Hope 2012: A Blog Relay

Update: Friday, August 10: At last count there are 81 posts in HOPE 2012, and at least 196 people invited. I’m scheduling closing ceremonies for Monday, August 13, so there’s still time to write if you want to! Go write, you crazy people! Write!

The Olympics are starting today! Or, at least, all the Olympic fanfare starts today. Something Olympic and big is starting in some fashion today. That’s what I know. (I may not be an expert.) At any rate, hoorah for whatever exciting thing is happening today!

Yesterday while I was on my run, whilst thinking about the Olympics, I had this idea that I instantly fell in love with, which I then thrust on several other talented bloggers, proving that while I still completely hate exercise (sorry guy that told me I have a bad attitude), it isn’t totally useless. So, here’s my idea:

Hope 2012: A blog relay

A blog relay! Themed! Like the Olympics! (Yes, I know I’m both being obscenely nerdy and overusing exclamation points.)

So here’s the thing. I’m going to blog about hope, and I asked a bunch of fabulous, diverse, wonderful people to do the same. Then, they’re going to ask people to do the same. And then they’re going to…you get the idea. And just like in a relay race, we’ll go farther and faster than we could if we were doing it alone. Hope, in its beautiful, strange, unexpected and stalwart forms will be noted. Documented. Acknowledged. Appreciated.

I can’t wait to hear all the stories, perspectives, wisdom, and wit that is going to ooze straight out of these posts like that energy goop straight out of its space-age pouch. Hold on to your freaking hats, people. It’s going to be great.

Keep an eye on this post and the blogs listed at the bottom for more hope-filled goodness. And if you want to join in—do it! You can snag the little graphic if you want, too! Go to town, spread some hope, and have an awesome freaking day. In a couple of weeks I’ll post the “closing ceremonies” (more nerdery, I know), highlighting bits and pieces of all the HOPE 2012 posts that I can find.

So. Excited.

Without further ado, here’s my contribution to HOPE 2012

So, of course, predictably, after I came up with this snazzy idea for a hope relay and talked a bunch of people into it, my mind snapped its vicious little jaws on any shred of enthusiasm and inspiration it found laying around. “Oh, look!” it said, “there’s some hope…” *squeeeeesh* “That’s better. Continue.” And as charming as that is, it’s not entirely helpful. So, after a lot of anxiety-producing brainstorming, I’ve come up with the thought that makes me most hopeful for my future. Here it is:

It’s okay to fail.

It’s A-O-K to suck. To be wrong. To have everyone in a 5 mile radius turn to you in one accord and say, “…boo.” It’s totally and completely fine.

Now, for those of you out there that didn’t come out of your childhood with an angry but witty inner voice latched on to you like a rabid monkey, this might sound like common sense. But for some—myself included—this is a radical thought. This is revolutionary. This is sacrilege.

See, the anal-retentive perfectionist soul requires a daily sacrifice of self-worth. If you’ve done something good, something decent, something okay, the perfectionist soul requires that you bundle it up and set it aflame as penance for the fact that someone, somewhere, is better than you. That’s the requirement when you’re doing well. Imagine the price to pay if you’re wrong, or last, or embarrassingly terrible; it’s high and swiftly collected.

I think the real driving force behind my fear of failure is a fear of rejection. I read an article over at Lifehacker recently that talked about how rejection has a powerful effect on us, even resulting in something that, to the brain, is almost like physical pain. No wonder we fear it. But, as the article suggests, the solution isn’t avoidance, it’s embrace. It’s building up immunity. Building up resistance. Taking away the power of the pain. (They suggest playing a game in which you aim to get rejected once a day, which I think is hilarious. Maybe I’ll do that once I stop feeling like a scaredy cat.)

And here’s the thing that I keep thinking about: so I do something really sucky and stupid and everyone looks at me like I’m a Klingon for a second; then what? Who cares? Is anyone going to stab me in the gut with a javelin? Is the government going to repossess all of my belongings for writing a bad blog post, or getting a script rejected a thousand times, or forgetting important birthdays? No. And I think the simple reason behind it is that no one cares as much about what I’m doing as I do. In my mind, the process of me failing starts with people saying, “She’s terrible,” and ends with them saying, “let’s murder her in the alley.” When in reality, it’s more like, “She’s terrible. Ooohh…nachos!”

And just like that, me and my failure are forgotten by the light of neon yellow, cheese-flavored goo. No big deal.

The idea that it’s okay to be wrong gives me hope for a day when I don’t feel the need to dash myself on the rocks of self-hatred. Maybe I can just do things I like—things that inspire me—and not be fettered by the fact that I’m not the best. And—not to always talk about my kid, but those little buggers sure do make you think twice—maybe my daughter won’t absorb my crippling dysfunction and she’ll actually feel kinda okay about herself. She’ll try, and fail, and try, and fail, and get some freakin’ nachos.

And here’s the real amazing, frighteningly hopeful thought: what would I do with myself if I wasn’t so freaking scared all the time? What would I try? What would I embrace? What would I learn? Who would I meet? So many roads in my life are off limits, guarded by a big, smelly, hairy fear ogre. If the ogre’s gone, it’d be an entirely different voyage.

So that’s what I say. There is hope. Push that ugly fear ogre out of your way and go fail your pants off. Let’s do it together.

(Let’s do failing together, not “doing it” together. Ugh. That’s a terrible ending. *shrug* Who cares?)

Passing the Baton

Ready for more hope? Keep your eye out for these folks:

Jerrod at Never Had One Lesson

Cancer never looked more evil than it did last Saturday when it covered an 8-year-old.

As I watched him, all I could think about was the opposite of hope. Despair was the only thing my mind was concerned with. The typical “how could this happen” and “but he’s just a kid” thoughts were all I could think about. Then it hit me. [Read the full post]

Amy at Reams Photo

…Let everything happen to you: beauty and dread… [Click here for Amy’s post featuring hope expressed through photography and a perfectly fitting poem from Rainer Maria Rilke.]

Denise at Victory Road

Matt at The Church-State Guy

…thinking of hope made me remember what initially made me passionate about the church/state relationship in the first place: I saw people who navigated it well, with grace, and candor, and integrity. That’s seriously hopeful stuff. [Read the full post]

Todd at ToddAndrewClayton.com

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense

From the second I started thinking about hope, my thoughts were clouded with this fearful cynicism; but after contemplating the subject over these last few days, I see that my fears are merely the flip-side of my hopes; that one almost can’t exist without the other. [Read the full post]

Jenn and Casey at So This Is Love

She is little.

Too little to know what she knows of the world.

The neglect of her parents. The failure of a system that is supposed to protect her.

Bruises that have healed from her skin, but remain in her heart.

She folds herself into a chair, pulling her knees close to her. Protection. Defense. Knobby-kneed line in the sand. [Read the full post]


105 thoughts on “Hope 2012: A Blog Relay

  1. Pingback: Addicted to Hope
  2. Thank you for doing this, Melanie. It’s such a brilliant idea!!! Here’s my contribution to the relay: Frog Swabbers – found at BlogicalReasoning.com.


  3. This was so much fun to be a part of, so inspiring. I’ve just come back from a four-day trip. I have lots of reading to do to catch up! So far I’ve read some great posts from some great bloggers. Thanks, Melanie!


  4. Man! I was just handed the baton tonight and this relay thing is supposed to end tomorrow!? I’m still going to participate, but I’m not going to have a post done by tomorrow… Anyway, this post (your part about failure) speaks to me so much! I feel like you might as well have titled it, “LAURA, it’s okay to fail. I’m writing this post FOR YOU, specifically for RIGHT NOW.” I could explain all the reasons why but that’s a blog post in and of itself. In fact, I might do that… Anyway, just thought you should know I think this is great. So much so that I will be linking to this on my blog. You can find it under “Worth a Read” in the bottom right. Thank you.


  5. Hi Melanie…Just read about your Hope Relay over on Mom In The Muddle…so I’m jumping on the Hope Train and posting a “hope post” tomorrow…just in time for the closing ceremonies. I’ll be linking back to you….wonderful idea. Yay for nachos!!


  6. very cool…popped over from the empress….there are so many possibilities when we shake off those shackles of fear, many we wont know til we do…and hope is a great thing to pass the baton on…good stuff


    1. Thanks for stopping by! HOPE 2012 is really turning out to be an amazing (if not wild and completely out-of-control) project. There are so many posts I’m struggling to keep up! But, hey, if there’s a topic that we could all benefit from talking ourselves blue in the face with, it’s hope. Good stuff, indeed.


  7. Melanie, what a wonderful idea!

    I love the word hope. It sings of positivity and light and love and a word I just want to hold on tight to.

    Would love to participate! So I just write a post, snag your snazzy graphic up there and? 🙂


  8. This is a very cool thing you started! Now we’ll need a website just to link up all the HOPE posts. Could be a very inspiring thing. LIke starting a whole new “Pay it Forward” movement…


  9. Melanie Crutchfield…I do love reading your blogs…It is like you are here and we are talking and drinking coffee and watching X-FIles;), like it was yesterday. I love you and your sense of humor and that you are always Melanie, but an even more amazing and beautiful Melanie with every blog I read and that makes me want to be a more amazing Trish! I’m in! Thank you for making my day…and being you! xo


  10. Holy hell, I think I love you.

    A new friend of mine passed along the Hope 2012 torch and I’m sitting down to contribute some words, but stopped by its beginning point first, and wow. Thanks for starting this amazingly wonderful idea (I’m doing my part to spread the word, as well), and for your contribution. It’s beautiful and made me laugh out loud (not so easy to do), but most of all it resonates deeply with me, as I’m sure it does for countless others. Now I’ve got to go come up with something thoughtful 🙂


    1. Anyone who starts a comment to a stranger with “holy hell, I think I love you” has GOT to be one of my favorite kinds of people—the slightly nutty ones. Thanks so much for reading. I’m looking forward to your turn with the hope baton!


  11. I understand exactly what you’re saying. It’s so hard not to worry people are judging. But they probably aren’t even thinking, “She’s terrible. Ooh nachos!” They’re probably just daydreaming about nachos while happening to look in your direction. I guess I’m so judgmental of myself that I believe everyone must be judging me too.


  12. How is it possible I’m just finding your blog right now? Thank you to Kristin Mae over at Abandoning Pretense for inviting me to participate in the Hope 2012 Blog Relay. If she hadn’t, I may not have found you at all! I’m loving your writing and can’t wait to read more. Am off to work on my Hope post contribution …


  13. Ok, so you know my blog? You know, the one that has, like, 4 posts total on it in its 3 or so years of existence? Well, Hope Blog Relay 2012 is kicking my virtual butt into gear. Stories of hope, a fun theme, and spending some time reflecting on what stories to share? Yes, please.

    Ps: Fabulous post. Loved everything about this. Holy crap, I love you.


  14. So glad for this challenge. I tend to write on the problems of religion and politics. So thinking of hope gets my wheel spinning in a new direction. Thanks, sis! Challenge accepted! Post coming on Monday or Tuesday at the latest.


  15. Did I ever tell you you’re my hero, and everything I would like to be? I think I did, once or twice. AND, I love your new ideas, coming all the time. I can’t wait to read all the other blogs, and I’m even more excited for those closing ceremonies…


  16. You are my hope…..you,my daughter, my son, your brother, your cousins. That the up coming generations understand what has took me 50+ years to understand (and still working on it) “it’s not all about me”…who would have thought it! Relationships with each other is what we are created for. Thanks you putting yourself out there. Love Auntie G


  17. I love everything about this post. I think one of the toughest challenges in writing is the perfect combination of touching and funny, and you nailed it! I have to share this one on Twitter, then I think I’ll get some nachos.


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