w_8-10-2018_Heart-shaped_HopeBakkerIn the midst of the chaos of daily life intervening on projects, succeeding and failing on my New Year’s resolutions, and wondering where civilization is heading, I had a calming thought. This revelation has come before, but this time, I hope to give it the grace the it is due so that it stays in the forefront of life. That comforting thought –

I am blessed with powerful women in my life who mentor, support, nurture and love unconditionally.

These women have lived through economic challenges; experienced the loss of children, spouses, parents or other family members; battled with illnesses of friends, family and self with the strength of warriors; pushed through career blockades; and through it all have come out stronger, wiser and in many cases, done it with humor. This vitality and verve for life is unmatched. They, for me, have moved forward the conversations of learning, love, friendship and giving back so that I am able do likewise.

stake to the heart by Hope BakkerMy first thought then shifted to a ‘what about’ conversation. “But what about when there is a fight for a breakthrough and nothing seems to be moving? What then is one to do?” An inquiry into this began in earnest and an interesting conversation emerged. So, I humbly offer a narrative that I penned a bit ago that takes a gritty look at an experience of struggle.



Pinned to the wall gasping for air, I curse the Demon in front of me.

“Back for more I see. How nice of you to return.”

Heat, a flash of light – then darkness

“Wake up, Precious. We have just begun.”

I spit in the face of my tormentor.

“Come now. That’s no way to be.”

Again, the darkness – then quiet.

Am I dreaming? Am I dead?

“There you are, Precious. Awake, good. Now, where were we? Ah, yes.”

My mind races, but my body lies frozen. Only raspy air forms words –
“Let me go or finish me off, you bastard – stop fucking around.”

“Well, aren’t you sassy! I like that.”

My ears ring. My eyes blur.

What’s happening?

“What’s this?” I’m covered in it.

Oh, my god. “Ash!”

Dazed I reach for the hand in front of me. “Wait, who are you?”

“Doesn’t matter. I was just passing by. Get up.”


“Yeah, whatever. Get up and get on with it.”

What is there to do? Reach. As harsh and raw as the fight may be, whether your demons are physical, emotional or spiritual, or if you face an issue that seems to be insurmountable, do not be afraid to reach out, to live and to be who you are. Be brave. Take the hand stretched out to you. It is a gift to assist you on your way.

If you are just passing by and see someone in need, be the person to reach out. Be the one who makes the difference as together we lift each other up. It may be just a moment for you but for the one who took your hand, it makes all the difference in the world.

Hand in hand with a roseAnd so, to the role models in my life, the women who are a force of nature unto themselves, who have guided and molded me into who I am today, I say thank you. Thank you for being an inspiration, sharing your wisdom, and for being the ones who are willing to reach out not only myself, but those around you. You have made the world a better place by doing so.

With gratitude,


Special thanks to Melissa Salas for always lifting me up and to Dr. Holly Norton for her guidance in the editorial process of the poem, Reach.

Poem, graphic, & heart photo by Hope Bakker
Rose in Hands photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash