Its not easy being a good girl.
I admit, I've been a pacifist since birth, most likely apologizing profusely upon my arrival for keeping people waiting around during the dinner hour and it was no celestial error that I ended up at that very moment, a citizen in peace-loving, mega-apologizing Canada.
I've always stood up to people who ridicule or discriminate against anyone for the simple reason they are different. Race, creed, ethnicity, ability, intelligence, religion, political affiliation -- it all offends me.
I have a new one to add to the list, today -- one that hits specifically close to home ---- I have decided to take a stand against those who discriminate against people with good intentions.
I admit to being a stereotypical pollyanna on the outside. I love kittens, puppies and clouds. I swoon at romantic music, chocolates and candlelight and break down and cry during every chick flick. I like fresh flowers, the color green, sunrises and sunsets and strive for world peace. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with any of it and yet...it collectively sets me aside from the rest of the world.
I have come to realize over time the sheer amount of adversity that comes with the label of pollyanna – and I am constantly astounded at how quickly my opinions and thoughts are briskly set aside when my true optimistic colors become apparent. C’lest Vie – Pollyanna’s are content souls – willing to work in groups of like minded people or alone if need be.
I suppose there may be sound psychological studies down that indicate that Pollyanna’s may be prone to depression and suicide more often than cynical minded people. That should come as no surprise – sometimes it’s a hard row to hoe – being eternally optimistic when the world around you reiterates and spews out its hateful darkness day in and day out.
I’ve heard all of the alternative terms over the years: do-gooders, peaceniks, treehuggers.
I've been called both Goody Two Shoes or Pollyanna since grade school. Once the taunting began it never stopped, I ended many of my school days in tears. It wasn't that I was ashamed of being 'good' it was that I wasn't accepted for who I was.
This has carried on into my adult years. Children aren't the only one who discriminate.
I recall meeting a couple of friends in Austin for a few days - just to hang out and enjoy the music. The first morning, at a local eatery, the two of them -- grown women tried to convince me that I was somehow missing out on something vital in life but no using profanity when I spoke. They spent the better part of breakfast trying to convince me to just say a certain word, just once. I refused, almost to the point of tears.
That same night, we had plans to go to a few clubs in Austin to catch the performances of friends, but after I'd gotten ready they told me they were too tired and had decided to just stay in and go to bed early. I went back to my room.
As I headed to breakfast the next morning, I saw them in the hallway, just returning to their rooms, after being out all night. I never said anything, the good girl in my I suppose was too polite, but I assumed my they felt my pollyanna-ness would have cramped their style. If I'd had succumbed to their pressure at breakfast the morning before, perhaps I might have been included.
There is an assumption that someone who doesn't drink can't have fun in a honkytonk, that a person who doesn't use profanity can't carry on a passionate conversation, that someone who looks both ways when crossing the street, or won't step on a spider, or who says please and thank-you at regular intervals simply can't be fun and therefore not worth the time of day.
There is an assumption that a person who sees the good in people, who believes in miracles and walks around with a glass half full doesn't have anything constructive or useful to add to a conversation or debate.
There is an assumption that we're stoic, out of touch and don't know how to let our hair down. A Pollyanna after all, is regarded as someone foolishly optimistic.
The alternative lifestyle however, doesn't appeal to me --- a world of void of hope, dreams, and possibilities.
This isn’t to say that my innate Pollyannaism has sheltered me from life’s darker side. Life has indeed thrown more than its fair share of knocks my way. Somewhere along the way I came to the realization that what some people refer to as my pollyannaism is really my resiliency, my own unique of coping with the world – of simply getting through.
In my mind the alternative to optimism and belief in good is negativism, a world full of can’ts and shouldn’ts, where there is no hope but only ultimate fate, where there’s no chance to change the tides but simply the fact that we must hang on and hope for the best.
My outlook comes from a life of learning first hand that the most profound advances are discovered by those who believe in the ultimate possibility that something out there awaits discovery and that the cure for the deepest wounds doesn't always come in pill and liquid form but more often in a gentle touch and a kind, soft spoken word.
It’s the Pollyanna’s of this world that pick up the injured birds and nurse them to health so they can fly again. It’ll be a Pollyanna that will be the leader that will find peace, it’ll be a Pollyanna that will finally discover the cure for cancer.
It’s the Pollyanna’s that believe that one person can make a difference. That one voice added to another’s in the same “just because” is a step closer to peace. We don’t believe in numbers games, demographic breakdowns, stereotypes or limitations. We believe that everything is possible.
A friend said, said if I wrote a rant, it would have an apology at the end of it. He'll be sadly disappointed because I'm happier with being me than before I started writing this piece, therefore no apologies will be forthcoming.