Before this year, I’d never have described myself as a pessimist. That doesn’t mean I suddenly became one this year—though if any year is going to turn you into a pessimist, 2020 will do the trick—but rather that I became aware of it. I look and look and look for the bright side because I don’t really believe it’s there, and if I do happen to find one, I keep looking until I can no longer really believe it’s a bright side at all.
This is not a good outlook. I don’t advise it. Nor do I advise being a pure optimist either—that comes with its own set of downsides.
Intentionally trying to dig up the truth of myself has exposed me to all kinds of things I didn’t expect to find, most of them uncomfortable; when you spend your whole life thinking you’re an optimist only to find that you’re in fact the opposite of that, it’s a shock! How can I not understand my own worldview? If anybody knows the way I feel about things, shouldn’t it be me?
Turns out, no. I don’t know much about myself at all, and the things I keep finding are weird and unexpected. But finding things out about myself isn’t the end of the work—more important is the idea that I can change those things. It’s hard, slow work. I feel like I’m making very little progress. But I keep coming back to a question my therapist asked me months ago: “What if that wasn’t a bad thing?”
But… it is a bad thing, I thought back then. (I still think this, more often than I don’t.) Well… what if it wasn’t? What if all the things I’ve always thought were true… aren’t? Something like that can turn your entire world on its head.
I’m still a pessimist. Maybe someday I won’t be. I don’t know! That’s the thing about challenging my static worldview—it’s comforting to think you know something, and now I’m not sure. There’s some freedom in that uncertainty.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.