Optimism Is Looking On The Knight Side

Optimism Is Looking On The Knight Side

I made a sort of unofficial promise to myself, as I contemplated the start of the new year and the chance to give my blog some fresh life and maybe even some improved stats: I was going to try and be positive about things. 

Take my last post, for example. It could have been a negative post about how my mental and physical health got in the way of all the arts and crafts I used to enjoy, but instead it was focused on rediscovering that enjoyment and what that might mean for the future. Positivity. Written at two in the morning and therefore violating another unspoken promise about sorting out my sleep patterns, but at least doing it with some optimism.

I’ve made a fair bit of progress with my teal scarf since my last post
The trouble is, I’m only an optimist while things actually seem to be improving, and today was not a day where believing things were looking up was very easy. So, while I’d planned to write a blog post, I found myself this evening totally unable to find a positive approach for any of the things I wanted to talk about. 

Or any of the things I didn’t want to talk about. Anything at all, really. I felt like I was drowning in work and stress about going back to uni, totally hopeless that things will get better this term or ever, as well as being tired and in pain and ready to do literally anything else other than work on this stupid medieval French coursework essay which, by virtue of impending deadlines, is unavoidable and necessary. How could I possibly write a positive blog post when I couldn’t think of anything positive to say? I could make it up, put on some false hope, and fake it well enough that no one would realise I didn’t believe what I was saying…
… but that’s never really been my style. I’d rather say nothing than be dishonest, which is why I posted so little last year. I don’t like being constantly negative, but I’ve lost the knack of being authentically positive, which makes blogging difficult. 

I don’t know how to fake positive and I don’t want to, either, because while I wouldn’t say there’s a point to this blog, I would say that if there was, it wouldn’t be to write at the cost of honesty or authenticity. So if I can’t write then I shouldn’t write. Regular posts aren’t that important, especially if what they’re saying isn’t even true. 

Honesty on social media is a weird thing. I don’t like pretending things are better than they are, but I’m obviously going to share more about the positive stuff. Someone who doesn’t know anything else about me might be fooled into thinking things are going okay, though my occasional bursts of oversharing might change their mind. (These usually happen at times of day when not many people are online so that I can be relatively sure they’ll quickly disappear from Twitter feeds, and often followed by a deluge of bad jokes and cute animals to ensure a rapid disappearance.)

That said, I know people who are either significantly more private (basically everyone I know) or just more focused on the positives (a lot of my fellow depressed people are, understandably, less keen to tell the world exactly how mentally ill they’re feeling today). It’s not that they’re being dishonest. It’s just that they’re taking a different approach to sharing, something I need to remember whenever I feel the urge to start comparing my life to theirs. 

I like to spill my heart all over the place, so I sometimes believe I can see more of other people’s than they’re actually showing, you know? 

Possibly this is why/because I’m a writer
Point is, I’m a chronic oversharer and a pessimist who can’t help but dwell on bad things, and that makes it really hard to try and be both honest and positive. It requires me to actually be positive, which it turns out is really hard. I have to genuinely find the upsides in things, not just retrospectively think of them so that I can put them in a blog post. 

Optimists of the world, I have no idea how you do it but I’m in awe.

I decided to try some enforced positivity. What good things have emerged from the crappy feelings of the last few days? 

I mean, yes, I’m drowning in work, and yes, the reason I’m this behind is because I was horribly ill last week. This is true. On the plus side, the fact that I’m now upright and panic-reading a ton of literary criticism means I’m feeling a lot better than I was, so the illness must be passing. That’s definitely positive.

I meant it when I said I was drowning.

And yes, the thought of going back to uni makes me want to throw up and I sort of wish I’d never taken time out so I’d be in third year now and it would be closer to over and/or that I had a viable back-up plan so that I could have dropped out when I had the chance. This is also true. But on the plus side, going back will mean I get to see Nellie, and I’ll finally have decent Pokémon Go again after five weeks of the rubbish pickings of my hometown, and the shower in my flat has way better water pressure than the one at home. So those will be positive, and almost outweigh all the work-related terror. 
Yeah, okay, I’m bad at this. OPTIMISTS, TEACH ME YOUR SECRETS. (Though I feel like one of them might be “don’t have anxiety and depression” because that’s definitely cramping my style.)

I’ll just have to console myself with the knowledge that when this wretched essay is done I can reward myself by rewatching A Knight’s Tale, extended cut, which I bought for £1.99 the other day in the local British Heart Foundation shop. Now that’s what I call an upside. 

I didn’t even realise it was the extended cut

Plus I managed to get a really awful pun into the title of this post. That’s got to count for something.

2 thoughts on “Optimism Is Looking On The Knight Side

  1. There is a self-help theory based around sharing all the good things that happen: not just the big ones, or the ones you remember; all the good things at the moment they happen. The theory suggests that it both teaches you to become more aware of good things happening as well as bad, and gives you a record of good moments to glance over later if you start to feel bleak.

    So, perhaps you could repurpose your oversharing by choosing a social media account/stream/whatever you kids have these days and posting every single happy moment to it. Stops raining before you leave the house? Post about it. Driver slows down slightly to avoid splashing you? Post about it. Feeling happy for no reason? Post about it.

    You can continue to share bad things too, on the same thing or somewhere else. The suggestion is just to post good things with no obligation to explain or justify why they are good. And if you miss one, that’s fine. And if you decide to stop altogether that’s fine too.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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