Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hopelessness

I rarely talk about what brought me to America, because it's not something I like to dwell on. Living in a country where I felt so limited, by my physicality, by everything that surrounded me it seemed like nothing really brought me joy. The days kind of blended together. There was no future that I could imagine for myself, nothing I had to look forward to. There was no purpose, no grand idea. I would always be there, in that nation of stairs and I was lucky that I could get out of the house. And I thought I should be grateful that I had this much. It wasn't anybody's fault. And I had a family who loved me. So I felt extremely selfish for feeling this way. But I was profoundly unhappy. And I just couldn't get myself to be any different. Sure, you reason with yourself, and you think, there's a lot of people who are much worse off than you are. And you have your support system here. Count your blessing. This is what you know, but on some level you think, maybe there's a different life you deserve. Not that anybody really deserves anything, but you owe yourself an effort to try something different. This to me is what hopelessness was like. I wasn't simply depressed- although no doubt I may have been in addition. I felt stuck in reality that I didn't create for myself, that was not only unwelcoming, it didn't really allow me to participate. Because what your able to do and how you interact with your surroundings can change your entire outlook and I felt useless. It's extremely personal and deeply intimate. It's how I felt about me. So I moved to America, got all those law degrees and my green card- and the rest you pretty much know. I didn't want to feel like that ever again, so I didn't something about it. It wasn't fast, it wasn't easy or cheap. And I don't think I'm some type of an inspiring folk hero as a result of it- I know it was hard on my family, but it was something I needed to try.

 So when Michelle Obama said after the election of Donald Trump, "This is what having no hope feels like" in her Oprah interview I was really surprised. Hopelessness is not the same as being sad or disappointed or angry. It's dark and cold and unapologetically final. It's how you feel when nothing will ever be OK again and there is nothing to look forward to. What do you have if you don't have hope? I understand that we live in times when people love to make grand gestures and overblown statements. It's a generation that uses "literally" to mean "figuratively" and it's literally in the dictionary. The dramatic sense of finality. I come from a nation where countless generations gave their lives for freedom in wars and uprisings. Because they didn't have freedom but they always had hope. I feel as if the sense of perspective was completely lost during this presidential elections. Big words have lost their meaning. The bigger the better.

 Regardless of your politics, I think everyone should take a step back. This isn't hopelessness and you don't always get your way in life. Get used to it. To my liberal friends I say this: I reject the idea that any politician can give you hope. Obama didn't give it, Trump isn't taking it away. Hope is something that comes from within you and from your own life - not a perfect stranger on TV. I've been concerned about Ms Obama for a while now. Over the years I've seen her looking stressed and tired with a joyless expression on her face. In 2008, she said she was never proud of her country before. I always thought that was strange. In all of her adult life she never was happy to be where she was? That's a lot of years and that's a lot of moments. Not a single moment of pride to reflect on? It did cross my mind multiple times, that maybe she is battling with depression.

Because I for one love this country. And I chose it for myself. Obama, Trump or Clinton - whoever it is doesn't make a difference about how I feel. Because it's my choice and it's about my life and where I wanna be. I'm not like the people who say that if you don't like it here you should move. I do think however, that if you're that unhappy to live in America - if you have the resources to do so- try to find a place where you can be happy again. If being here makes you miserable- go out there and explore. You really don't do anybody any favors by forcing yourself to be somewhere you don't like. There 's no virtue in your sacrifice and you really owe it to yourself to be happy. When I say consider moving, I'm not saying it to be mean- I'm saying I did. And it was probably harder for me than most other people. But also I must say I'm disappointed with her- as someone who arrived on message of "hope change and faith" at the very least I expected her to be the unifying, calming presence.

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