When all else was lost, I still had hope. Throughout my life there have been short peaks and deep valleys. Prison was the darkest valley in my life, and yet, I had hope. There was hope I could overcome the label and live a normal life. There was hope my ex-wife would find peace in her heart and there was hope someday we'd reconcile. There was hope for something better.
In my previous article, I likened Brandi to my relationship with society. Today solidified that. Love so easily turns to hate.Life as a sex offender can be that way. In April 2005, life was as good as I could make it under the circumstances. I was dating a beautiful young lady, I had a job and money in the bank, and my own place. It was just over a year removed from being homeless. I was "beating the odds." I may not have been making a six figure income and driving a Jag, but I was happy. It all changed the day I received the notice the state of Ohio was changing my classification. It was followed by notice my approved sleeping room was too close to a school and I had to move. My girlfriend left me fearing my status change. Though I fought so hard, I lost all I worked to achieve.
I was homeless again, though only temporary, as I had found a new apartment and would wait two months for the apartment to finish renovations. I was starting over again, but I had hope that I would rebuild. It was that time, in 2006, that my dream to reconcile with Brandi was fulfilled. That glimmer of hope was just that -- a glimmer. In early 2007, we broke up. I turned my anguish and despair into my book "Once Fallen." I thrust my frustrations into my activism.
In 2008 Brandi and I reconciled a third time, and recently, we broke up a third time. I cataloged my despair on this blog; I questioned whether I have ever accomplished anything in the past decade. It is hard to see someone I loved more than life itself sees me as an enemy. In the blink of an eyes, the love turned to hate. The one who had been there in my darkest hours of life has abandoned me and created a new darkest hour in my life. I've lost it all over again.
When I had nothing, I had hope. Hope is a hard thing to maintain in times of darkness. There was plenty of darkness and despair this week. It is hard to accept the contempt of someone I loved so deeply but I have no choice. I struggled to search for hope. It is not easy to find it alone, or even with new friends. Without hope, however, what else is there?
I know this storm will pass, like the storms I faced in the past. If I have nothing else, I have hope. I had nothing in prison but hope. Each starting over is a chance for something new.
I'm starting over again, as before. This time, hope is not coming easy. It has become harder to grasp each time. I must have hope, because without it, I have nothing.