On occasion we all need to opt out of optimism

I don’t agree with the subject heading.  They are my words, even the fixed sub-text in the banner of my writing blog, but I can’t keep them close.  You see, for as cry-eye and morose as I can be; for all the time devoted to sad movies and sadder novels and saddest music; for all the depression in the world, I am really an eternal optimist.

In the thick of a thunderstorm I might recall some source of shelter.  Or when I think up something I might summon the strength to work it out – make it happen.  It’s a blessing to be born this way.  I allow myself to believe that things are possible.  That I can really get up and be it.  And while destiny may laugh at my naivety I can’t shake this optimism, which is what found me here, on an endless adventure trail chasing the tail of opportunities that I’ve long avoided.

It can all come at a cost.  One can over visualize, hyper expect.  You can think your way out of a bad way only to find yourself in heavier boots.  Nothing is more damning than letting your optimism down, but I’ve no recourse.  I choose to believe in trying – to make better our circumstances if only in mind.  And although I haven’t a solid track record – while you might find me bemoaning something at some point – I’m going to stay with the program and keep up the optimism.  Because with it we find second chances, and with chance we find adventure.

That’s how I found myself back here.  It starts off so easily, as it does every four years.  I watch the Olympics.  Really, I love the Olympics.  I love the fervor and excitement and attention to celebration.  I love that anything seems possible and that hard work is rewarded.  And I love how throngs of tiny ice flower girls become inspired to be their next best version of Michelle Kwan or Lindsay Vohn or Bodie Miller.  And because our tvs are bigger and the picture crisper, I love how I feel at one with the action.  That I’m really gliding across the ice like a bladed centaur.  When I see this  – the pure athletic prowess, but even more, the crowd swell of support – the snuck smile whenever some athlete completes something special – well, I want for that.  I believe that anything is possible.  I feel the power of Horatio Alger and the American Dream and want to try, try, try.  I wish the trying translated to writing more, or setting up a sustainable system or pattern in my life, but instead it takes wild turns.

On dock today, figure skating – or my impression of!

I watched all the figure skating and declared that TODAY WAS THE DAY to take to ice.  I haven’t much memory of time spent skating, although I must have done so once or twice as a girl.  Still, it seemed appropriate to make an effort and Hiro and I headed off to the Kendall ice rink in Cambridge to make our public debut.

Everyone for miles had the same idea.  The rink was teeming with little girls and boys and men and women inspired by the latest quad sequence for Yuzuru Hanyo.  The rink was filled with optimists gliding past one another in seamless streams.  The collective energy, replete with artful falls and botched stop sequences, was endearing and I couldn’t help but think these are my people.

It’s not easy here in the cold northeast.  The people can be mean.  Everyone has an agenda and a privately guarded inner world.  It was a hard transition coming to Boston with my midwest wide eyes and belief in beauty.  I felt, and still feel, bruised by people’s hurried nature.  Everyone has got something better to do, a place to be.  I feel here, moreso than anywhere, people would sooner opt out of optimism.  Dreaming derails progress.  Get on the pragmatic program and stop holding up the line.  The negativity sticks to you like mid-summer sweat and I’ve had a hell of a time finding a towel to dry off.

But here, if only for a moment, the ice was magnetic.  It melded our skate blades to the ground and asked that we abandon inhibition.  That we believe in a dream, even if not our own.  That we allow ourselves a moment of reckless belief.  And it’s obvious, from the throngs of skaters trying desperately to turn as beautifully as Mao Asada did.  It’s so evident from the ecstatic smiles on their faces as they fall that THEY ARE TRYING.  THEY ARE DOING.  THAT THEY ARE BELIEVING the best thing anyone can: that anything is possible.

And it occurs to me that what is crucial is to believe
in effort, to believe some good will come of simply trying,
a good completely untainted by the corrupt initiating impulse
to persuade or seduce – Louise Gluck
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