Sincerely, Hope

Dear World and Everyone In It,
This is who I am.
Accept it.

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*Note: I started this blog because of my Creative Writing class in the Spring of 2016. It was an assignment to start and maintain a blog. As a part of this, we had to write and upload certain posts. You’ll recognize them as the posts that seem somewhat out of place.

This was one of those posts. In fact, this was the main assignment for our blogging unit: an “About Me” post. It’s much more difficult than you think. Surprisingly enough, I’m a very uninteresting person with a very bad memory. Not to mention, not many events in my life were very noteworthy, and I didn’t want my post to be all about traveling.

So, I decided to play with the idea and make it unique. The result was this. If you plan to read beyond this note, I would just like to warn you that it doesn’t really focus on the usual “Who am I” stuff. Rather, it’s written as a letter to the world where I tell it to stop judging me because this is me.

You won’t learn about my likes and dislikes in this post, or anything like that. Instead, you’ll see the true me in the writing itself. The way it’s written. What I say about myself. If you really want to know who I am, then this is your best shot. Thank you for visiting my blog, and good luck.


Dear World and Everyone in it,

You don’t understand me.

You don’t know me, not in the slightest, and it seems to me that you don’t care to know me. You don’t care who I am, just who you want me to be, who you think I should be. So, I have one thing to say to you.

Iridescent.

When asked to describe myself in one word, that’s the one I choose.

Not “hope” because my name is Hope and name puns are soooooo funny! (I hope you caught that sarcasm). Not “oblivious” because, according to you, I miss everything. Not “hippy” because I like flowers and there’s nothing to me other than flowers. Definitely not “immature” because you think I’m a child and should be treated as such. And don’t ever say it’s “stupid,” because I am not stupid.

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The second time I gave my hair to Locks of Love.

But at the same time, I can’t accurately say that I’m anything else. I am not always “wise,” as a few of you see me. I am not always “loyal,” though I’ve proven myself to be many times over. I am not always “selfless,” no matter how much I give. I am not always “mature,” or “creative,” or “brave.” I am not always anything.

At the end of the day, it depends on who you ask.

I am iridescent. According to Google, iridescent means “showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles.” And trust me, there isn’t a word in the world that describes me better than that.

(If that doesn’t make sense, check out my poem Iridescent. I don’t know if it will help, but you never know. I wrote it based on this idea.)

You see, somehow, every person — or group of people, in some cases — who has ever known me, you included, has formed a different and unique version, or perspective, of who I am. No two perspectives match, and not a single one is spot on.

Now you see why I’m so fascinated with the idea of perspectives.

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Little old me, riding the Griffin statue that I claimed was my pet…

I usually use these different perspectives to hide myself, to keep anyone from figuring me out. The real me isn’t always someone I want people to see. In fact, when I was younger, I was ashamed of the real me. I was ashamed because of you. Because you never accepted the real me. Because I was too crazy, too thoughtful, too different, and you didn’t want anything to do with me. Did I scare you? Did you see me as a threat? Little old me, just trying to find a way in this place, a threat

And I guess that’s when I created my windows and walls, when I started hiding parts of myself. I suppose I never managed to hide the same things every time, because all of this happened. But you can’t blame me for all of this, because it’s your fault.

So, I’m giving you the chance to redeem yourself.

All I’ve ever truly wanted is acceptance. Not as someone else, but as myself.

In the hopes that I might finally be free, I am choosing to be vulnerable. Right here and now, I am opening myself up to you. I am giving you a great deal of my trust, trust that I rarely give. Do not abuse it. It’s more fragile than you could ever know.

This is who I am.

Sincerely,

Hope


 

Dear World and Everyone In It,

I’ll give you some friendly advice.

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My brother and I attempting to paint a new house.

Within these letters, I’ve included pictures. For the most part, they don’t seem to fit in. They seem random.

However, you should already know, a picture’s worth a thousand words.

If you want to figure out the depth of who I am, pay attention to the pictures. They tell my story, my real story, the story of me beyond what I can say and beyond a pretty face.

Because, I promise you. I am much, much more than a pretty face.

Get it? Got it?

Good.

Sincerely,

Hope


 

Dear World and Everyone In It,

I am a Highly Sensitive Person.

Yes, HSP (which is the abbreviation for it) is a real thing. It occurs in around 20% of humans and has been found in over 100 other different species. It is an innate trait, and it is 100% me.

If you want proof that I am HSP, I almost starting bawling in the middle of my creative writing class when I learned about it. Yes, bawling. There were tears in my eyes and my throat was tight, and I had to take several deep breaths to hold it all in.

From ipone 271
Me modeling a giant flower at a store.

Why was I so emotional, you may ask? Simple. I’m an incredibly emotional person, so I was already on the brink of a breakdown because I couldn’t figure out how to explain who I am. Then this happened, and my world was basically turned inside out because it matched me perfectly.

It took so many things about me that I couldn’t explain to other people and summarized them all into three simple words. Years of trying to figure out why I react to things so extremely, why I notice details other people never notice, why the five senses impact me so deeply… All explained in three words.

Highly Sensitive Person.

This also explains why I see so much beauty in everything.

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Me modeling a fantastic yellow life vest and rubber boots in Ecuador.

It is important to note that not all HSPs are emotional roller coasters. Most are far more easy-going than me. At least, I think that’s the case… I’m guessing I’m just on the more extreme side of things.

And, quite obviously, HSP is not the equivalent of an introvert, seeing as I’m an introvert-extrovert mix.

My creative writing teacher, who is also HSP, was the one who introduced me to this term. She pulled up this blog called hsperson.com and talked to the class about it a bit, then gave us some free time to explore the site ourselves if we so pleased. Obviously, I chose to explore it.

I highly suggest you check out this blog, especially if you think you might be HSP. Seriously, it could change your entire world.

It changed mine.

Sincerely,

Hope


 

Dear World and Everyone In It,

I am a perfectionist.

It’s not something I can control. I just want everything to be right, to be the best it can possibly be.

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Me on Fort Myers Beach, a split second before my grand wipe-out.

Is that such a crime?

I admit, sometimes I get carried away. I spend hours on a single project that should only take a few minutes, just because I think it could be a little bit better if I change a few things.

Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t.

I actually had about a dozen panic attacks while trying to plan this post and write it. I think this is my seventh draft started from scratch. I won’t even try to count how many times I revised each draft… But honestly, it turned out better than it would have if I had stuck to the first draft, so who can say my perfectionist tendencies are bad?

Though at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you think or even what I think. I can’t help being a perfectionist. It’s not something I can control or change about myself. It’s just a part of me.

It’s likely that my perfectionist qualities developed from my childhood. My parents have always pushed me to have the absolute best grades, and though that’s not a bad thing, it’s been… hard, to say the least. My entire life, I was faced with the constant questions of why do you have a B in this class? Why is it not an A? What are you going to do to bring it up?

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Our family photo on Fort Myers Beach.

Yes, it’s been frustrating.

But no, I’m not mad at my parents for it.

They were only doing what they thought best. And honestly, I’m glad they raised me this way. I think I’m a better person because of it. I never settle for mediocre and always strive for the best, which is a way of life everyone should follow.

Actually, if I’m to be mad at anyone, it should be you. You who see this part of me as negative (Psychology Today is the perfect example), you who tell me that I should feel shame.

You, who taught me to hate myself because I want to be the best I can be.

Thank you, world.

And you wonder why I hide.

Sincerely,

Hope


 

Dear World and Everyone In It,

I am Attention Deficit.

Not stupid. Not oblivious. Not immature.

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My brother fast asleep with his giant tiger. That’s me in the background.

In fifth grade, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD for short. By now, it’s probably more like ADHD, but being diagnosed with ADHD wouldn’t do anything more for me. I’d still be taking the same exact medicine, still be living the same exact life, just with a different term to define my disorder.

Disorder. How I hate that word.

I won’t go into detail about this. I already posted an entire story that goes through my life before and after being diagnosed with ADD. You can read it here.

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The door to one of my past rooms, which we tore out during one of our moves.

Otherwise, you just need to know that it isn’t stupidity that makes me slow. It’s the constant noise that fills the world, that’s always ringing in my ears and drawing my attention away.

It isn’t obliviousness that keeps me from noticing the big picture. It’s all the little details in the world that I notice and focus in on, but you seem to be oblivious to.

And it isn’t immaturity that causes me to act like a child. It’s my mind running in a million places at once, unable to focus on anything, yet focusing on everything, all at the same time.

It’s not easy being me. So just… Stop acting like there’s something wrong with me. Please. There’s nothing wrong with me, my mind just works differently than everyone else’s.

I’m just… me. So stop judging me and try to understand who I am for once.

Sincerely,

Hope


 

Dear World and Everyone In It,

This is who I am.

From ipone 022
My best friend and I posing in our formal attire.

Accept it.

I’m tired of trying to be someone else,

so I’m just gonna be myself.

Say whatever you want to say.

I don’t care.

At the end of the day,

this is me.

Not the person you say I should be.

You only ever saw me through windows,

while walls blocked most of your view.

You don’t know me.

You’ve never known me.

So stop trying to control me

because it won’t work.

Not anymore.

I’m done pretending.

It’s time I stepped outside

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Honestly, I don’t even know…

and let the world see me

for me.

I’m proud to be me.

I’m proud to be unique.

I’m ready to be vulnerable.

So ready or not,

here I come.

This is the real me.

Sincerely,

Hope.

 

Things You Should Know

A response to A.M. Homes’s short story, “Things You Should Know”.

When I was in elementary school, my teachers called me stupid.

It was funny, really. They called me stupid when they knew I was brilliant. They yelled at me when I couldn’t remember how to spell a simple word, then stared at me in disbelief when I solved a middle school level math problem.

They knew I wasn’t stupid, but they couldn’t figure out what I was, so they called me stupid.

I stopped paying attention to them early on. All they did was talk and wave their hands around, and the other kids seemed to think that was great, but I didn’t.


A few times, I tried to pay attention. Then I’d hear something, like the tapping of a pencil.

Tap tap tap…

I’d press myself to listen, to focus.

Tap tap tap tap tap…

I gave up almost immediately. It didn’t seem to be worth the fight.


I missed information all the time. I managed to teach myself the important stuff because it was easy and made sense when the world was quiet, but I missed all the details because it’s hard for a kid to teach herself details.

I couldn’t figure out spelling because there was so much to memorize. I got an F in citizenship because I didn’t pay attention and chose to talk to other students who could pay attention but didn’t want to. I hated science and history because there were a million different pieces and details to them, and I couldn’t keep up.

I loved math and grammar. With those, there was a basic set of rules that seemed to carry through everything, even the weird exceptions. There was no memorization, just basic understanding. And then more complex understanding based on those basics, and it kept growing in complexity.

Yet, it all always seemed so easy to me, especially when the world was quiet.

When there was noise, even math and grammar became difficult.


In fifth grade, I went to a different school.

We didn’t move or anything. I’d just taken a test, and some people who acted like they knew everything determined that I was “smarter” than my age, so they put me in an extended learning program. I switched to a different school in the district that year so I could be in the “smarter” class.

The class helped some and hurt some. It was very free reign, so it didn’t matter so much if I payed attention or not, but I could never figure out what I was supposed to be doing. The teacher only gave information once and then expected us to handle ourselves. I had trouble hearing the information the first time.

But the harder work was wonderful. It wasn’t too hard, not for me, but it was difficult enough to keep my mind entertained for longer periods of time.

Memorization was still an impossible feat.


Halfway through my fifth grade year, my teacher had a meeting with my parents. She suggested that they take me to get tested for attention disorders.

My parents agreed. They were so excited about it, saying that I might finally be able to focus like a normal person.

They never said I’d finally be normal, but somehow, I knew that it was implied.

I went with it, because what kid would complain about missing the first half of the school day for a whole week?


I was diagnosed with ADD.

“Attention deficit disorder,” they told me. “This explains why you’ve never been able to concentrate, why you’ve always been behind in school!”

Actually, I’m ahead, I thought but never dared to speak. I’m in the extended learning program and everything!

Instead, I just smiled and nodded as they explained how I would have to go to the nurse and take medicine. They put emphasis on how I shouldn’t be ashamed.

Well, I wasn’t ashamed. I was annoyed that they thought that I was ashamed, and that they thought I was abnormal enough to need medicine. But I humored them and agreed.


One month.

One month was all it took for me to discover the world I’d been missing.

For a ten years, teachers called me stupid, and I thought they were stupid because obviously I wasn’t stupid.

If someone had just cared enough to actually help me, to notice my issues and use their brain, to solve the equation that was me, I could’ve skipped all that worry.

But no one cared, not until fifth grade.

And after a month of taking the medicine they gave me (one pill in the morning, one pill at lunch), I was starting to realize what I had missed.

I still noticed every bit of motion around me, every sound and every flinch, but I could finally look past it all. I could focus in on one thing in particular, keep track of what I was doing, listen to a teacher as they talked.

The tap tap tap of a pencil still distracted me, but not nearly as much as it once had.

In one month, my world had changed entirely. I suddenly knew things that I’d never realized I didn’t know. I could focus. Instead of a myriad of images, my world could become just one thing.

How could anyone have let me go so long without this?


I stepped up to the front of the room, wincing at the rapping sounds of the paper in my quaking hands.

“My teachers used to call me stupid.” I began.

My teacher coughed and I looked at her. She had always been good to me. She’d never once called me stupid. In fact, she’d told me multiple times that I was one of the most brilliant people she’d ever met.

I met her gawking gaze and offered a small smile. “It’s true. For ten years of my life, teachers called me stupid.”

I turned to look at the rest of my class. “Some of you think I’m stupid, too. Because I’m different. Because I like to work alone, in silence.”

They stared up at me with wide eyes. It was strange, having them stare at me. They never stared at me. They rarely even looked at me. I was out of their realm of understanding. I was never on their list of “Things You Should Know.”

I slowly set my paper down and leant back against the table behind me. My hands no longer shook as I observed the people before me, the ones I had just a moment ago thought knew the world better than me, because they had known it the way I finally knew it for far longer.

Turns out, I had always been one step ahead.

“How many of you know what ADD is?”