Habit of Hope

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and short-coming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. . . .”
– Theodore Roosevelt

I first want to start off by saying if you have yet to read “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, now is the perfect time! She even has a Netflix special called “Brene Brown: The Call to Courage” I HIGHLY recommend spending your quarantine diving into her content!
In her book Daring Greatly, she discusses in depth, the above Theodore Roosevelt quote about vulnerability. She talks about vulnerability in respect to being a CEO, a parent, and just your every day leader like you and I. I have recently finished Daring Greatly and ironically as I was finishing the book I was planning on starting this blog post about hope. During the last chapter of her book she briefly discusses hope…

“According to R.C. Snyder, hope isn’t an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process made up of a trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency. Hope happens when:
– We have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go).
– We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again).
– We believe in ourselves (I can do this!).

Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities.”

“Daring Greatly” Page #239-240

In order to have hope, we have to 1. define hope, which I did for you in the latest blog post. And 2. we have to take action. We have to know what we need to do to create and instill hope in not only ourselves but hope in our current world as well.
As Snyder says, we need to set goals. Right now you need to be setting goals for yourself. We are all in a position of staying home to protect ourselves and our world, so here are some goals you can think about setting during this time to create hope.

  • Create a routine for your stay at home lifestyle
  • Decide you are going to read every day, exercise everyday, hold a plank 30 seconds longer each day- something that can create a habit
  • CREATE A HABIT! It takes 30 days to create a habit, you have 30 free days without obligations to start focusing on the next habit you want to work towards
  • Set a goal to commit to working on your dream for a certain amount of time a day
  • Set a goal to commit to working on relaxing your mind for a certain amount of time a day
  • Creating structure. By allowing healthy habits to form we are creating hope that the future will be brighter than the past

Snyder states that in order to instill hope we must figure out how to achieve these goals:

  • Again, developing a habit takes 30 days, 30 days that suddenly we ALL have available to us- the how should not be an excuse when time is FOR us at the moment
  • I believe writing out your schedule, dreams, gratitude, or even your to do list is the best way to stay on track with how you will achieve your above goals! Write everything down. I am a sticky note addict and cover my walls in anything that will develop a mindset of hope
  • PERSISTENCE, Snyder mentions this, but I think now more than ever we need to stay persistent with our routines and our goals. Given the scenario of being quarantined it is easy to choose sleep, food, or relaxation instead of pushing towards the future. While some of those things are needed, we need to be aware that we have to continue to push ourselves forward so that when life gets back to ‘normal’ we are better humans than we were before, that is how we grow- even in times of struggle

Last, but definitely not least, Snyder says we must believe in ourselves.

  • Affirmations, use sticky notes! Every night before I go to bed I write down an affirmation on a sticky note and stick it to my wall. 1- cheap wall paper and 2- It is a constant reminder as to why I am great, awesome, super human, and also a bomb dancer
  • Consume media that makes you believe in yourself. Guess what? YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA! Only consume those who lift you up. This is a great time to unfollow, block, or just mute those who do not make you feel like your best self. I highly recommend taking a moment to scroll through your feed and get rid of anyone who makes you feel less than
  • Spend some time with your thoughts. Quite your mind and see what genius or not so genius thoughts your brain comes up with and then evaluate them. Do they serve you? If not, then how can you rephrase the thought to something that does serve you? Decide to take the time to figure out how you can believe in yourself MORE

When I think of hope from a personal stand point, I think of all the things I’ve accomplished and all the moments of gratitude in my life.
I feel hopeful for our world when I remember all who survived the Route 91 mass shooting.
I feel hopeful for our world when I remember my 18 year old brother making the decision to go be with Jesus because he knew he WOULD be healed in Heaven.
I feel hopeful when I think about the hard work I put in for races that ended in a medal and times beat.
I feel hopeful when I think about how I finished college after going through my brothers cancer diagnosis, his death, and a mass shooting.
I feel hopeful when I think about moving across country, away from my family, to find out who I was really meant to be and to heal from trauma that would otherwise be buried.
I find hope in the courage it took to walk away from relationships, friendships, and people I loved so I could be a better version of me.

What can you find hope in? I know there have been times in your life where you have had to persevere, where you only had hope to hang on too. And I know you got through those times- so what can you do to get through these times? What hope can you harness within you to get you through this next phase of life?

Maybe, it’s just simply showing up. Every single day. Showing up for those around you- whether in person or on social media. Whether phone calls or grocery stores. Maybe if we all just showed up for our Country, our World, and our People, we could conquer this. We could come out on the other-side a more compassionate world ready to dare greatly.

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” – Brene Brown

Survivor

“If your path is more difficult it’s because your calling is higher.” – @edmylett

It’s no secret that most wise people have the most traumatic pasts. They have fought long battles and probably lost most of them. They are also the most interesting people you will meet because they have gone through hardships.

But those people are also the ones fighting the hardest to live out each and every day. They are the ones escaping the wrath of suicide, depression, anxiety, negative thinking, and everything else that comes with trauma.

Lately I’ve been escaping those demons, barely getting away from the hands of my past. It’s easy to slip back into sadness, and unfortunately more difficult to choose happiness. I think it is because we long to be where we were before the trauma happened, before the loved ones died, we want to reverse time. I try every day to not live in the past, to consume my present and try to be the best version of me- I hear people say that “you can’t grow by living in the past” – but sometimes the past is just too hard to leave behind.

Post traumatic stress disorder is interesting, and for me, I find it is the hardest mental illness to overcome. Sometimes I find myself in the daze of a flashback and usually I do not want to return to my reality, I want to stay in the flashback where I know what is going to happen next. See, if I am having a flashback of me at the Route 91 concert, I know the next scene includes raining bullets. But if I go back to the present- its unpredictable, my mind is unsure of what is going to happen next.
Flashbacks make me comfortable, I’m in control- because it’s a scene of the story that has already happened.

Lately, I have been scared of my present and my future.
I have been obsessed with control.
And the only thing my brain believes to be in control over is the past.
So I’ve decided to write a letter from past Kassidy to present Kassidy.
I hope if you’ve been through something traumatic it resonates with you.

Dear 2019 Kassidy,

You’re missing out. Life is flying by and you’re sitting in a hospital room that is no longer yours to be in, walking halls that no longer exist.
You’re running from bullets that have already landed.
You couldn’t control the bullets, the cancer, or the pain- so what makes you think you will be able to control today? tomorrow? or next week?
You’re trying to put together a puzzle with pieces that don’t yet exist.
You’re losing your life all while trying to control it.
As you know, tomorrow is not in your hands.
You are not in the drivers seat.

So why don’t you sit back? Why don’t you do only what you can do in this day? Why don’t you rest, relax, and realize that you do not need to control what happens next, control is not the role God gave you on this earth.
I know you’re trying, I know you’re doing your best.
But remember that you don’t always have to be the best, you can just do your best.
Doing your best looks a lot different than being your best.
Just do what you can with what has been given to you today, not what was given to you 4 years ago, and definitely not what you think will be given to you 10 years from now.
Today is your only obstacle, what will you do with it?
You will survive.

You’ve got this.

Love,

Kassidy from 2013

I’d like to say writing this letter solves my PTSD. I’d like to say it cures it, helps me live in the moment that is today. But the illness doesn’t work like that- I have to remind myself of this letter every day. I have to choose now, 2019, over 2013, or 2017, or 2020. I have to decide to put my effort into today- and that’s harder than you think.

This post is dedicated to all who suffer from PTSD- from soldiers, to mothers, to fathers, to siblings, to you who’ve been through the worst of the worst.
You are not alone, your feelings are real, your flashbacks may haunt you but it’s only because you are called for a higher purpose.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

I’ve been avoiding talking about this month because although I used to bring awareness to childhood cancer like it was my second religion, moving and finding my own space in the world has allowed me to distance myself from the advocate side of childhood cancer.
It is not that I do not want to be an advocate for the children fighting this horrific disease, because I am an advocate each and every day. What you have to understand is that sometimes, well actually ALL the time, advocating for the cause that KILLED your brother, is difficult. It hurts. It brings out my post traumatic stress disorder more than any other month.

The honest truth is I don’t want to spend my days focusing on the disease that killed my brother.
But I do want a cure so that no one has to go through what I’ve been through.
It’s a little bit of a give and take situation- I want to give support, but not have it take all my energy as I remember that my brother is dead.

So maybe it’s selfish? But honestly, grief is selfish. I am focusing on MY feelings about losing Cooper, how I view Cooper since he is gone, and what I have lost.

The thing is, childhood cancer still scares me. You would think after losing my brother to the disease I would be able to distance myself. But actually childhood cancer is in the back of my mind constantly. When I am with the babies I watch, the numbers of kids diagnosed each day runs through my head. When I think about my future, having children, the “what if’s” of childhood cancer come creeping up.
And I know your solution as you’re reading this- “Well Kassidy, you can’t live in fear” – You’re right, but you’ve also probably never seen a pediatric unit on Christmas morning, a child get poked with a needle larger than your hand, or watch that same child die.

Grief is hard.


September is hard- because it reminds me of the almost 4 years of absolute HELL that my family and I lived through. The funny thing is I cry more tears wishing he was still in the hospital, rather than crying tears cause he’s dead. My selfish heart wants him here, but my realistic brain knows he would not be the Cooper he was before he was sick.

So, instead of being an advocate for the children currently fighting childhood cancer, the children that are about to receive that diagnosis, or the children who are about to die from childhood cancer.
I wish to be an advocate for all of you who are not going to be affected by childhood cancer, who are not going to hear the words “Your son has Leukemia” or “Your daughter has a Glioblastoma brain tumor.”
I wish to be an advocate for all the people who will not hear those words because I want to remind you of the things that you are privileged to do with your children, siblings, mothers, and fathers each day that we who are grieving the loss of someone we love, cannot do.

You don’t have to say ‘I love you’, but you get too.
You don’t have to give your child a hug, but you get too.
You don’t have to put your phone down to listen to your babies stories, but you get too.
You don’t have to tickle your little one’s back, but you get too.
You don’t have to take them to all the sports and dance classes they want to go too, but you get too.
You don’t have to spend time taking them to the park or on vacation, but you get too.
You don’t have to kiss them goodnight even when they made you crazy that night, but you get too.
You don’t have to feel blessed by your healthy family every day, but you get too.

You see where I am going with this.
Every thing is a choice- you don’t have to do anything in this world, you GET to do every thing in this world.
Including loving your people.

Friends, Love them well because tomorrow is not promised.
As today ends Childhood Cancer Awareness Month- tomorrow marks the 2nd anniversary of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting, where my sister and I ran for our lives.
I cannot imagine what tomorrow would look like if my parents went from losing one child, to three children in the matter of seconds.
I know for a fact my brother spared our lives, I know he was there holding Julia and I as we ran.

Grief is hard.

It comes in many forms, alive or dead.
So today, tomorrow, and always- love your people well because today you GET too.
Tomorrow you might not.