A Recovering Optimist

An optimist is somebody that goes, “Hey maybe something nice will happen.” 

Why the fuck would anything nice ever happen?

Louis C.K.


When I was a teenager, I was (a) angst-ridden, as many adolescents are and (b) a self-proclaimed optimist. Angst always attempted to undermine Optimist Wendy’s convictions.

One of the questions I struggled with was whether the source of my optimism mattered–whether it had any effect on the end results. Was it still optimism if it only came about because of force? Was it still optimism when it came from a disingenuous place?

At the time, I liked to believe that my optimism was that much more potent because it came from a place of conflict. Surely no one believes that good things will happen out of sheer luck and without an ounce of doubt. Choosing to believe in the best takes resolve. Resolve that I don’t quite have anymore.

It isn’t that I consider myself a pessimist. It’s too easy to be a pessimist–a cynic. Certainly not a perspective that’s ever seemed at all attractive to me. What good comes out of resigning yourself to gloom and despair? According to a friend, you end up either right or pleasantly surprised. But I have trouble accepting that. If you come from a negative thought process, can you truly appreciate when good comes around? I’d think that you’d spend your time wondering, “What’s the catch?”

Or even worse, “When is the other shoe going to fall?”

(Yes, apparently I’m convinced all pessimists think in clichés.)

Still, I’m hardly an optimist. It’s taxing–it’s exhausting to rationalize why certain things happening are actually blessings in disguise. In truth, to be an optimist you have to both believe that good things will happen, but also concurrently believe that things happen for a reason. And that, to me, just isn’t true. Sometimes things just happen and there’s no rhyme or reason for it.

Sometimes things go great and sometimes things just plain suck.

If forced to label myself, I suppose that the appropriate title for me would be realist. I don’t resign myself to a depressive future, but at the same time, I’m not convinced that everything will be rainbows and sunshine. Reality is what you make of it. All you can really do is trudge through the obstacles and celebrate your triumphs.

And yet…

A part of me still wants to be an optimist.



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