don’t hate me for being hopelessly optimistic

You know, I’m not an artist. I’m not even very crafty when it comes to glue, paper, scissors, and yarn. I fancy myself a writer – which is just an easier way to say than “creative professional” since that requires me to constantly clarify myself.

The truth is – while I’ve always identified myself as a creative person – I’ve always been jealous of artists and markers. I can’t compete. And now, something its difficult to write to an audience of crafty people (that’s you!) with any sort of authority.

But there’s one thing I know I can offer to you: my relentless optimism.

While I’ve suffered from depression all my life, I’ve always had a special knack for seeing bad situations as happy little glimmers of hope. Let’s call it my creative super power. Well, just between you & me because if I tried to tell the internet that, they’d think I was weird.

I really try – no try is a bad word because I just DO – to see every missed opportunity, dip, challenge, confrontation in only the most positive of terms. And frankly, I get pretty tired of people who don’t, at least outwardly, try to see the world the same way. Does that make me a bad person? I figure that languishing on a less-than-ideal (or downright bad) situation is really pointless.

If you consider yourself a creative person, who are you to take a situation at face value?

No, I think as someone with a love for outside-the-box thinking, you owe it to yourself see the events of you day as little differently than the average joe.

After you’ve given yourself adequate time (in most cases less than 24 hours, in many cases about 15 minutes to an hour) to accept the situation you’re presented with:

  • understand that it’s rarely as bad as it seems at the onset.
  • acknowledge that a challenge is an opportunity to reinvent yourself or what you do.
  • believe that negativity begets negativity and that positivity begets positivity.

Seriously, life (or the events that sometimes make it up) can suck. You can make the choice to accept sucky situations with a shitty grin.

Get creative – and tell me how things change.

{image credit: “true colors” fine art photo by sabinar}

17 thoughts on “don’t hate me for being hopelessly optimistic

  1. Tara,
    I came over on a link from http://www.madebymegs.blogspot.com and immediately ran into this:

    “The truth is – while I’ve always identified myself as a creative person – I’ve always been jealous of artists and markers. I can’t compete.”

    Geez, did you ever nail it with that one sentence! I majored in art history in college because I knew I didn’t really have what it took to actually make it as a (capital A) “Artist”. For years I carried this little voice inside me that taunted, “You were just too SCARED, ya fraidy-cat.” Well, I am now able to admit that I WASN’T scared, d*mmit, I just knew myself and my talents better than I was willing to accept.
    I know this comment is a little off topic for your post question, but I had to just say thanks for being brave enough to say it out loud.

    1. Chris, I’m so happy that you can look at your decision to go into Art History as a true reflection of your passion. My situation is almost opposite: I majored in Religion because that was my passion, future jobs be damned!

      I beat myself up for 4 years because I wasn’t in the field and when I finally stumbled upon my current career, I realized that it was okay to use everything I had been taught in an related way.

      Well, now I’m not sure that that’s opposite yours… but I felt it related. Oh well!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I wouldn’t be happy without my optimism! It drives me, and makes me some great friends…I use it to fuel my fire, and I have always fallen into place with it. It’s the key to MY success!

  3. “And frankly, I get pretty tired of people who don’t, at least outwardly, try to see the world the same way. Does that make me a bad person? I figure that languishing on a less-than-ideal (or downright bad) situation is really pointless.”

    This struck home for me! I’m all about positive action. Once I figure out the problem, and brainstorm a way out of/around/over it, I need to move and get it done. I have a hard time with people that don’t at least try to figure a way out of a bad situation. How is staying in that bad situation good for the soul? Don’t they know they have the power to change it?

  4. Hi Tara,
    I came to this page via Facebook
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/scoutiegirl
    and I must say that what you’ve stated rings so true. One of the things I do when I’m away from my studio is to teach people with depression that there can be a positive outcome from making mistakes especially when one is learning something new. Your quote about stepping back and evaluating the situation contains some of the same things I tell my students.

    After you’ve given yourself adequate time (in most cases less than 24 hours, in many cases about 15 minutes to an hour) to accept the situation you’re presented with:

    * understand that it’s rarely as bad as it seems at the onset.
    * acknowledge that a challenge is an opportunity to reinvent yourself or what you do.
    * believe that negativity begets negativity and that positivity begets positivity.

    Thanks for the optimistic post!

  5. its so easy to get stuck in the guck as i call it. i try to allow myself a day or so of letting go and then before i know it my thoughts automically set towards positive. i am so grateful that i am able to do that but i truly believe it the community of creative and thoughtful people that i surround myself with both online and in my personal life that help me get through the darkness. i am thankful for posts like this that help me feel not alone. much love

  6. Tara – I think depression is Nature’s way of making high energy, brilliant, creative, ambitious and stupendously motivated people take a bit of a break.

    The amount of insanity we bring to the table practically requires a brick wall, or a Cayce Pollard might say “a duck in the face at 250 knots” just to keep our feet on the ground.

    Otherwise our heads would explode from being overstuffed with ideas. And that would be really messy. Gross, even.

    1. Dave – It’s funny that you say that. I totally agree – although, I think my deepest depressions have been because my mind was so sick of NOT creating. So the periods tend to precede my crazy periods of creation and not conclude them.

      But it’s funny because my post for tomorrow is on Sabbath keeping. I truly respect the idea of the Sabbath and recently heard a definition that I think rings REALLY true for creative people. My post won’t be so much about grasping for or forcing *balance* but letting go on a regular basis so that you can push yourself that much hard.

      I’ll be interested to hear what you think!

  7. Wow- such an amazing post. As someone who has also struggled with depression (which is tough to admit) this really struck home with me… I’ve found the more I open up to people & the more I allow myself to explore creatively the better I feel, it’s really powerful stuff. & Darlin’ – you are pretty dang creative & crafty in your writing…give yourself some serious props for that talent!

  8. Is depression common among creative people? I can also get pretty depressed when I’m not creating (or doing something i like, for that matter lol)…… and creating is our outlet. Our way of lifting our depression and pushing it to the side, only to come back again when we’re not….. creating….

    In regards to where you say “After you’ve given yourself adequate time (in most cases less than 24 hours, in many cases about 15 minutes to an hour) to accept the situation you’re presented with…” I always remember what my parents say: “Everything has a solution, except death”, and this is enough for my brain to start working on a solution and indeed seeing that (as you say):
    -understand that it’s rarely as bad as it seems at the onset.
    -acknowledge that a challenge is an opportunity to reinvent yourself or what you do.
    -believe that negativity begets negativity and that positivity begets positivity

  9. Although I know everyone has to vent now and again…I totally agree with the feeling of annoyance when folks languish. The negativity and pity me attitude, even though they don’t really want your pity…it’s all so annoying to me. Perhaps I’m just too insensitive? But it’s definitely hard to hang around folks who are constantly in that mode. I’m definitely optimistic and although I go through the range of emotions like any human – the end is always about moving forward, looking for the positive and enjoying life. I mean, what else are we here for? :)

  10. Great post, tara. These are the kinds of things I’ve been thinking about most, lately, especially because my lifestyle is such that i am in a constant state of frustration about having to put everything I enjoy most “on hold” until the wee hours of the morning, primarily because my full time job sucks up most of my time and energy. Trying to have a business that I work on at night has put the word “Balance” into a constant theme in my mind, but I have to say, I’ve not done a very good job. Partly because of sleep deprivation and partly b/c of the stress of having a full time job, business, & family to “balance”, my health has been steadily deteriorating. As an herbalist, my true passion, I know that stepping back, allowing myself the space to rest, reflect, and regenerate, is the most important thing I can do right now. I’m woefully behind in everything else when I allow myself that space. But if I don’t take care of myself, the rebound won’t happen. It’s disappointing to not be able to “do it all”, but you also have to listen to your own body (and mind) and be attentive to what is right for YOU in your life. (“You” being all of you great people out there)

  11. Tara,

    I believe being optimistic is a way of life – sorta like brushing your teeth. You just do it. Sometimes I forgot that my way of living is “optimistic” because it’s who I am. Every so often friends will say “Wow, you’re so positive with this situation”, which throws me off. I always say “Eh, I guess I just look at it as a chapter in my autobiography”.

  12. Hey Tara,

    Yes, this was really good to see for me today. I, too, have been struggling with depression my whole life and now that I am doing this freelance thing full time it is hard for me not to go down that rabbit hole. But when I look around my life, it is pretty damn good. I’ve got a wonderful husband, great friends, some artistic talent (if I’d just get out there and show more people) and so many wonderful opportunities. I just to need to learn to brace myself more often and jump and get stuff done, knowing that someone will catch me if I fall. Here’s to embracing the good side of things!

  13. I’m slowly coming around to being optimistic and positive about more things in my life. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression about 6 months after my daughter was born, but I knew I had been suffering with depression for many years before that. It was almost like an awakening – I could be honest with myself – and others – about who I was and, more importantly, what I was.

    I’ve found my depression to be a bit of a hindrance for my creative flow – if I don’t have success, either through sales or acceptance from others, for a stretch, I slide down; once down, I procrastinate and find excuses to not do any work. But the “up” days…whoa, watch out. I’ll be on a creative tear :)

  14. Great post! I also consider myself an eternal optimist, and as you say, once you’ve given yourself time to accept the situation, then it is time to move forward. I was made redundant last year, and even in that gap between when we were told of possible redundances, and when I lost my job, I was beginning to think about the possibilities of self-employment. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that a meeting with a lifecoach convinced me to commit completely to being full-time self-employed, and to not look for a temp job.

    I’m not too sure how the 7.1 earthquake six months later fits in, but I guess I did look on the positives of that too. Like how no-one died (a combination of the time of day it struck, and our good building standards). Also the fact that (presumably) the most dangerous buildings have now been demolished and will be replaced with much safer new buildings. The other positive was how it brought out the best in people, with strangers helping others to clean up, and how businesses like hairdressers and fish ‘n’ chip shops shared their premises with their competitors whose buildings had been damaged.

    As my father has always said ‘What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’. Bring on an awesome 2011 I say!

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