It’s funny how things can stick. Like how someone once told me that the cause of a yawn is a lack of oxygen, or that you should never reuse plastic watter bottles. These things quickly become obsession; you find yourself caught up in your own internal stubborness, unable to take in another point of view.
Last night, angry and frustrated, I shared my disbelief of this statement with a friend. Said friend, who had admitted to being in a rather cynical mood, said in so many words that if I couldn’t believe that, then I was just being an idiot. In a split second, I could feel the fury rising in my chest; not so much because of his choice of words, but because the statement challenged my belief that, deep down, people are essentially good.
That conversation, rather, my stubborn sense of how things should be, has stuck in my mind for the past twenty-four hours. I’ve rolled it in my head the way I’d roll a pencil around my fingers. Like many things I say when I’m angry or upset or tired, I questioned the validity of my own beliefs. Am I, the eternal sarcast, truly such an optimist? Do I truly believe that or am I just stuck in some pattern of obsessive stubbornness that won’t allow me to let go of my idealism?
The truth is, I think, that in fact I am just stubborn enough to hold on. I’ve seen cruelty. I’ve experienced cruelty. But never have I given up on my foolish, childlike idealism. Because beyond all else, I’ve seen the best in people too (now how’s that for sticktoitiveness?).
I don’t know how we’re going to change the world. I don’t know if my generation is up for it, I don’t know if we can get past the cruelty that goes on all over the world every single day. I don’t know what will get us past our differences.
But I know pessimism isn’t it.