s quest for authenticity and the courage to speak her truth, is currently available for representation.

4 Comments

  1. Jack Herlocker on January 9, 2021 at 4:38 PM

    Deb went through something similar! She had a devotional due to our church on Thursday, and was all happy about having it done Wednesday morning, all happy and joyful and looking forward to the new year… and then Wednesday afternoon happened. Needless to say, she did some rewriting Wednesday evening. But then she put most of it back Thursday morning. Because Hope! 😊

    • Karen DeBonis on January 10, 2021 at 7:19 AM

      Thank you to Deb! Tell her to keep sharing her hope because those who have lost hope need her.

  2. Laura on January 10, 2021 at 5:48 PM

    Karen, I am so glad you wrote this and preserved what you did of your hopeful post because we just can’t lose sight of hope (even when the situation seems hopeless)!

    • Karen DeBonis on January 10, 2021 at 7:39 PM

      Thanks Laura. And, someone has to keep hope alive, so when others who have lost hope are ready, it’s there for them.

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