I’m regularly accused of being dark, and for a long time I fought that characterization despite some damning evidence.
So-Called Proof of My Bad Attitude
– I wear a lot of black.
– I dye my blonde hair dark.
– As a kid, I named my treehouse “The Gloomy Place”.
– I regularly ditched pep rallies in high school.
– I recently developed an affinity for the Type O Negative song “Everything Dies”.
My Perfectly Good Excuses for Those Things
– Black clothing hides food stains better, and sometimes I eat like Cookie Monster.
– I am a blonde, but someone neglected to tell that to my dark brown eyebrows. Dyeing my hair to match my eyebrows makes way more sense than bleaching my eyebrows to match my hair.
– I think we can all agree Eeyore’s home has the best name in the Hundred Acre Wood.
– Even the mascot hates pep rallies. On the Official List of Bad Things, high school pep rallies fall somewhere between Hitler and celery, but they’re definitely on there. I’m pretty sure Hell is just an endless pep rally.
– “Everything Dies” is… well, it’s kind of funny. And I know I’ve used this picture a lot lately, but look at the lead singer. Just look at him.
Then a few weeks ago, I was sitting between two co-workers at a bar here in town and had the following conversation:
BARTENDER: So what are you guys doing once this job wraps up?
CO-WORKER 1: I’m going home to California!
CO-WORKER 2: I’m headed back to the east coast.
BARTENDER: And where are you going, Stephanie?
ME: Me? Oh, I’m probably going to die here.
That was the moment I realized people had been right all along: I am a pessimist. A party pooper. A wet blanket.
And you know what? IT’S THE BEST.
Reasons Pessimism is Awesome!!!!!!
Sorry. That was way too many exclamation points. Let’s try that again.
Pessimism: It’s Swell.
Reason #1: It’s harder to spill a glass that’s half-empty than it is to spill a glass that’s half-full.
Reason #2: Pessimists are always pleasantly surprised. When something goes well, it’s a nice change of pace. If something goes badly, you still get to say, “Yep. Saw that one coming,” and that’s kind of fun.
Reason #3: I’m pretty sure I only developed a sense of humor because my outlook on life is so bleak. If I couldn’t find things to laugh at, I’d just want to cry all the time . Nobody wants that, so instead I make a lot of jokes about becoming a bitter cat lady! Whee!
Reason #4: Because a pessimist’s hopes and dreams are microscopically low, crushing them is almost impossible. This means pessimists are basically emotionally invincible. For example, when I woke up this morning, my only goal was “don’t die”. So far, so good. Even if everything else goes terribly today, I’m coming out on top as long as I’m still breathing at midnight. (Great. I’m going to die today just because I said that, aren’t I?)
Reason #5: My pessimism attracts optimists like a well-stocked cranial cavity attracts zombies. It’s like they sense the dark void that is my soul and need to fill it with cheer before I turn into a black hole and suck up the entire universe. Optimistic friends are great! There’s pretty much nothing funnier than horrifying them with statements like this:
Reason #6: It wouldn’t surprise me to find out pessimists enjoy the really nice parts of life a little bit more than optimists, or are at least a little more conscious of those moments. When you’re hyper-aware of life’s rough patches, the sweet parts are a little sweeter because you have something to compare them to. If your whole life is sunny, how can you tell which parts are sunniest?
Reason #7: A study showed pessimists lose less money gambling because they take fewer risks and become jaded more quickly. I assume our cautious nature means we also live longer than our optimistic counterparts, but mark my words: we’re not happy about it.
Reason #8: Of course, it’s possible to take pessimism too far. Someone needs to tell my 16-year-old brother that being a complete cynic is a surefire way to never be invited to another party. On the other hand, overdoing the positivity is a surefire way to get punched in the face and never be invited to another party.
It’s probably odd to write a positive list about the benefits of negativity. Is it possible to be so pessimistic you come out the other side as an optimist?
Blech. I hope not.