• Lara Flanagan

I live off Hope

Updated: Feb 28



We were at the Baseball on Friday night and a lovely man sitting next to me asked Strachan where she lived and she replied with her street name and explained that it was just off Hope.  I love that.  I am currently living off Hope.  Literally, figuratively and whatever other way you want to take it.


I have always been hopeful.   Even when I am dark and twisted there is this perverse sense of hope that pulls me through.  When I visited the States just under 2 years ago I really genuinely believe that that trip inspired me with so much hope it in some ways changed my life.  I was floundering with that old MS diagnosis and struggling somewhat with the lifestyle that my gut knew was the right thing to do, but my brain was struggling with.  I still had fucking arsehole specialists in my life who would literally rip away any hope I had the moment I slid out of that godawful MRI machine.   On the outside I was simply super but on the inside I knew something was just not right.  I was constantly and wildly ricocheting between being Pollyanna and dark and twisted Gollum.


I remembered how wonderful it was to travel.  I discovered food that blew my mind and it started me on a quest to find vegan food that was delicious, never left you feeling like you were missing out and actually made me feel a hell of a lot better than I ever had before.   The symbol of Rhode Island is an anchor with the word ‘hope’ below it.   I even went and got a tattoo of that very symbol on my hip.  My own little private constant reminder to be ever hopeful.  I wear an anchor around my neck as an additional reminder to never forget hope.


I never really could explain, to even myself, what the anchor means to me and why I would brand my body with it and put one around my neck.  I came across a biblical passage recently (Hebrew 6:19) which goes like this, “We have the hope which is like an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” and it was clarified with that one sentence.  Ironic really as I don’t believe in religion or churches.  Too much damage done in the name of both to a pretty fragile world.  But that sums me up.  My hope is like this constant anchor.  When you have that anchor you will always find a safe harbour somewhere.


Waxing completely lyrically tonight but I just love saying in my head over and over, “I live off Hope.”    Hope is something that drives me constantly.  I fight to remain hopeful at all times, despite my propensity to freak out, obsess and worry about almost everything.  I have this almost constant running dialogue in my head that sometimes makes me feel like fucking Sybil.   One side of my brain argues as to all the bad things that can happen and the other side retaliates with this irrational, perky hopefulness.  They are like two dogs fighting at each other constantly and I firmly believe the dog that wins is the one that I feed the most.  (I am sure there is an old Indian fable about good and bad wolves and the wolf that is the victor is the one you feed the most – I openly admit my little dog story was inspired by that fable. 


I am missing Kevin and Rosie at the moment, so dogs suited my ramblings.) I am eternally and annoyingly hopeful; because I am not going to feed the other nasty bastard dog.

I wake up in the morning and if I have pain in my legs and feet, I worry that I might be getting sick or a bad episode is just around the corner, so I walk every morning and search for something beautiful to start the day. (#startthedaywithsomethingbeautiful).  I board a plane and worry that we are going to crash and break up into a million tiny pieces after screaming and going through a really bad fucking five minutes.   So I board that plane, smile at my kids and divert my brain with finding a good movie to watch.  I worry that I will never be able to go travelling with my kids, so I book three round the world tickets and use every single cent I own and give myself 5 months to make it possible.


I worry about being brave in environments that are strange, or not having a routine to rely on, so I organise a year where I will be constantly in strange environments and that due to our movements I will rarely be able to establish a routine for more than a month.


I worry that my kids will be bored with just me and that we won’t cope with a strange environment where we don’t speak the language, so I decided to spend three months in a country I have never visited, when the only Spanish I know is what Dora and Diego taught me.  To top it off I book a beach shack in a tiny village when it will be just me and the kids and miles and miles of beach.   I worry that crocodiles might eat me.


I am not going to talk about the fucking crocodiles.


I worry all the time.  But more than my worry, I am filled with Hope.   Several people asked me if I was going to change the name of my blog when I started travelling.  The answer to that is no.  You see New England is not a place.  For me it is a state of mind.   I found my home in New England.  I bought a cottage with a lemon tree in New England.  I created a life for my two monsters all on my own in New England. I discovered an overwhelming love of the beautiful world that surrounds me in New England.  I was inspired in New England.  I learnt to dream again in New England.  I realised that my feet were itchy and I discovered I could scratch them in New England.   I rediscovered hope, like an anchor for my soul in New England.  Regardless of where I am, my notes will always be from New England.


We have had the most wonderful two week start of our adventure.  We have been spoiled by amazing friends, I have eaten sorbet for dinner almost every night because it is so bloody hot and that sorbet is so bloody good.  We have swum in Narragansett Bay, we have been to a Ball-game, I have realised how much bloody respect I have for teachers as the kids establish their little school routine and I maintain my work routine.  We have sweated and played basketball and done hand-stands.   At this stage I still feel like I am on the most amazing holiday and I shall return home next week.  But instead, next week we venture off on our lonesome to New York City.   I suspect the reality shall set in then, as the three of us are on our own again.


Of course I shall worry about random things like the crack cocaine addicted squirrels of Central Park and crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and it collapsing due to a fucking hairline fracture.  But I will continue to defeat my worries.


You see, I live off Hope.


#Hope #Journey #Motherhood #Travel

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