Hope Floats: Confessions of an Unapologetic Hopeless Romantic
February 14, 2012
When one of my besties surveyed the DVD collection in my living room, she shook her head and proclaimed, “Sheryl, forever the hopeless romantic.” When my brother came to the same conclusion during a recent conversation, I wanted to hang my head in shame.
Their words did not shock me. I have known this about myself for a long time. It is one of many things that I would love to change. After all, hopeless romantics are seen as naïve dreamers who are in love with the idea of being in love. Sounds like a recipe for heartbreak.
However, since it is Valentine’s Day—the only sanctioned day of unabashed romanticism—I think I should embrace my hopeless romantic tendencies. In order to do so, I had to give some thought to hopeless romanticism. Lucky for me, I found a redeeming quality or two.
The term hopeless romantic is peculiar. I could not find a definitive meaning, but the descriptions that turned up in my online search depict someone whose expectations for love are so unrealistic that there is no real hope of them ever attaining it. However, while naysayers may view the hopeless romantic as someone for whom there is no hope, the phrase sounds like an oxymoron when you consider that hopeless romantics typically have an undying hope for love.
How can someone proclaim there is no hope for another person who has determined to live with hope? Hope is a personal decision, a resolve to believe in spite of circumstance. It is the foundation of improvement and growth. And most importantly, it floats.
Even we hopeless romantics know that serious waves can crash in the sea of love. The most solid relationships with seasoned swimmers have been taken under by rough waters. However, when your love boat has capsized, when you lack life vests, when hurt, anger, and pride are so heavy that you can’t seem to keep your head above water, hope floats. When you’re sinking and have nothing and no one to hold onto, it’s nice to know there’s something within you that will fight to make its way to the surface.
When a person is conditioned to hope, they hope at all costs. When you’re a hopeless romantic, you can’t help but hope. It’s just a part of who you are. Things may happen to make you lose hope momentarily, but the faintest beam of light in the distance will resurrect it. It may not resurrect your hope for perfection or for a specific person or for a particular romantic fantasy; but it resurrects your hope for love. You’ll likely come to realize that love does not resemble the idea you’ve concocted in your mind, but you will hold out hope that yours will come as close as possible. No matter what, you’ll still believe in love as a force and saving grace.
I understand that it is possible for someone to believe in love in a less extreme manner than I do. That works. In fact, because of the following quote from a 2011 episode of Modern Family, I don’t feel a need to try to convert everyone to hopeless romanticism.
“There are dreamers, and there are realists in this world. You’d think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not, the opposite is true.
You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun.
And the realists? Well, without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground.”
All you realists who shake your head at hopeless romantics, you know you love us 🙂 In fact, you keep calling for pep talks when you lose hope. Face it. We need one another because we balance each other out. Therefore, to quote the lyrics of a woman whose musical resume’ undoubtedly influenced my hopeless romanticism, “I believe in you and me.”
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.