I am an endless optimist with a small inkling for realism, a very small at best. A on the other hand is an eternal realist with the ability to see the greatest potential in any situation. So, when we went to a grocery store in the middle of nowhere up the coast somewhere in Australia (didn’t see that one coming, did you?) in the middle of their summer, we went bonkers. We ate our way through the produce aisle, quite literally (well, we bought the food first and then we ate it once in our hotel). And man, it was DELICIOUS. Every morning and every night, there where two things I wanted and two things I ate my weight in: Bowen mangoes and avocados. They were beyond amazing, juicy and fragrant and just anything one could ever wish for… Yellow fleshy mangoes, oozing juice all over your hands, once cut open and avocados almost tasting like butter but so much better. I am drooling, writing this.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, the smell of mangoes is still in my nose, the flavor of the avocados are forever burnt into my taste buds and I am slammed with one blizzard after another in Norway. The only thing, that gets me up in the morning is the smell of the most amazing Hawaiian (Kona) coffee, while I zombie-like crawl out of my pillow fort a.k.a. my bed. So, yesterday, I couldn’t handle it anymore and decided to run down to the grocery store in search for my soul food. As I entered the produce aisle and stood there motionless for a good five minutes, I realized that all my hopes and dreams were crushed in a matter of seconds: I forgot that the produce in Norway is very different from produce at any warm place. I slowly walked the aisle up and down, looking carefully i.e. searching like a maniac for mangoes and avocados. Eventually I found some avocados, as big as a pingpong ball and as hard as a golf-ball and mangoes as big and hard as tennis balls, while the baseball big avocados and the football shaped mangoes were forever haunting my memory. And a small voice in my head kept saying, “go on, buy it, it’s as good as you had it in Australia”.
Somehow, the voice in my head convinced me, that whatever I held in my hands in the grocery store in Norway, was going to have the same flavor and texture as I had in Australia. After all, it’s (almost) the same product, right? Logically, it would have to taste the same and logically, this would also transport me back to my happy place, far removed from the cold and ice, somehow getting me out of my feeling-miserable-because-it’s-dark-and-cold-ALL-the-time-slump. This makes, sense, right?
The whole way back home, I was skipping, giddy with happiness, I had mangoes and avocados in my hand, I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into it, it just HAD to be good. I was so excited as I called A and told him all about my endeavors, I almost had tears of joy in my eyes, while A on the other side of the phone stifled a laugh. But I didn’t want him to bring me down, I had mangoes and avocados, clearly the victory was mine, he was just jealous, that he wouldn’t be able to share this feast for goddesses with me (that’s the voice in my head talking, she is fierce and strong and does not have a care in the world).
I unlocked the door to our apartment and almost immediately started prepping my food. Somehow I convinced myself that cutting into a mango and not having the juices run all over the place, didn’t mean anything, or trying to get avocados out of the skin, was supposed to be hard and difficult, naturally. I powered on, looking forward to a few minutes of transformation back to the back-roads of Australia, where the air is warm, the sun beating down and life was adventurous and dangerous and most of all, anything I never thought possible. The voice in my head told me, that it’s okay that I wasn’t able to mash up the avocado by hand and that I should just use the food processor. And then the voice in my head told me, it’s okay that the avocado-flesh was still not smooth, even after liters of lemon juice and olive oil, but rather like little bright hard yellow Lego-pieces. My voice also didn’t send of an alarm when I couldn’t smell the mango while cutting it, the voice told me that it’s because it was cold outside my nostrils where still frozen (the voice in my head is a great convincer!).
Eventually, with my mango in one hand and my avocado in the other I sat down, excited beyond belief. My taste buds were watering and my endorphins going bananas, that is, until I had my first bite of avocado. My whole world shattered with one little bite and all of a sudden, I was back in reality and never in my life has a meal so accurately portrayed the outside world and my inside world. Needless to say, I didn’t finish my meal, needless to say, that A’s laughter was warranted, needless to say that my soul went hungry.
That’s the thing with false hope, sometimes we so desperately want and need something that we ignore all the visible signs, all the warning signals, we just power through, convincing ourselves that what ever we have going on, is the real thing. Humans are remarkable in that way, being able to close their eyes and their minds just to cope. False hope gives us the illusion that there is hope in the most hopeless of situations, even though we secretly already know that whatever situation we face is going to be bad, but we keep going. False hope destroys all the realistic expectations and replaces it with wishful thinking and yet, we do not give up, we do not let go, we keep going.
The other day, as I was (again, for about the millionth time) getting frustrated with my current career situation, having applied for more jobs than I wish to count, A said the most amazing thing to me, he said, “How many people even make it that far without giving up?” And that’s the other thing with false hope, sometimes persevering, allowing the little fierce voice in your head to take over, and keep on powering through, regardless of how hopeless the situation may seem, is what keeps you going through the darkest of places and hours. False hope allows you to see the positive, disregard the negative no matter how overwhelming the evidence for all the negative may be. False hope allows you to focus on the little things, like having actually received a ton of interviews and being able to learn from these experiences. And eventually, sooner or later, that one thing you want so desperately, will come through and when it does, it will just be like biting in the most amazing avocado and finger-licking mango juice of your hands and it will all be worth it.