Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Always look on the bright side of life

  • If you are reading this post on a site other than Major Bedhead or with Bitacle.org in the address, you are reading scraped and stolen content and you should knock it off immediately. It's stolen and it's WRONG.

  • Fuck off, Bitacle

Inspired by a post over on Bub and Pie, but going off on a tangent, as is my wont.

TCBIM is what I consider a cock-eyed optimist. He never, ever, ever thinks that anything bad will happen. He refuses to even consider the thought. He always looks on the bright side. I find this unbelievably annoying.

I get called a pessimist, although I think I'm more of a realist. I always prepare for the worst possible scenario - I expect the present not to appear, the vacation to be a failure, the car to break down at the most inopportune time. That way, when those things happen, I'm not surprised. If the opposite occurs and everything goes swimmingly, I'm as pleased as Punch.

TCBIM tells me that it makes for a depressing situation, that because I constantly expect things to go wrong, I can't enjoy myself. I think I enjoy things - probably not with the headlong enthusiasm of a child, but I do enjoy them. He thinks I spend all my time worrying. He's not totally wrong there - I do worry a lot. It's not paralyzing worry, but I envision bad things happening on a regular basis. Things rarely go as awfully as I can picture in my head - and believe me, I can picture some total doozies. Doozies that would probably get me locked into a little padded room if I actually spoke them aloud.

I think years of being disappointed have done their work on me. The first one that stands out in my mind involves a dress. It was at Sears and I wanted it in the worst way. It was light blue dotted swiss, very Little House On The Prairie meets Little Women. I lusted after this dress. I dreamed about it. I begged my mother for it. I dragged her thru Sears just so I could go pat it. I even asked Santa for it for Christmas that year. Lo and behold, under the tree on Christmas morning was a long, dress-sized box. I ripped it open frantically and there, in the box, was a dress pattern and some fabric. Not the same fabric, not the same dress pattern. I vividly remember the disappointment crashing over me. I had to leave the room and go have a cry in the bathroom.

I knew, even then, that my parents didn't have the money to buy me that dress. It was around $50 - $60 and this was back in 1974 or so. I thought, though, that if I only asked for that and nothing else, they'd get it for me. I'd crossed my fingers and wished on stars and hoped and hoped so much and to see that box under the tree - well, I was just giddy at the thought of it. Even today, I can still feel a bit of the sadness I felt back then.

So many other disappointments have followed (my father leaving, my college experience, my first marriage), that I learned, eventually, not to expect anything. To wall off my heart and feelings towards high expectations and to accept that, most of the time, things will be fine, but they sure won't be the fantastic-ness I wanted them to be.

Now I don't anticipate anything. I don't look forward, I just try to enjoy the day, the moment I'm in. I don't wait for the next good thing to happen. TCBIM does. He constantly talks about when the girls are older, when we have more money, when, when, when. He doesn't really seem to appreciate the now, he's always too busy waiting for The Next Big Thing. I don't know what's worse: Expecting the worst, but enjoying the now or expecting the best, but only in the future.

He also has a very annoying tendency to tell me to cheer up or to stop thinking like that. Sometimes I wonder if he really knows me. I mean, we've been together almost 7 years - you'd think he'd GET it by now - I'm not a glass half full person. I'm just happy there's a glass.


Minnesota Nice said...

I could feel the sadness just reading about the box............
I have what I call "happiness anxiety". If I don't allow myself to be happy, then there's no risk that I'll tumble a long way down when the next thing snags up the gears. It's safer for me to stay miserable, and I have no one to blame but myself.

And dotted swiss - do they even make it anymore?

Allison said...

Well, there is that old adage "Opposites attract." Maybe some truth to it?

Eh? Maybe? Just a little? No? Ok, well, I tried.

I'm sort of a mix. I have this intense belief that the distant future will be absolutely wonderful, but the near future (like the moments right before walking into a room full of strangers) can make me want to vomit. It's an interesting sensation.

Shannon said...

First and foremost, I'm soooo sorry you never got that Little House on the Prairie dress....I would've been heartbroken too.

And I tend to do what you do, but don't verbalize it, so people don't know that I'm mainly a pessimist. I always think of the worst case scenario and make it as bad as possible so that when it happens, it's never as bad as I thought, therefore I'm not disappointed and think it came out better than I thought, therefore making me relieved.

I think it stems from the way I was raised too....always being disappointed because my parents never followed through on anything they said they'd do.

LJ said...

About that dress... (sorry you didn't get it) the story opened my eyes to why and how my friend is the parent she is. I always think she coddles and spoils her children too much, but now I see she loves them and doesn't want to dissappoint them as you are dissappointed at 39 about a dress you didn't get so long ago. She's trying to avoid heartache and pain in her kids lifes, because we are afterall kids for only so long. Now I know. Thank you for helping me see this. (I'm going to share this with her as well)
I'm happy you have a glass too.

OhTheJoys said...

I wish you got the dress... I was wishing as I was reading. :(

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

You and I, my friend, are the same person. If I have to hear my husband tell me one more time to cheer up, or that things will be fine, I'll be forced to drop a piano on his head ('cause that could happen, you know? One day you're walking down the street and then, Bam! A piano falls from the sky and squishes you like a bug.) :)

There's nothing wrong with being prepared for the worst but I did like that you pointed out that you enjoy the moment instead of looking to the future. It was very well said.

Major Bedhead said...

Mrs. Chicky - Can we get our husbands together under said piano? Two birds with one, um, piano. Saves on pianos and clean up and a whole lot of stuff, really.

Bea said...

"I'm just happy there's a glass."

I love this. The most important kind of optimism is the one that applies to the present - a disposition to be satisfied with what is rather than discontentedly measuring it against what could be, or (supposedly) someday will be.

There's lots of documentation showing that optimists are happier, but they're also foolish - I've had a couple of things happen to me lately that demonstrate how utterly foolish my "oh, everything will be fine" attitude can be.

(i.e. I don't need to switch to a short feed because Bitacle would never rip off my blog, now, would they? I can just republish my entire blog, adding labels, and assume that everything will be fine! *You can picture me hitting my head against the wall here.*)

art-sweet said...

I meant to comment on this earlier but keep circling around it because it hits so close to home and feels so true to me.

And I still don't know what to say except: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

xoxo ArtSweet