Jenna Noelle Johns


I mean, I get it. But like, no. I don't.

Kids, teens, adolescents, lend me your ear: ew actually please don't. But do come in close. Whatever you believe now, whatever you want now, whoever you are now: This is a love letter to you from someone who has lived not much more life than you, and is only getting started, someone who is scared and restless, just like you. (It's me, Oprah.)

For every little freckle or metal contraption you have holding your teeth together, for every bad grade or failed class, for every boy or girl who tells you they just wanna be frienz, know this: You are it, baby. Keep going. What they say about your 20's is true as hell and I really didn't want it to be. I was so secure in my beliefs a few years ago, so sure of my path to success and what I wanted to do for a living, what I wanted the next 5 years of my life to look like, etc. etc. How do I feel now? Take all of my hopes and dreams from the days of yore (that I still have), add a few new ones, throw in a couple tickets to the baggage claim, pick up the baggage, put it all in a suitcase, put the suitcase in a blender, serve it in a coffee cup, and there you have my Monday morning breakfast/diary piece. My truth, my faith. To the people who have lived through these years without being overwhelmed/borderline hysterical: "Kudos, cheers, mazel tov, and I don't believe you."

Hope is only meant to be as raw as it can get. Sit it down, look it in the eye, and give it a hug. Every morning. Put it in your pocket and let it be there all day, even when doubt is sitting on your shoulders. Then go buck wild and kick doubt to the curb. Doubt and hope are like Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, they just don't work well together. 

This world is gnarly. GNARLY. Why would anyone choose to be hopeful and believe in anything when time and time again they're proven to be a fool? Or have never found an answer or cure to something they've been fighting for/with their whole life? Why would anyone ever believe in themselves, knowing they have failed or are going to fail at least once in their life?

Because THAT'S WHAT HOPE IS. SORRY TO YELL. But how do you go about having any hope? Especially after living 22 years of life? How about 30 years? Call me crazy but how about 80 years? Anyone have the answer? I'm actually asking. Like, blog over, please email me an answer.

I'm kidding (not really) -- here's what I know:

Hope is waking up in the morning and going to work when you know your dreams don't lie within the walls of the office, but it's (at the very least) one step forward. It's loving someone without knowing what kind of love you'll get back, if any. It's loving someone back knowing whole heartedly how capable they are of hurting you. It's doing something that gives vulnerability a bad name but you know just can't go another day without trying. It's fighting for someone, something, or some place you know can be better - not giving in to failure or fear. It's standing up and staring down statistics that have been screaming in your face since the day you were born, never letting them soak into your skin, not one drop.

A little over a year ago, on January 19, 2015, I met my hero. A 7 year old named Maddox, with more spunk and more hunger for life than anyone I've ever met. He was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis in 2013 - a condition that is found in thousands of kids in the US and around the world every day. Tumors form themselves onto the spinal cord, brain, nerves, and in Maddox's case - an inoperable brain tumor that grew to down his spine. There is currently no cure for NF, but today I found out that there are over 50 case studies to find one. That's 50 more than last year. This morning was the 2nd annual NF Fashion Show at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood. I went last year as the photographer, and this year got to sit in the audience and watch the kids give NYFW a run for their money. Not a dry eye in the house, people. Each kid, shy or not shy, was welcomed to the runway with an eruption of cheering and smiling supporters. Any shyness they felt at first was clearly swept away by the excitement of being on stage, in a cape, conquering the world with bravery. Hope was bursting at the seams of every heart in that room. The kind that isn't naive to the circumstances, but knows it's bigger and better than any sort of doubtful future NF can bring. Maddox and his family are a forced to be reckoned with, as are the thousands of families fighting alongside them for the same purpose. As daunting as finding a cure for anything can be, I'm forever impacted by the NF foundation, by Maddox, his family, and everyone else in that room today. Because they're hungry for it, they believe in hope, and baby, they're just getting started. There are links within this, so if you want to fight with us, for Maddox and for every human being impacted by NF, go to them. Because NF needs to (N)F-off.

Hope is the most necessary part of life, in my opinion. Hope makes us fall in love, it makes us move across the country to see a dream come true, it makes us brave, it changes statistics and conquers the counterpart of doubts. Hope isn't naiveté (and you're welcome for that punctuation) - hope, by definition, is "a feeling of trust." So, not to sound like Bieber, but, you should go and trust yourself. 

Cheers, Brothers & Sisters. Xoxo




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