Saturday, April 13, 2013

What You May Not Know & The Anatomy of the Happy-Go-Lucky

Today I want to talk about "Happy People". You know the type. They're always smiling, looking on the bright side of life, and on some level you almost hate or envy them for that. Or maybe, maybe you're like me and you happen to be one of those people.

Now I can't speak for all "Happy People", much like I can't speak for all women or all geeks or any other facet of my personality. However, I'd like to give you a bit of insight into my experience, because 1. This is my blog and that's kind of the point and 2. Maybe it will help, either for you to understand someone else's possible situation or to maybe not feel so alone in your own.

There is a particular kind of attitude, I have found, that I encounter for carrying a cheery disposition. Usually it's received well and has been beneficial in making friends etc etc but I have also noticed that this attitude inspires the following assumptions:

1. I'm immature.
2. I'm naive/never had to live in the real world.
3. I'm not the brightest crayola.
4. All of the above.

This tends to involve a lot of unsolicited advice when I'm in a difficult situation, or even with mundane activities. Which, I admit, I have given my fair share of unsolicited advice--like this blog (though if you voluntarily read it, is it solicited? I don't know) but there is a very particular condescending tone and method of speech that's employed that is understandably frustrating.

You know that tone. It's the "Oh, honey" tone.

...actually people have even said "Oh, honey" to me.

For those of you who aren't sure what I mean, reference the video from How I Met Your Mother.

I don't think this is a conscious thing? Well, for most people anyway? Obviously there are some who are intentional about this kind of behavior and those are the jerkwads you learn to keep out of your circle of friends but for the most part I do think people mean well.

...Shut up, cynics, this is not proof I'm naive. Go read your Thomas Hobbes.

In the far too brief 25/26 years of my life I have been accused of having it easy, not understanding how life works and a whole slew of less than flattering assumptions about my life due to my decidedly positive outlook.

So this list is going to be a bit awkward as while it's a short read, it probably won't be a comfortable one. And I'm not going to go into detail because I'm trying to make a point, not illicit sympathy. I'm just not sure if there's a better way to make it clear where I'm coming from but either way, it's my life, it's what happened and while I do not openly speak about it, I don't feel I should have to hide it.

Age 5/6
I was molested every day on the bus home by a fellow student until I mustered up the courage to tell my mother what was going on. To this day I wonder what horrible family life that boy must have had to think this was acceptable behavior.

Age 6 - 13
When we were kids, my brother was my best friend but also my biggest fear. He struggled with an extremely violent anger disorder. When he became upset he took his anger out on three things, the kitchen floors and cabinets, my mother's plants and me. This involved physical harm and ranged from beatings, throwing knives at me to even pinning me down and trying to spray cleaning solvent in my eyes or mouth. I'm always hesitant to tell people this because as adults, because for other people, it over powers all the good that was in him. My brother and I came to peace with each other and he had a far better grasp on his disorder. I bear him no ill for this and really don't want anyone else to either. Also medicine for metal disorders in kids was--and still is--really dodgy. He was a good person--there just wasn't help for him available and by the time there was, he didn't want it.

Age 18
A 'friend' molested me in my sleep. We are no longer friends.

Age 22
I was attacked/molested by a man on the street. After telling a friend about it, she asked me what I'd been wearing. We are no longer friends. PS. I was bundled up like a marshmallow because it had been the first snow of the year and I wanted to see the Christmas decorations.

Age 23
A dear friend committed suicide.

Age 24
In the series of 5 months... my grandmother, my second mother, two friends and my uncle died. 1 of old age, 1 from pancreatic cancer, 1 from brain cancer, 1 from suicide and one terribly violent car crash.

Age 25
My brother committed suicide. While we had rekindled our friendship and I think he knew I'd forgiven him and that I loved him... I worry that maybe if I had spoken it out loud... Maybe things would be different. Logically, I know that I could have done nothing, but it's hard to tell the rest of me that.

So when I make light of situations, when I smile or bring up the most optimistic of situations, it isn't because I don't know there's an unforgiving world out there--it's because I do. And we all have to fight against it somehow.

This is how some of us just get by. And it works for us. It's what's kept me going and what's kept me strong.

Don't knock that.

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