Monday, October 25, 2010


I'm an incurable optimist. I hide it well since it almost invariably leads to disappointment and I think it would be hard for my friends to see me disappointed all the time.

I try not to be an optimist. I tell myself not to get my hopes up and not to fantasise about how well everything is going to work out and how much better my life will be when it does, but inevitably the sneaky little bitch optimist inside me will do it anyway, whispering all the while about how it doesn't really hurt to fantasise and it's not like I really believe things will work out the way I imagine they will.

Yeah, I totally believe it. And the thing is that no matter what it is I'm trying, all the fantasies turn out the same - I end up being totally awesome at whatever it is, which naturally leads to glory and riches. For example, before I started this blog I had this conversation with myself:

Me: I think I'll start a blog
Sneaky Bitch Optimist (SBO): I'm going to start a blog and it will be so awesome and popular that I'll end up writing a column for someone who will actually pay me and then I'll be asked to be a guest on some television show and then I'll get my own show and then...blah blah blah...glory and riches!!! GLORY AND RICHES!!!
Me: That won't happen. No one will read it and if they do they won't even like it anyway.
SBO: GLORY AND RICHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes it also leads to me ruling the world but I'm at least ninety seven per cent certain that that won't actually happen. Glory and riches though - I'm so certain of that one that I can't actually make myself believe that it might not happen. In fact, the older I get, the more surprised I am that it hasn't happened already.

Keep in mind that realistically, I know how ridiculous this is. I just can't make myself actually not believe it.

But a constantly thwarted expectation of glory and riches isn't the only way my incurable optimism makes my life miserable. She makes me buy clothes that are too small so that they'll fit when I lose weight and then they sit in my drawer as a constant reminder of yet another goal that I haven't yet managed to achieve. When I haven't been swimming in five weeks, and despite the fact that I was not a good swimmer to start with, she aims to improve on where I was when I last made it to the pool so that I'm hopelessly discouraged when I not only fail to achieve that goal but am also unable to match what I managed five weeks earlier. SBO leads me into disappointments that I should not have to experience by overcoming every ounce of realism and rational thought that I possess.

But it doesn't end there. I've wasted countless hours reading books and watching movies that I've known were awful within the first couple of pages or few minutes respectively. Because SBO is always convinced that they will get better. She made me sit through all of Hostel, and she almost made me go see the sequel because even though I hated the first one the sequel really did look like it might be all right and surely I was just the tiniest bit curious about whether it actually was? That's the only time that I've ever managed to defeat her. Because the thing is that sometimes she's right. Not often, but just enough to reinforce the idea that if I stop reading or watching I may be missing out on something.

It's not just with books and movies either. Most of the too-small clothes she's made me buy I've eventually been able to fit into - just not in the timeframe that she led me to expect. And sometimes things really have worked out as I've imagined they will. Of course, sometimes they've gone as I've imagined only to go horribly wrong later on, but that's the thing - I just never can tell whether she'll be right or not.

That's why I haven't given up on the glory and riches.

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