I was once known as an optimistic person, not the stereotypical annoying, peppy, cheerleader, bobble-head sort of perky, but just a girl that would try to find the sunnier side to life. (And yes, ok, I was a cheerleader growing up, but again, I was not overly perky and annoying.)
I remember one time in particular where my optimism was first brought to my attention. I was in the 11th grade. I had just bounced into my English class with a smile on my face and plopped down at my desk. Mr. Cadden, my English teacher, stood in front of me with his hands on his hips. He looked desperate, he had this crazy look in his eye as he raised his hands and shrugged his shoulders.
“What?” he demanded.
My heart stopped. I was, er, am, very forgetful and I panicked thinking I forgot to do something, write something, present something. When I saw more students take their seats my heart started again, this time at a frantic pace. Like everyone else, I hate to be embarrassed. I get all sweaty and my face turns so red that you can’t tell where my face ends and my hair begins.
“Um. What?” Dammit. I could feel my face turning as red as my hair.
“Just tell me what, Kaye. What is it?”
I looked around at the questioning looks from my classmates and tried to shrug off the attack like it was an everyday occurrence for the English teacher to bark nonsensical questions at me.
“I..I’m sorry. I…I don’t know what you mean.”
“Everyday you bounce in here with a smile on your face and I want to know how, why! Do you see someone before you come in here to put that smile on your face? Do you like my class that much? Because you’re a teenager, I know you can’t just be smiling because you’re happy!”
That got snickers from the class.
“I’m, um, naturally happy?” My voice was weak and shaky. I couldn’t tell if he was making fun of me or….no, I was pretty sure he was making fun of me.
He smiled and walked away. When he got back to his desk, he turned and said, “Good. I hope you stay that way.” With that he started his lecture.
I said I was once an optimistic person. Apparently, Mr. Cadden didn’t hope enough because I lost a lot of that “cup is always half full” crap. Sad part is, I don’t know when. Maybe it was during college when a lot of life’s mysteries started to unfold before me eyes and I struggled to figure out how to solve them, not understanding that for most part I couldn’t.
Maybe it was when I graduated college and was thrown into the “real world” where no one knew my name and didn’t care where I came from. Personally, I think it was just the daily struggles of life that got me down. Paying bills, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, trying to find a place in this world, you know, the usual stuff.
The really funny part is I don’t think I ever really noticed that I lost that “happy-go-lucky” part of me. From what my friends tell me I’m a fun girl to be around, but then again, they’re my friends, they better say that or something even better about me. 😉
What made me stop and notice the change was when I started to write. When I participated in NaNaWriMo this past November I did it on a whim, not really expecting anything out of it. However, I not only got my first novel out of the experience, but I got a little confidence back, and with that confidence came the optimism. Which is hysterical when you think about what I’m up against in terms of becoming published.
Its not a nice world out there. People may read this blog and think I’m an idiot, naive, boring or just totally out of the loop. Those same people may find it necessary to make fun of me, the genre that I choose to write in, or maybe its just the fact that I am pursuing publication at all is enough to bash me and my hopes. And let’s not even get into the whole trying to find an agent, publisher and all the fun rejection letters in my future.
I think what my problem before was that I felt if I made my expectations too high there would be a higher drop when I failed. So, instead of aiming high, I aimed to the attainable and with no challenges in my life it got, well, boring, depressing even. Writing challenged me, it made me aim high again. I’ll admit, there are times, a lot of times, when I sit at my computer and think “I suck.” There are even more times when I email Savana and write “I suck.” But that’s not really going to change anything, huh? What’s the point in thinking that? None.
So, with that said, I’m back to looking at the glass and seeing it half full. I’m not delusional. I don’t think that just because I think, hope and pray that it will happen that it will. I have no control over critics, agents, publishers, I only have control over myself and how I handle the obstacles.
I can’t say if it will happen for me, but that won’t stop me from trying or writing….or smiling.
One of my cast members approached me at rehearsal the other day and asked me why I always smiled.
“Every time I look over at you, you have a smile on your face. You nuts or something,” he asked with a wink so I wouldn’t be offended.
I smiled and said, “No, I’m just naturally happy.”
Please share your thoughts on dreams, goals and aspirations. Is it easy for you to get down on yourself? How do you pick yourself back up? And is smiling often such a bad thing? I mean, really people, am I nuts?