I’ve always thought of myself as more of a realist than a pessimist, though if you ask my mom she’ll have a much different answer than me. She’ll tell you I’ve been negative my whole life; always waiting for the worst case scenario to happen and preparing for the worst, expecting the worst in people before I’ve given them a true chance, disliking most things that most people like, and also most people.
And all of that is totally true. I’m still that way to this day. I’ve been on my own spiritual journey for a few weeks now and I’ve learned that I’m not going to be able to just change those parts of myself. They are what I am. And to be honest, I like those parts about me. Those parts don’t let anyone get too close unneccessarily, whether in my life or in my physical bubble of space. Those parts give me the guts to speak up when something is wrong or to defend myself the way I need to. Those parts are the fighting parts of me, the ones that propel me forward and force me to love harder and deeper and therefore fight harder.
I would get upset when my mom called me pessimistic, even though I knew it was true. Now that I’m older I understand that it is because I could never explain the but’s or the why’s of my negativity and it was frustrating. Back then, I only saw that I wasn’t happy and optimistic like I was “supposed” to be and that was wrong. I was bad because I couldn’t force myself to see the world through bright beams of sunshine.
And what’s worse is that I am a dreamer. I am the worst kind of dreamer. I dream big and bold and my dreams sit in a place in my heart where they ferment and I ache to pull them all out at once and admire them, ache to change my life in the hundreds of ways I have stored in my mind. I am forever haunted by hundreds of foreign places and songs and people, haunted by the beautiful places that exist outside of myself because I will never visit them all. I will never see everything that I want to see, meet every person I want to meet, become every woman I’ve wanted to be, and it is torture.
Not only that, but I am fiercely loyal and passionate, about certain things, almost to a fault. I am the worst kind of lover. I love hard and soft, like an anchor settling into a bed of sand. I have no expectations, I love with an open mind and an open heart, and it has backfired before. I am more careful with my love but my loyalty has never been swayed. I know where I belong and with who I belong, and that is what I live and fight for. I love for forever, and once you have my love, it is incredibly hard to let go of, for the both of us.
Yes, I am often cynical. Someone has to be around here. For the most part, we suck as humans and nobody wants to admit that out loud, but I will. We suck. I also know that there are moments when we don’t suck so much and that is usually when the best parts of humanity can be seen. I’d say I’ve found a pretty decent balance between my cynicism and my ability to hope.
I am lighting candles, whispering blessings, kneeling in prayer in a room filled with blossoms. I am walking a rocky coastline with jagged edges all around and the crush of the ocean below me, completely at peace. I am cooking dinner in a wide open kitchen with every door and window open, and I can hear the crash of the ocean in the breaks between my children’s conversations as they are fed, while my husband and I smile silently, knowingly at each other. I am on stage with my fingers wrapped around the neck of my guitar, singing about love and the loss of it. I am floating through emerald green valleys, the music of a creek nearby. I am dancing alone on a stone terrace to something slow and sad, twirling in gauzy layers of skirts that open and close like the petals of a flower.
I can see it in my mind, can taste it with my soul as if I were there and not planted on my couch in the Midwest of America in my comfy clothes eating watermelon with my son. I am a cynical dreamer because I remember that most of these dreams are unlikely to come true and if I were to say that to someone like my mom, they would tell me that I am just thinking negatively. In reality, I am just being realistic. I will probably never go to India but I daydream about it all the time. I’d love to see China some day and think about it often but I also know that it’s pretty unlikely I’ll ever voluntarily take a trip there. (No offense, China. You’re beautiful but your population makes me feel claustrophobic.)
There are others like me. I’ve had the most interesting, satisfying conversations with them. Most that I’ve met are surprisingly close to my age. Maybe you acquire optimism as you grow older and I’m okay with that. I’ve certainly grown less negative over the years. Of course having babies makes you mushy, physically and within your personality. I think a large part of it is also just simply not giving a shit anymore. There is so much peace in not giving a shit and I wonder if that’s the secret that you’ve got to discover as you age. Some things just aren’t worth worrying yourself over and you’ve just got to choose what to give a shit about, similar to choosing your battles. Otherwise if you’re anything like me, you will give too much of a shit about everything and you will stress yourself into temper flares, crying jags, and sleeplessness nights and you’ll lose all of your shits and start binging on breakfast cereal.
And nobody needs to see that.