Optimist or Pessimist?

Just call me a “wide-eyed POPTIMIST.”

Bird Houses / 20071230.10D.46705 / SML

I think the word to describe me would have to be “Poptimist.” Let me explain. On the outside I am, without a doubt, a pessimist. I worry, I feel stressed, I imagine the worse. I annoyed my college friends when I thought for sure I had failed a test and then got a 98. I used to be so nervous every time I took a test that I thought for sure I had failed miserably. I held my breath when the professor handed the tests back. I sweated and trembled and thought I would vomit with anxiety. I always expected a 54, circled in bright red marker to further call me out as a loser. Honestly, that is what I really believed. I’m a horrible test taker and I never knew how I did. I just assumed I had failed even though I studied for hours on end. It was always such a welcome relief to get, not only a passing grade, but a really good grade. Self-protection? Of course. Defense mechanism? ABSOLUTELY! As I got older I became more of a pessimist; my mother is a die- hard pessimist and I know I got a lot of that from her. Nature and nurture. My father was an optimist for most of his life. Perhaps I have a tiny, hidden bit of my optimistic father deep inside me. I worry BEFORE I know the outcomes of things, call it anticipatory anxiety if you will. Yes, I do meet worry half way. I actually go up and greet worry and practically invite it home for lunch. But, way deep down, once in a while, there is a small voice, like a tiny, quietly chirping bird, hidden by a brightly colored bird house, that makes me feel if I make it through the stressful process, it just might turn out to be alright in the very end.

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Scared To Be Happy

I am lying in my bed, covers nearly over my head. My stomach clenches, my head hurts, I sigh loudly. No, I am not getting sick ( I hope ) but I know what the feeling is from. It’s anticipation in a highly negatively charged way. I don’t want to look forward to anything because (from experience’s sake) it’s a jinx.  Yes, that’s what I said. More importantly, as much as I try to psycho-analyze myself and redirect it’s what I know to do.  It is what I have been taught and what I have taken on for myself. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t healthy. It isn’t good for one itsy-bitsy tiny thing.

My family and I are “supposed” to go away for a few days to someplace “warm” over the break. I can’t say where or when or how or why. Why? Because of  the aforementioned jinx.   As a family we do not have good karma for going on vacations so I am being ultra conservative this time to the point of nueroticism, not to mention hysteria, mood swings, feeling stagnant and immobilized.

I try, really I do, to be in “neutral” as my dad used to say. No need to be optimistic or pessimistic, just be in neutral. In control, neither this way or that, or in airline terms, stand-by.

I can’t fill my head with visions of blue-aqua swimming pools or bright orange tropical drinks with slices of pineapple on the glass rim. No. No sandy white  beaches, no trying to feel the sun flood my natural Vitamin D starved body. No.  At least, not yet.

This is no way to bring up children, I know that and I try to keep it to myself but who is kidding who or is it whom?  I feel insecure and tentative, and responsible and uneasy. Not much of a trailblazer am I!  I am comfortable with routine and as much as I love to go away (if we should be so blessed) I am just as happy  to come home. To fit in the little niche I have carved out for myself in my little world. My shrink is going to have a field day but it’s not anything I don’t know.

I don’t want the kids to be disappointed, I don’t want to look forward to something and have it not come through, there are too many negatives in our travel history for that. Tonight, I will try to stay calm and think of many different things. I will not hyperventilate, I will not be anxious, I  will not be negative……I’ll try.

Of course I am trying to protect myself and my family. Does it work? Never. Do I believe in karma and that things work out the way they are supposed to? A definite Yes! Does that not ease my precipatory anxiety? A resounding NO!

Not good at taking chances, not a risk taker, I have bludgeoned myself for being so self-protective. Apparently, I can’t win. I want to be positive but  I am scared to, I don’t want to be negative but it’s self-protection. I want to stay in neutral and feel free from pressure but I find that very hard to do. For now, I will try to take things minute by minute, try to declutter my mind and take long, deep, big breaths, inhaling, holding, exhaling.   Finding neutral is not as easy as it sounds; but I’m still looking.