Rigged Optimism

I’ve learned a lot about this and I didn’t realize it was a thing until I witnessed the man that helped birth me do it. (I could have easily just said ‘dad’, but the long one sounds so much better). Here’s what happened:

My dad put my brother in basketball a few months ago. His reason for putting my brother in basketball wasn’t because my brother had an intense interest or because it seemed to ‘fit’ or anything like that. It was just one sentence uttered from the coach’s mouth: ‘the boy’s got wing span.’ What that means for basketball, I have no idea. I don’t play it, I just watch people try to do it sometimes.

After my dad heard this, he was too excited to push him into trying out. He did, but my brother made it on to the ‘C’ team, which is like the lowest grade, team wise (I sound like I know so much. . .). Anyway, he continued to play on that team and still had many problems. He was and still is working on his dribbling and passing. He still holds his hips and stands in the middle of the court while the team is playing. He still doesn’t hussle fast enough back and forth. He doesn’t practice when he’s home, he holes himself in the loft and plays games and watches anime.

My dad is saddened by the outcome and my brothers lack of attempts to improve himself. Should he be sad though? The only reason he thought my brother would have any potential is because he heard another authority say something about ‘wing span’. His optimism for my brother to be the next Derrick Rose sky rocketed. His expectations were inflated because another adult saw potential and he took that and ran with it. It was rigged. He didn’t come up with that optimism on his own. A man with a hat and a clip board did. . . .

I bring this up because I’m like my dad in many ways. I’m his daughter, so it’s only natural that he gave me some of whatever he has. I assume that if I do it, there’s someone else in the universe that does and maybe after reading this you’ll realize you’re a victim of this as well. I like to think of rigged optimism as both good and bad because I like seeing things from both perspectives. Here’s my examples for the good and bad with my own experiences:

The good one was when I was in middleschool. I drew all the time, but didn’t think much of my drawings. I still don’t, but for a different reason. Back then, it was because I didn’t feel like it offered much. Many people that I went to school with said that I was great and after awhile, it boosted my little 6th or 7th grade self esteem and I thought ‘hey. . .maybe I am better than okay.’ I sat near my dad one day and I told him that I thought I was a good artist. In response, my dad told me that I wasn’t that good because there were artists that were much better than me. Being as young as I was, and with as much respect I had for my dad, I crumbled like a little cookie at those words. I didn’t crumble because of the harsh truth that yes, I wasn’t that good and yes, there were other people better than me. I crumbled because that optimism and confidence wasn’t really mine. It was built up by the support around me and I claimed it because of how great and accomplished it made me feel.

Rigged optimism like this is good. Just because those positive feelings don’t  necessarily originate from the person they’re being given to, doesn’t make them bad. As people, it’s normal to use the optimism of others to uplift ourselves. That’s what support is for: to give the extra confidence and help you can’t give yourself. One thing that good rigged optimism does is develop confidence you have naturally within you, in turn making it your own. The support doesn’t go away, but you have whatever added bonus you find in yourself. My development in that area was snuffed out a little by someone very important to me, and I stopped drawing for a year or so, but if I had let that good rigged optimism ride, I’d probably have at least made more of an effort to make it a career rather than a hobby.

The bad one is a little shorter, but one I’m sure some can relate to. When I was in high school, I had this guy I really liked. I told him I liked him through a note and waited for a magical facebook message to appear. Meanwhile, my friends hyped me up. They told me how great we looked together and how much he liked me. I had so much optimism to the point where I was gushing. My little highschool teenage body could not handle the hormones oozing out of me (that sounds gross, but I promise it wasn’t . . .). We did go on a date, but shortly after, he admitted to me that I was a wonderful person, but he didn’t like me that way and he never really did. The only reason I kept going with it was because of the hype that me friends gave me. Without that, I would have probably been able to tell that he wasn’t into it. I say that now because I realized there were a bunch of signs he was giving me that I refused to go with.

This is a decent example of bad rigged optimism because it happens constantly to me, but I’m more  level headed enough to catch it now rather than run with it. It’s not fair to assume the biggest when you haven’t  started at the beginning. When I gave him that note, I never gave him a chance to give me an answer. In fact, I didn’t wait for him to send me a message. I asked him out because I figured he liked me because he did not say no. My friends did not help that and gave me more reason to pursue him instead of pausing and realizing that I never even asked him what he thought of me or if he even liked me more than that.

This bad rigged optimism has the same things attached to it as good rigged optimism. You have that support well of optimism that you draw from others and that well helps you create your own. It becomes bad when you count on the support alone rather than the confidence that the support creates. You lean on the words of others for reassurance and that makes you invest in their judgement rather than your own. You become enveloped in those thoughts and opinions, which makes you feel comfortable enough to be happy and excited about the upcoming future, despite not really knowing what that is. The reason you don’t know is because you’re basing it off of an inflated optimism created by someone else. . .This example is kind of similar to the one I gave in the beginning. My dad didn’t really give my brother a chance to think about if basketball was a super serious thing he wanted to pursue, he just threw him in it based off  of the sparkling potential a coach saw in his arms or wings or whatever. That potential passed on from the coach to my dad, and thoughts of my brother being a basketball star made his heart skip a beat and he couldn’t resist to seize it. Now he’s slightly deflated because the potential that was there before is fading in his eyes.

Granted there’s nothing wrong with a father seeing potential in his son. I just feel that it should come from him and not the words of someone else. It should also be dependant on what the kid wants. My brother’s a little more pumped about basketball, but I’ve always felt it was because my dad gave him a little more attention than before because of that. For other situations like this, it’s the same. It’s better to draw from rigged optimism when our logic and confidence isn’t in critical condition. When those two important things are wrecked and messed up, we tend to lean on the words and positive opinions of others rather than our own. It’s okay to have rigged optimism when it’s  a situation where it’s boosting your confidence in a certain area or thing in your life, but it’s important to keep in mind that you should be just as confident on your own. The support of others is important, but making a foundation of your own out of that helps for times that you have no one to turn to or count on because that happens in life sometimes. To piggy back off of others optimism makes me sit and wonder why I was doing/starting something. Did I do it because I felt like I could or because my friend thought I could? What happens when my friend’s not there for me anymore or can’t be there and I haven’t drummed up enough confidence to go through with what I started?

I’m not a master on this, nor do I give myself the title of ‘master’. Being a master is too mainstream because you can’t ever stop learning anything. There will always be something new to learn, so are masters really masters if they haven’t learned absolutely everything?. . . .I’m going to stop there and think about that some other time since this has already grown in legnth. I hope this maybe made sense at all and that it raised some questions or made people think.

Also, I did look over this twice, but please don’t feel shy to point out errors. . . .just minor ones, because commas and things get confusing to change. I’m not an English major, I just write stuff. . .on the internet. . .for other people to read. . . .

Alphabet of Life-ing: Exhaustion

I nearly forgot to post this today since I didn’t post it yesterday. . .also because I forgot. My brain gets extremely scattered all over the place, so things happen, but this portion of A.O.L has actual dialogue. A friend of mine that’s editing this said that deep thoughts are great, but in order for the story and the character to develop there needs to be some form of setting and interaction. That’s kind of what I tried to start with this portion, so it’s a very rough attempt that will be cut down and most likely revised into something else. My friend has not read this yet, so it’s not as ‘polished’ (not to say the other portions were perfect, but there was some adding and removing and editing and. . .other things that went into them, despite it still being a work in progress).
Hopefully you enjoy this portion and for anyone that has not read any of the other letters, it’s not extremely necessary to go back and read what I’ve written for the first four letters. It just paints an even picture of the characters thoughts and perspective. Here’s a link to the page that just has posts for the story and nothing else: https://rescloset22.wordpress.com/category/the-alphabet-of-life-ing-project/

———————–

When it comes to the weekend, I find myself shedding what feels like pounds upon pounds of feelings I held during the week. My thoughts and emotions become louder and my brain begs and pleads for silence. My body feels aches and pains that I didn’t know the cause of and I find myself in a state that seems like a mature feet up postion/lay down combo. It’s one of the reasons I hate being left alone with myself. In these moments, I call out for a friend. Unlike most people, I have very few that I can call for moments like this. I actually only have one person for moments like this.

I pick up my cell phone and dial the number without glancing at the keys. The dial tone sounds and I hear a click. I speak without a greeting, naturally.

“Have you ever had a moment where you just felt like you couldn’t be around yourself?”

Laughter bubbles on the other end, “I’m doing fine, how are you?”

“I’m sorry, I just got excited.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine. Explain further.”

” I just. . .I just can’t stand being around myself lately. I’m having issues just spending time with myself in a room. My brain won’t shut up and I can’t concentrate.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing.”

“Why?”

“Because those are moments when you realize how much you’re feeling at once. You’re brain’s trying to tell you that you’re holding too much in. You shouldn’t do that.”

“Sometimes I don’t have anyone to talk to.”

“You always have me, Sara.”

“But you’re busy. You have school, your girlfriend, home. . .I don’t want you to have to shut off time just to deal with me.”

“Don’t think about it that way. You’re my best friend, you can always talk to me no matter what. Just because we have seperate crap means nothing. We’ve got long distance on lock by now.”

“I know.”

“Then know that I’m here for whatever you need.”

“Thanks, Rae. Besides my weirdness, how are you?”

“Semi-okay.”

“Why ‘semi’?”

He pauses,
“It’s Lace, she’s kind of . . .wanted more attention lately. It’s taken a lot out of me.”

“Tell her you need some time to rest. I’m sure she’ll get it.”

“I feel like she’s not asking for much, though.”

“She is if you’re exhausted.”

He sighs, “I’ll survive.”

I hear a beep on the other end, “Speak of the angel, she’s calling right now. Could I call you back later?”

“Yeah,” I say, reluctantly.

I press and feel a whirlpool of thoughts come to the front of my mind. I surround myself in a bundle of my sheets and comforter, hoping to drown the thoughts with sleep. Praying that my full exhaustion weighs to the point where my resistance caves in and I let my subconcious take over.

Smile! Smiling isn’t a sign of weakness, is it?

I was training last week and the manager had said that. As simple as it was, it made me think because how many of us smile on a daily basis with that thought in mind? Whenever I’m out, I feel like my smile is more of a form of surrender or kind of like a mini invitation. I smile more now because I used to keep this grim look on my face knowing that if I did, no one would talk to me and that was kind of what I wanted back then.  In a sense, smiling was an indication that my guard was down and that I was available to say ‘hi’ to or start conversation.

Never in my life have I heard someone inadvertantly descibe a smile as being a stregnth. Technically I’ve never thought of it that way because a smile doesn’t necessarily scream ‘stregnth’ in certain situations. Sometimes we smile to seem less intimidating. Intimidation felt by others is often felt because we think someone is stronger than us, so naturally they’re smiling to seem less of that, or to kind of have a very basic facial expression to relate to. If I see someone intimidating smile at me, I naturally feel at ease because I realize they’re not going to kill me with their words or arms. This makes me want to smile back because they’ve momentarily come to my level by giving me the most basic form of kindness.

Also, because smiling is such a basic act with so much power, it could be used as a weapon rather than a white flag. If someone’s trying to piss you off and you smile the entire time, it’s a really good way to piss them off instead. Their goal was to piss you off and you blasted that smile like one million pocahontas arrows, and they’re emotionally bleeding outwardly and internally now. All the result of you smiling. . . .I’ve come encounter with many people that have been sad at times, and me smiling at them (they said this, not me, I’m not that full of myself. . .) made their day better.

In both ways, a smile can be a weakness and a stregnth, I guess. Although, thinking of it as a stregnth is new to me, I feel like I might think that way more often. After I heard that statement though,  it made me think about what a smile can really do, rather than being a sheer visual for vulnerability or surrender. It can be way more than that.

My Life: End of the Week Celebration

I barely made it through this week. . .  .but it’s the end and I’m one whole human. I have all my toes, eyes, and other organs. I also am not standing in my own urine. . .which means that I didn’t get nervous enough to pee myself, because everybody hates smelling like that. No one really wants that . . .at least normal people don’t. . .

I had training for a new job this week, so it was intense. I now know every single dipping sauce, wing flavor, and specials plate at the restaurant I work at and yet and still. . .I have no idea what goes on our side salad. Luckily, we were not tested today so I rejoiced like nobodies business. I also met someone intensely amazing last weekend and spent a large portion of time talking to them and it was pretty cool. I feel like I don’t open up to people enough, and I was instantly spread out for this person (that sounded weird after I typed it. . .it’s not what it sounds like O.O)

I managed to actually get project work done today, but will be testing some parts out to see if my tutorial section can be easily followed and mimicked by others. I’m hoping it works out . . . .I’m excited O.O I will have a seriously riveting post for tomorrow and I’m excited for that also O.O even though it’ll just be me ranting. . . .

Alphabet of Life-ing: Define

This one still needs work, but posting it doesn’t hurt anyone (I hope. . . .).

If you haven’t read A,B, or C, here are the links for them:

A: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-lR
B: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-m5
C: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-ma

Also, here’s an explanation of the project: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-lP

Please enjoy this, if that’s possible 🙂
———————

Definition is purely based on perspective. Race is a funny and slightly accurate example. Ask someone what their ‘race’ is, and see what you get. Race is specifically fixed on physical characteristics, nothing more, but ask someone their race, and they’ll tell you my raid of things such as: black, white, African American, Hispanic, Asian. Notice there’s not many blatant ‘characteristic’ words in that list besides ‘white’ and ‘black’. An Asian doesn’t have a bubble that says ‘slim build, slightly slanted eyes, and small features’ nor does a Hispanic have ‘widened facial features, stalk build, and slightly pale to tan complexion. Based on what someone looks like, we’ve created customizable boxes that naturally generalize those characteristics with one word. Now, we’re all smart enough to know that no single race contains all the same features. There are many different Asians, Spanish/Hispanic, ‘white’, and ‘black’ people. For instance, not every ‘black’ person is from Africa. Are they still black?: yeah, because they share the same general f.eatures that help them graduate into that category, but whatever else about them is dependant on their culture and origin. Do people argue about this?: yes, because our perspective of races has a tendency to be based off of stigmas we create in society. When a certain person doesn’t fit that stigma, we question their race. Naturally when a black person isn’t ‘acting’ black, we rip the title away from them, completely disregarding the definition clearly written in the dictionary and basing our opinion on our perspective alone.

Should we stop this?: kind of, because it makes some seem ignorant when they use perspective to pin point someone’s race. We forget that people grow up in different places, experience different things, and grow up near different people. A black kid growing up on the south side of Chicago versus a black kid growing up in Zimbabwe are going to have major differences between one another. Does that make either of them less ‘black’ than the other?: no. In fact, they are both just as black, if we’re going by the text book definition that we should be going off of in the first place. Where am I going with this you may ask?: just giving an intro to defining. How I defined things changed over time or. . .more like my perspective changed which changed my definition of things. See what I did there?

When I was in middle school, it was pretty much puberty mode for everybody else, and I felt like school had become Noah’s Ark. Everyone was pairing up as if the world were flooding, and I realized I didn’t really have another platypus to pair up with. Disregarding the fact that I was too young to really be engaging in these things, I pinned it on looks. I felt that I wasn’t pretty enough and that’s why I couldn’t find another platypus to get on the boat with. It was a close friend of mine who lightly curb stomped me and  explained to me that the insides were what mattered. That it all depended on what your personality was like at the end of the day.

That’s when I had my ‘oh shit’ moment and realized that my insides were mere shrapnel in comparison to my looks. I was and am a broken human being who was vapid and dimwitted enough to think that looks were what was keeping me back. I realized my definition of ‘desirable/attractive’ was based on the warped perspective of a 12 year old. I had carried that into my first year of highschool, only to receive a Tekken Law kick to the jaw by a friend that, at the time, said one of the few wisest things I’d ever hear. I realized how ugly and undesirable my insides were. It just made everything look worse by association and I crumbled for awhile. I later realized I had to accept some of those things and remember that my perspective had to change to make my definition more accurate. I had to wake up and see that if my insides weren’t up to par, what really made me attractive or wanted in the first place? Why pine for someone when my internals are the equivalent to dog vomit?

If I feel like my personality is that of human fecal matter, why put that on someone knowing the result? Am I wrong for feeling like it’s pathetic to come to someone in pieces rather than whole? All  I can say is that having this piece of mind has molded me into someone that realizes that the inside shows right through. I’ve never been more grateful to realize at the age of 14 that. . . .I’m broken. It’s not my weight, it’s not my face, it’s not my lazy eye, it’s not my lack of certain parts, it’s me. I just needed to fix my definition to see that. To gain a new perspective.

image

Alphabet of Life-ing: Coffee

I didn’t post anything yesterday because there was nothing to post O.O. . . .I had nothing done yesterday because I was sick and started training for work 😦 but today is a ‘project #2’ day, so enjoy this third installment of ‘The Alphabet of Life-ing. I’ll be posting letter ‘D’ tonight also. If you haven’t read letters A or B, here are the links:

Letter A: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-lR

Letter B: http://wp.me/p3zzM5-m5

————-

I probably sound like an addict when I explain my love for coffee, but it’s one of the few reasons why living seems worth it. Coffee is more to me than a small dose of caffeine in the morning or afternoon. It’s not a pick me up or something to generate warmth.

First it’s the process. The whir of the coffee machine and the command of more water put in the well, followed by the silent purr of the water warming. The Italian roast kept above the the coffee machine peeks out from the cubbard. I grab it and shake it into the filter, smelling the dark and powerful aroma as I close the top of the machine. The coffee begins to fill the pot and the faint smell from the grounds becomes stronger and fills the room. I wait until every last drop has fallen. The anticipation is exciting and calming all at once. I choose one out of the many of my mugs, a tall deep red one.

I fill my cup and leave room for add ins. The thrill continues as I get a can of condensed milk and watch a dollop drip into the cup with satisfaction, adding a one more just in case. I take a spoon and stir, watching the brown turn into a light beige. I sit next to the open window and brace myself. As soon as my lips meet the cup, I feel a sense of warmth and security. A sense of home and comfort that I wish I felt at home. I savor the smell and the taste while I look out the window. The few times I feel safe is with a cup coffee in my hand. I feel safe. . .I feel warm. . .I feel like myself.

image

Life Update: Sickness . . . .

I was sick all weekend. My allergies slapped me in the face for the last three days, so I was incapacitated for a good couple of days getting absolutely nothing done. I have nothing to show for the project except what I worked on Monday through Wednesday and couldn’t even think of anything for my Friday and Saturday posts. . . .I will do better this week, seeing that more will get done I will not be sick. Hopefully everyone reading this had a good, germ free weekend.