I know I’ve mentioned on here several times about how I’ve long battled with depression. That crippling feeling that the world is ready to cave in on you with all the woes imaginable (when, in fact, you’re really just spiraling because your brain won’t let go of some simple item and has now made it into a much bigger deal, involving much worse repercussions) can be quite difficult.
Yet, as also mentioned on this blog in the past, I’m somewhat of an optimist, always looking to see how a specific situation could turn out for the absolute best.
It’s an odd balance that’s struck within my head, one that, I believe, actually can work out quite poorly in the situation that something goes wrong (since the optimist side of me makes the expectations that much higher). If someone looked inside my head, I’m certain they would be convinced I’m somewhat bi-polar. But then again, aren’t we all, to some degree?
Anyways, I constantly fight the urge to kick the optimist side of myself to the curb. That brooding, angry, grumpy voice gnaws at the back on my mind reminding me how many times the optimist has been wrong in the past, and how often that’s caused a severe disappointment, and why don’t we just go full-cynical and get it over with already.
But the problem is, I like the optimist side of me. I’m quite fond of the part of me that looks at a coming situation and says, quite brightly, I may add, that this could be the best thing that has ever happened.
In fact, I like it so much, that when I see dark times coming, times in which I spiral uncontrollably due to whatever impetus has caused the spiral again, I find myself tentatively clinging to this positive nature, a giant smile that grabs on to my face, staying in place to hide my absolute fear that the end times must be coming.
I often like to blame this need to force a smile on my face on my WASP upbringing. I don’t actually believe that to be the case, but it’s kind of fun to talk about, since there’s so much in the White American’s culture that directs us to hide all emotion. The truth is, I hate giving in to that dark side of myself, the side that wants to blame everything for everything and be angry at the world because of whatever reason I feel I have the right to be angry at the world for.
A number of years ago I met a man. I believe his name was Tom, but honestly, I’ve long forgotten it. He was, quite simply, the smiliest man I’ve ever met. He was a customer at the place I worked, so our conversations were always fairly brief, but he’d manage to stick little pieces about his life in there. These weren’t just little things like, “well, my grass is browning because there hasn’t been any rain.” No, they were things like, “my mom died on this day five years ago” (not an actual quote, I honestly don’t remember specifics anymore).
But although there would be emotion showing through, discussions about how these things may have changed him in some way, or whatever…he still had that gigantic smile plastered on his face. And this weren’t no WASP camera smile, no, this was an honest to goodness smile of the most utmost genuine nature you’ll ever see. He was happy about life, even when it threw him a few lemons.
I saw him a few years later working a booth at a fair for a local Optimist’s Club (something I didn’t know existed until that very moment).
I wish I could be that man. A man who can own his emotions. He doesn’t hide them, but uses them to push him forward. He always had something going on, although I’m not certain it was ever all that successful. And he was always excited about what the future held.
This is the face I see when I think about the optimist side of myself. This almost Disney-fied character that bounces through life while the trees and flowers sing and dance around him. Everything looks bright, especially the future.
Then this other side of me… this goth-teenager brooding emo lamewad who likes to wear heavy dosages of eye makeup in a way to show the world that he’s deep… It’s exhausting.
Obviously no person can truly be just a one sided character like these two options above (except for Tom who honest to goodness does exist). We have to balance between the two, until we finally reach that moment in our superhero film where we split into two halves and have to fight the bad side of ourselves in an epic battle for good. Or something like that.
Anyways, speaking of superheroes, I finished THE RISE OF THE FAT MOGUL yesterday, and it is officially the longest first draft I’ve written to date. I’m pretty darn stoked about it and, although I’m ready to take some time away from the world of Buddy Hero to work on THE AGORA FILES, can’t wait to clean it up and start handing some copies out. My children and I celebrated with a dinner of cheeseburger macaroni and green beans. (my wife was at class and I forgot to prep dinner early=my excuse for such a horrible dinner).
Have fun out there!