This is another novella in three parts so you may want to stock up on food supplies before you start
Last week my bestbossever got all excited and said he had something for me. He ran downstairs to his car and came back with this wristband, the third of three he'd been given by his dear friend Mike. With a very rare, serious face, he then 'presented' it to me, telling me that a responsibility came with wearing it and that he would forward The Contract to me. When I read the text, I couldn't put it on fast enough.
It goes like this...
I AM HOPE "I Am Hope" is not a fashion accessory (although they are very fashionable 😂👍) "I Am Hope" is a commitment to Hope.
If you are wearing one you are telling the world that you are a safe person to talk to without fear of shame or reprisal. "I Am Hope" is a responsibility.
Not a responsibility to solve someone's problems nor a responsibility to take on that persons problems. "I Am Hope" is a responsibility to listen without judgement. To listen with empathy and perhaps guide them to find the help they may need - if you can.
The Key to Life is Hope! Be that HOPE
I AM HOPE MANTRA
I will not judge
I will not shame
I will not rant
I will not blame
I will not gossip
I AM HOPE
I've got your back"
Last night, at our factory opening, I got to meet #mikeking, Mr I Am Hope himself. I don't know if it was because Mike saw my wristband or because of the speech it took a lifetime of courage to make, but afterwards, with that same glint in his eye as my boss, said he had something for me and pulled out a bag of 100 I Am Hope wristbands! It took everything I had to contain the tsunami inside me as I clutched that bag to my heart. I immediately understood that this man, who is constantly travelling around our country with the @key2life Trust, giving Hope to thousands and thousands of people around mental health challenges and suicide, could see I-don't-know-what-yet but I've never felt so ready for whatever that ends up being.
Then in the next breath he said "And I'll send you another bag of the woman's size"...
Today I was having brunch with a friend who was at the event last night and who heard my speech. Out of the blue they started sharing the toughest time in their life and I swear I levitated with surrealness. I held back tears as I realised this was my first I Am Hope moment and I was there for them more than I've ever been anywhere for anyone before ❤
From the age of 1, the only attention I ever got was negative. First, from the age of 1, the looks of disgust at the sores all over me, then, from the age of 10, of distaste when they found out my father was a 'gang member'. Because of these mirrors, I had such a distorted view of myself that for many years all I could see was the Elephant Woman. It was icky and sticky but I waded through that #dismorphia as well as the inevitable #addictions and #suicidaldepression to transform into who I am today.
The night before the event my mind was able to see what I could look like and hear what I could say but the scars of my childhood begged me not to draw attention to myself.
Then came a revelation. I may be hope to others now but I Am also Hope to myself. With the Mantra in my mind I reminded myself that it's no longer about me. It was about being an example to my children, who would be watching me and who knew the courage it took for me to get on that stage. It was about anyone in the audience who had suffered or knew someone who was suffering. It was about planting seeds.
Ultimately, it wasn't about being me, it was about being Hope. And the response was overwhelming. My tender exposed self literally ran from that stage into the nearest empty room as the audience was clapping, what sounded to me, deafeningly. When attention was moved on and I slunk back out, the first smile I saw was the MCs as she quietly told me I'd done well but the look in her eyes was so purposeful. Like she was checking to see I really got it. It was that moment that I thought, if this is Hope, I want to be more of it.
So, if you think you can take on this responsibility, there's not a moment to lose. No matter where you are in the world, I want you to private message me your name and address and I'll send you a few wristbands and personalised copies of the contract in calligraphy so you and yours can be Hope too... #hopeisonitsway
Pimp My Attitude
You need to know, right now, this is all about me. I'm not educated. I don't have any (non-driving related) qualifications therefore, I'm not about to tell you what you should do - I know my place.
And here you are.
At my place.
So - welcome.
If you're here for 10 seconds, I won't even know so I won't be offended that you left early.
If you're here for hours and keep coming back, I will consider you a friend because the only thing my diverse yet loyal friends have in common, and what I appreciate most about them, is that they just keep coming back..