Column: A Message of Hope After a Crisis


Jo Bruno

#CupOfJoBruno, Peer Support Columnist

By Jo Bruno, Staff Writer

My Cup of Jo brand, established 2008, is a bitter-sweet blend of trauma-informed writing and self-care. It’s wrapped up in back-to-back crises and riddled in abuse. 

It’s a shadowy, chaotic whirlwind of unconditional love and forgiveness, too. It’s a little sugar, a pinch of salt and a deep appreciation of seasonal changes and life transitions. I am, indeed, a force to be reckoned with. Fierce. 

As of this month, October 2021, I have been housed for a year. Before, I was sleeping in my car for nearly two years, through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I am, unfortunately, one of those statistics fleeing domestic violence, which is why I became homeless. It was a choice, but none of those things identify who I am. 

In the eyes of my God, I am valuable. I am a blessing. I am pure love. In the hearts of my friends and loved ones, I am precious and gifted. I am essential in the growth of my tribe. In the minds of those who don’t know me, I could be several other things: difficult, stubborn, resilient, intimidating. 

But again, none of those things, even all the good things, really describe or explain who I am as a 41-year-old woman who has seen a lifetime of darkness. I’ve been the light, the passion, and the driving force to making my life a genuine joy. I found that in writing. I found joy in meditation.

This joy hasn’t happened over night, either. I did some horrible things that I have come to love about myself. The forgiveness that has settled in my heart has blanketed all the other things that showered me in darkness. 

I share this rawness with you to ultimately share the truth with you. You are precious, too. You have purpose, too. Your shadows, your grief, your sorrow and hardships are all valid. I see you. Those tears you have allowed to drop from your eyes, screaming into your pillow. Have you thrown something in anger? Have you said something that you didn’t mean out of anxiety or fear? I used to self-harm. I’m a suicide survivor, twice over. 

Have you experienced depression? Seen the darkest of caverns, hidden within your journey of life? Yeah, I have too. Was there also a time, however, when you felt the utmost joy after all of that –or maybe even during it? Did you find hope, too? 

Maybe even amid the darkness, you saw light. You were the light, maybe. Have you been the support for someone who was swallowed in their own crisis? Ever help a friend who was devastated by something in their lives while you yourself was in crisis? Ever truly heal that damaged wing after it was ripped off by betrayal of a loved one? Yeah, me too.

The COVID shutdown and isolation has raised awareness of depression for many of us. 

However, many of us already had depression and suffered from isolation before COVID. Trauma is a real thing to process through; and it takes time. 

So, this #CupOfJoBruno is brought to you with the validation that you are not alone. Even if you have never experienced darkness or sorrow in your life prior to COVID, you are not alone. Even if this is the first time you’ve ever experienced isolation. 

You, my virtual friend, are not alone! You have purpose. 

With all the chaos that is swirling around us, I wanted to remind you, the reader, that you can have hope after a crisis. Whatever it is you’ve experienced and learned through this COVID shutdown is essential to the joyful future we can share together. 

There’s a message of hope somewhere within that chaos. Please find it. Hold onto it. Love it. Expand on it. Create life from it. 

Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. Hang in there. Don’t ever give up. And, remember, you are love.