I had a job interview the other day. It was one of those events in life that tie your stomach in knots, and you feel like your head has left and is floating in outer space. At the interview, my nervousness set aside, I put on the performance of my life. I walked away feeling hopeful. Actually, hopeful is rather a weak word for what I felt. It was more like, full of life. Sitting in my car, ready to drive home, I laughed at the realization that not only was I hopeful, I had actually enjoyed having to perform. It was like being an actor on a stage. I played the part of ME! And I realized I had imprisoned myself for so long with my own brainwashing that I had not only washed away my misery, but also my sense of fun and the freedom to be me. The hopelessness was like a wet, wool blanket on my back, weighing me down, but giving me the false impression of warmth and security. It wasn’t immediately after the interview that I realized all of this. It was after I’d gone back to my office, where suddenly, this newly excavated part of myself seemed like a naked drunk running through the office. It made me giggle and feel talkative, alive and carefree! The contrast to the environment was the cold water that woke me. Without interaction from my co-workers where I worked, I had just given in. I had lost my liveliness to the almighty dollar and job security and let’s face it, so that I wouldn’t draw attention to myself or stand out. Disappearing into myself, I stopped risking the constant rejection of those surrounding me. It is human nature to conform. And in my case, I had lost hope. I was just going through my day to day. I guess if I had let myself feel how miserable I had become there, it would have made it next to impossible to force myself to go to work each day. I was afraid to hope. I didn’t want to be disappointed. Till this interview gave me a glimpse. A glimpse of light on the other side of my office door. I thought of prisoners of war or people sentenced to life in prison, or the people that were sent to the concentration camps, and I wondered how they kept going. How did they keep hope in such a hopeless situation? It is amazing that anyone who is imprisoned can carry hope with them each day. To me, it would be like being in a desert dreaming of water. Wouldn’t it be easier, less painful, to stop thinking about the water and just start sucking cactus juice, even if the spines pricked your skin and drew blood. It’s part of that whole thought form of “Don’t look forward to it, you might be disappointed.” So rather than get up hope with the possibility of being let down, we just stay in the safe place, no matter how miserable it is. It seems that no matter how many times I realize this, I find myself back here and realizing it once again. I guess the key is that I am realizing it. Over and over. And it doesn’t really matter, as long as I keep realizing it. Right? Two of my most despised sayings are – “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” and “Bloom where you are planted.” I realize that each of these sayings can actually have a positive slant, but I am afraid that more than not, we use them as words to keep us where we are – hopeless, but making the “most” of it. Maybe it’s time to throw the lemons out the window and demand limes. Or maybe we need to pull up our roots and MOVE! I don’t know yet if I got the job. I do know that I like the me that I found during that interview, and with or without approval, she’s staying out in the open. She makes me happy – and alive!