Friday, May 12, 2006

Negativity

[Update 2008: it's time to move on, really.]

I'm a negative person. I have by most measurements a good life, but I can have a hard time appreciating it. When life hands me lemons, I become sour. And the grinning retards who eagerly slurp down what comes to them aggravate me.

When my team wins, I'm pissed I sat on the bench. When my wife calls me handsome, I point out that we haven't had sex in [mumble]; when she calls me thin, I point out that those last ten pounds just won't drop. I've got a house, but I hate that it's small and 30 miles from where I work. I get paid well, but I hate that I can't get the things I want for the debt. I get paid well, but I hate that I'm not challenged, nor valued for my skills. (It shouldn't be like this.) There are things I enjoy doing, like music and a sport or two, but I basically suck at them. People I respect say I sometimes post well, but I couldn't blow the editor for a fucking checkmark. I have a great family, and I'm miserable because I can never leave the house. I'm a negative, ungrateful little shit.

Negativity sucks because you can't win with it. An accusation of negativity is rebuttal-proof. You can't respond to that statement in the negative any more than you can always state lies.

Negativity is self-fulfilling. Expect things to go poorly, and they will. Never mind that you have reason to expect it; never mind that nature only rewards the sunny optimists.

Negativity is a vicious cycle. To re-use my own phrase, just as when you're in love and everything is lovely, when you're stressed, everything has got to be a fucking challenge. When you're negative, you see problems everywhere, even in the positive. The more negative you are, the more negative the world around you looks, which makes you more negative, and so it goes.

Negativity is funny. I don't know any 100% positive humor that actually manages to be funny, and I think that the human impulse to laugh exists mostly as a means to cope with the universe's fundamental negativity (because hey, no one gets out alive), or at least that's what I use it for. You can't be ironic without being contrary to literalness, and you sure as hell can't be sarcastic without being negative. Even clowns, those most upbeat of creatures, cry notoriously on the inside, and you know those pratfalls have to hurt just a little too. You can be negative without being mean to others, but then you turn the blade it on yourself or just laugh unspecifically at the caprice of nature that drops yellow citrus on everyone's head and cheating some of us out of the sugar. Sometimes, it seems like humor is the last rusty nail keeping me from going over the ledge from mere negativity into full-bore cynicism.

Maybe it'll turn around. Sometimes it feels like it is, but to be honest, I'm at most capable of trending positive for awhile, floating to someplace less negative but still netting in the red. Maybe one of these days I'll actually break the surface. Maybe if I stop working so hard at not being non-negative.

Or not.

Keifus

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