EmoHero: Hope

This is based on a challenge I have joined on habitica, and I don’t know what to expect from it. The premise is to reimagine your emotions as people- heroes and monsters, specifically- and to describe them in more detail. I honestly have no idea what this process will be like, but I’m going to try anyway. All entries on this topic will be tagged with EmoHero, if only for my sake. If anyone is interested in looking at or joining the challenge, here it is.


This challenge was created by Take This

Ok. My tasks are to “turn one of my positive feelings into a hero” and to “list my hero’s strengths and weakness.” Then, if I can find “small changes I can make in my own life to play to their strengths,” I’m supposed to include those as well.

So far, I’ve written about love, caution, and fear. I dropped off the challenge pretty early on, and saw other participants talking about the value of putting in the effort to create several heroes for themselves. Technically, the challenge has already ended, but I’m going to try pushing through. Here we go.

What other good traits or emotions do I even have? (That might sound dumb, but I think it’s pretty typical for people with chronically low self esteem to struggle with this question, so I’m not worried about it.) Moreover, love was an emotion that is essentially pouring myself out for others, so it’s not… I don’t have the words for this. Essentially, pouring out too much of yourself is unhealthy and focusing too much on others and crushing yourself into paste because you think it will help them is unhealthy. I need to find something that is just valuable in and of itself.

Maybe it will help if I list positive feelings in general:

  • love
  • joy
  • humour
  • relaxation
  • hope
  • confidence
  • kindness
  • acceptance

I’ve found a strange middle ground between states of being, emotions, and personality traits, and I’m not going to split hairs trying to divide them. It doesn’t seem worthwhile, and I’m more likely to wind up distracted by that task than to be helped by it. Maybe, Hope is a good choice. (As in other entries, bold is the hero, plain is the emotion.)

As someone who has been actively suicidal multiple times, my idea of hope is inextricably tied to the will to carry on. Hope isn’t really optimism for me, in that it doesn’t involve dreams, plans, or excitement over what’s coming. Instead, it’s something dense and strong, like an iron ingot or an uncharted diamond. Hope carries a huge burden without being damaged, and it is very hard to break. I’ll start with that diamond idea and see where it leads.

Hope the hero could have diamond powers, perhaps, but what does that look like? We have Emma Frost’s diamond skin that makes her invincible or Rarity’s temporary gem-based summoning powers a la Green Lantern. I can’t think of other precedents offhand. What does hope contribute to the total picture? Essentially, hope buys time for other emotions and people to turn the tide. No matter how dire everything else looks, hope keeps me going until I am strong enough to believe in the future again.

That sounds like a shield to me. Hope has the ability to produce and maintain a diamond shield over the rest of the team. Ok. That’s a fine start.

I had to go and check, but Love got shields and healing. If they’re on the same team, then the most obvious interaction I can find is when the heavy hitter goes down, Hope throws up a crystal shield and Love starts healing them. When things are most dire, this combo is pretty helpful, but does Hope do anything when the situation isn’t dire?

For me, hope is primarily active when everything else has failed me, but occasionally I’m doing well enough to feel hope even when things are going ok. I wonder if that sounds silly. I feel hopeful when I’m teetering at the edge of death, and I struggle to hope when things are neutral or going well. Honestly, I’m usually just waiting for the shoe to drop when my life is going well. I know it won’t last, so I’m just waiting for the good times to pass.

Yeah, at this point, I think that the best thing I can say is that Hope has latent powers, because I see the potential for them to take action at other points in the battle (and in my life), but they need to be mentored or trained to develop further. On an emotional level, I’m going to need to continue forward in a stable emotional state that allows room for hope and growth. I’m not sure how to do that except to just keep putting myself out there, keep trying new things, and keep pushing through old walls.

Hang in there, Hope. One day, you’ll know who you are and what you’re capable of.


Day 26 With Dora

I guess that today, there are two things on my mind: calluses and chores. 😏 It is what it is.

I have thick, painful calluses on the middle and ring fingers of my hands. From walking Dora. Who pulls like a train. An adorable 50 pound train. 

Everyone is like “That’s what pit bulls do!” and I’m like “Her profile said she was a lab mix!” 😆 Oh well. In any case, we are working on walking- for her health (and mine) and for obedience class.  Two handed grip: one hand above her on the leash, other hand by my opposite hip. So basically, Dora stands besides my right foot, the leash comes up from her harness to my right hand, then it crosses in front of my body to my left hand, and the loop is usually around my left wrist. I try to keep her there.

But she pulls. And the leash cuts into my fingers. And I pull back.

This week, we’re supposed to work on a new technique: stopping and sitting every time she pulls until she eventually chooses to walk nicely so we can walk further. It’s… slow at this point, but Dora is smart. It will come together eventually.

The other thing was chores. I’m on my 3rd load of laundry today. This hasn’t happened since before we got her. I’m pleased to announce that we are FINALLY getting her bathroom schedule in hand. I now have 2-3 hours between trips instead of ~40 minutes (because it takes so long to get bundled up for the cold and unbundled for the house). It’s…. it’s nice, but that’s not all of it. It’s like…

You’re outside I’m a park or something and the clouds break. Rain- hard, fast, and cold- pours over your shoulders. You’re soaked and 30 minutes from your car. You walk, because the path is covered in mud and loose rocks, and it’s not worth slipping and cracking your skull over this. Part way back, the rain slows and the clouds part, and the sun- the sun pours through this little hole in the storm, spilling out onto the trees and the mud. At that moment, you can tell that the worst has passed. It isn’t over; the rain is still falling, the breeze still pierces your sopping clothes, and you didn’t bring a spare outfit in the car; but somehow it all feels like it will work out.

That’s how today feels.

Day 3 With Dora

I had a breakdown yesterday. Just got overwhelmed by how many more tasks I needed to complete. By how much more of myself I needed to give away. By suddenly having this new being depending on me for everything- for food, for relieving herself, for exercise, for fun.

There was just so much of it, and no breaks from it, and so I just cried. And Dora came up close to me and tilted her head and licked my salty tears. And I petted her soft, smooth fur and breathed in that warm, familiar dog smell. And I calmed down a bit.

This isn’t going to be natural right away. Nor will it be easy. She isn’t trained for her role yet and I am only accustomed to owning outdoor dogs. We both have a great deal to learn. 

I found an article about new mothers being overwhelmed by the arrival of their babies, the sudden appearance of new tasks, the loss of one’s job or friends or routine, the lack of sleep, and just… all of it. At once. Without breaks.

I think I understand now, better than I have before, a small part of what they go through. If any of my friends become new mothers, I want to try to do something for them: to (let’s see- what do I want?) … to give them a break from their tasks for a while or to do something that feels a bit like life before (like eating or talking about movies and life). I want to ease the burden by adding something to their life.

But back to reality: Dora is a really sweet, gentle, and calm dog. I think it’s going to go well overall. I just need to adapt to the new balance of life. I think she will respond well to training and could be taught to monitor my wellbeing if we want to go that route. At the very least, because she is a velcro dog, Dora won’t let me hide in the dark and cry alone. I might still do it on some days, but at least she will be sitting with me. That will probably be enough to keep the darkest thoughts at bay.

Dora’s imp has seen better days.

Old Woman, Little Girl

There are a few real paradoxes within me. I don’t know whether or not most people are consistent or paradoxical, so I have no way to know whether or not I am normal. As such, I just accept this as a neutral situation. So what am I talking about?

Well, on one hand, I have pretty much always been a pessimist, and as a child, I wrestled with issues like greed vs. starvation- that we will never provide food for everyone in the world because people are inherently selfish. In elementary school, I laid awake thinking about this kind of thing. Even now, I feel like I am carrying the emotional burdens of a very old woman, one who has lost many people and seen enough pain to become jaded and weary.

On the other hand, I have never stopped watching cartoons and moved on to television meant for adults. I really love brightly colored heroes, fighting against the odds, becoming friends with their teammates, growing stronger, and winning against powerful bad guys. I love these simple stories, and at least thus far, I haven’t tired of superheroes, giant robots, magical girls, ninjas, and talking ponies. In this way, I have a lot in common wih a 7 year old.

So, why the dissonance? It’s pretty simple, I think. A lot of people use entertainment to fill in gaps in their lives- watching exciting shows to offset a dull career, marinating in lusty stories to counteract loneliness, and so on. But I am tired of violence- I have studied too much war, genocide, and murder; realistic violence is not thrilling. And I have seen the scars caused by lust and its corresponding low self esteem; I prefer not to reopen old wounds by watching promiscuous characters. Foul language is usually excessive, like too much salt in an otherwise tasty soup. So where can I find stories without war, sex, language, violence, and the pain that permeates this world?

Kids’ shows. For 30 blissful minutes, I can escape to another world where kindness is genuine, where the lines between good and evil are artificially clear, where people are supportive, where the world can be saved, and where things really will get better after they get worse. I can forget famine, disease, poverty, war, rape, incest, assault, arson, theft, hate speech, mutilation, and other horrible realities for just a short time… and in that short time, I can enjoy life.

It’s depressing to write this, since there really are a lot of painful things in the world, and it’s so easy to focus on them and lose sight of any positive things. I’ll try again to believe in the world, guys. Just give me time.