It may be the hipster in me, but I consider myself an optimistic pessimist — or optimistically unhappy. Yes, that sounds like I am absolutely contradicting myself, but this is Ask Lara, and I’m using that as an excuse to make up things that probably can’t be true and making them true — like Big Foot.
Most people who know me think I am a very bubbly, sunshine-filled smartass who gets away with nothing because she can’t lie, which is half true; but then, I say something like, “People who aren’t at least a little depressed can’t be nearly as interesting as people who are,” and they all go like, “Whoa, man, where the hell did that come from?” And that’s when the friendship really beings.
Oddly, I do believe that and stand by it. I of course love people who are as happy as a clown, but the ones who have an edge to them without being super vocal about it are the ones who I want to have 2 a.m. conversations with while the world around us shuts off for a while. They understand that always being happy doesn’t necessarily mean being happy and that not always being happy doesn’t mean you aren’t happy.
Let’s get back to my crazy train of thought. I am in most ways a realist, but I have found a spectacular way to embrace my pessimism and fleeting unhappiness. Maybe a stranger yelled at me for no reason, maybe I got my heart broken, or maybe a friend turned out to not really be that great (all of these things did recently happen). Whatever it is, I know that in that moment, my life is sucking pretty bad, and I accept that because I expected it at some point or another.
So, I sit in bed, watch Bridget Jones’s Diary, and eat my snap peas till I damn well please. But, optimism is always lingering in the dark shadows, ready to attack. As I watch Mark Darcy say, “I like you very much, just as you are,” I see the light, watch the film four more times, and embrace all the crappy things that are happening to me and that will probably continue happening to me — because that’s life.
I hang out with some people that for some reason always make me feel bad about myself. Great.
I was blindsided by a break-up, but not really surprised. Awesome.
My hair doesn’t and probably never will look like that of the members in HAIM. Cool, now tie your hair up in a bun and move on.
This is life. In being pessimistic about the possibilities and being well aware of the fact that I will be unhappy when things don’t go right, I have found a way to be optimistic in the way in which I handle situations and the outcomes following. Thus, I have created my own crazy version of realism.
As the 1800s British politician and writer Benjamin Disraeli once said, “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.”