Hope does not enter this home.

Hope, what is hope.

Hope is a folly, a foolish invention of the mind that things might change for the better … an escape from grim realities … an aerial goal.

Hope stokes embers of exhaustion. To the fragrant crisp pine needles from our seat at the campfire we whisper, we beseech: “I hope things get better” … “I hope this happens” … “this doesn’t happen” … “I hope her health improves” … “he doesn’t die….”

We hope for things never to be … that cannot be … for things to be different. We hope because it’s in our wiring … nature’s necessity, otherwise we might lie down in despair and die.

* * *

In the three+ years of unemployment when I was desperate and hungry for any job, it was often said: “I hope you get the job” upon an interview … “I hope you find a job” … “keeping hopes and fingers crossed that you get work …” … “hope you get it!”

Such comments are polite and positive. Heck, I say ‘em too!

However, heard time after time, expressions of hope become insubstantive …hollow … inadequate … shallow … tiresome. If hopes were effective, I’d have been employed!

Hopes change nothing. In many situations, hope has no place. To illustrate with an extreme example:

Would you say to someone fighting cancer, a battle being lost even as s/he draws from every ounce of strength and marshals all inner and outer resource for a survival hard, perhaps grave, “I hope you get better?”

I wouldn’t. In a downhill slide of a battle being lost, hope has no place and no chance; its wish rings hollow.

In that situation, I extend compassion and support and prayer.

+ + +

Longtime readers know that time to time before an interview that comments of “good luck” are banished.

For now, there will be no more comments of hope … “I hope things get better” … “hope you get better housing” … “lasting housing” … “better roommates” … “a better job” … “a place to stay …”
“I hope I hope I hope”

They’ve changed and change nothing. No more.

* * *

This morning I awakened to a much-anticipated email that also concludes a process begun in summer.

I did not get the job.

The details don’t matter now. What mattered, truly mattered, was that it was a professional/career position that would’ve lifted my life up not by an inch but a foot … put me back into a career track after a 7-year absence … moved my life forward in truly meaningful manners … and released me from a desert of tremendous hardships, burdens and lacks.

I did not get the job.

Too often have these words been received.

+ + +

I am a writer. Or I was. I used to be. Was born to be. Perhaps I still am. Some say I am.

But no. I am not.

I am a dishwasher, two days a week, and a prep cook, two days a week.

I AM a dishwasher. And I’d better remain a damn good one because I can’t afford to be unemployed again and I may be there much longer than desired.

I am a dishwasher, insufficiently, which is to say that the hours I do work (27/week) do not even make survival ends meet.

I could WRITE about dishwashing, yes.

But why? To do so only twists the knife of profound shame, self-loathing, regrets, disappointment and degrees of embarrassment and deepen the black hole of self-hatred and burnt dreams.

* * *

As I bend over the sink, with aching mid-back, rinsing plates of food and scrubbing pans, earning insufficient income, I’m inexpressibly grateful to have a job, deeply ashamed of self and what has come of my life and I speculate whether it will get better. Whether I’ll ever come anywhere close to employment aligned with my potentials, talents, skills, background, capabilities, dreams (like hope, another pained word) and purpose.

Because when I hope that life will improve and when I’m given reason to hope, when that chance for better is given, the ending’s the same.

I didn’t get the job … the means back to my path from which I have so far strayed … the work that holds meaning and purpose and only begins to right so many wrongs.

Face it. I do. I’m not a writer. I’m a dishwasher in a white work coat and thin white plastic apron and scruffy black T-shirt and regulation black cotton pants and black shoes and a yellow floral-print bandana.

That is who I am.

There is no room for hope in this house.

Until it is written otherwise, no more shall be spoken of hope in comments by readers.

It is what it is. Things are what they are.

The truth of hope is:

Hope does not change the world.

Hope only makes it more livable.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Raymond
    Nov 29, 2011 @ 19:20:20

    I believe in you. Always have. Sure, I’ve not the ability of working with words, that distinguishing malllability with words, yet I believe in you. You claim that you are not a writer, but this claim is not yours to make. It is rightfully the claim of those who read your words, of those who can feel what your words mean to them, and of those who surrender to the tellling, willingly, because we simply can’t structure our ideas, experiences, and yes, our hopes in a consistent, meaningful manner. Don’t give up, there are people whose lives and futures will be touched by you, and it will make all the difference in the world. (So good to be sharing with you again 🙂


  2. fotografzahl
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 06:38:37

    First of all, you are not a dishwasher. Nobody _is_ his profession.
    You are a human being having a job – you are not identical with your job.
    Additionally, I don’t see why anyone should feel ashamed of their work. Every work needs to be done by someone, and there is nothing bad about washing dishes.

    When people tell you they hope you get a new job/home/etc. it is also to show you that they care, that they are not indifferent, that you are not alone.

    What I personally can say is that one should give up any expectations. The probability that things come different is just too high. So I quit to expect things from life, other people, etc. I try to give my best without forcing things.

    Perhaps you should let go of expectations.
    As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it:
    “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”

    This does not mean that you should sit at home doing nothing, it is about trying too hard/being too tense about something.
    If you want to achieve something in life, you should perhaps give up wanting it too desperately (and yes I know, it is absolutely natural to feel desperate in your situation).
    When you _really_ accept your current state – and I know it is crappy -, you will get more relaxed. And then when you don’t expect it, something good might happen.
    Sounds absolutely counter-intuitive, I know.

    And yes – giving advice as an outsider is easier than being in that situation oneself…


    • allycatadventures
      Nov 30, 2011 @ 21:01:58

      @fotografzahl – Viel Dank für Ihre durchdachten Anmerkungen. Ich verstehe sie. Ich sollte sagen dass I *am eine Spülmaschine — und mehr. Z.B. bin ich eine großartige Arbeitskraft, ein intelligenter Kursteilnehmer, ein sehr schlechter Sänger. 🙂 ICH BIN mein Job, weil ich ihn völlig umfasse und der Job werde. Ich bin so sehr deutsch. 🙂 Alles ist eher kompliziert und erschwert, also versuche ich nicht zu erklären. Ich sage, nur dass mein Lebenzweck von meiner Geburt sehr klar war. So ist es sehr hart und schmerzlich, von meinem Zweck und von Weg so weit entfernt zu sein. Ich hoffe, dass dieses richtig übersetzt! Ich war in der Stimmung, zum auf Deutsch zu reagieren. Ich betrog mit einem Übersetzer auf dem Internet. 🙂 Danke wieder für Ihre durchdachten Anmerkungen.


  3. Flamingo Dancer
    Nov 30, 2011 @ 19:43:27

    As you know, your job does not define you. I know it is soul destroying cleaning up after other people, as I performed the same role a few years ago. That is when I went to university and started my long struggle out of that sphere.

    I don’t think you should be so harsh on we flounders who wish you hope. We feel helpless, there is nothing we can do but wish you well, wish you hope. Isn’t that what prayer is also, hope?


    • allycatadventures
      Nov 30, 2011 @ 20:37:25

      @FD – “Isn’t that what prayer is also, hope?” No, no no. Prayer is, in the esteemed definition of Merriam-Webster, “an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought.” Hope is “to desire with expectation of fulfillment.” One must not confuse prayer with hope … at this blog!

      Actually, I don’t mind cleaning up after people (though I prefer it when I’m paid for it 🙂 ); cleanliness is, after all, next to godliness. I’ve had worse jobs than this. It’s a downer to waste away in menial (sometimes degrading) jobs year after year and have my long efforts to re-enter my purposeful longtime former writing/editing career go down the drain. No pun intended. (OK, just a little. 🙂 )

      The instruction about hope stands; however, there is no banishing of prayer. 🙂


  4. Karyn @ kloppenmum
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 00:20:18

    OK. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: