37. shedding the body condom

Here’s what happened to me last week:

Monday morning, find my right rear tire almost completely flat. Pump it up again.

Tuesday morning, find my right rear tire almost flat again – I have a slow leak that must be looked at. Tuesday night my antenna breaks off my cell phone (for like the third time).

Wednesday, plagued by poor cell phone reception. Wednesday night my car gets broken into. Now this isn’t like picking or pulling the lock kind of break in, this is the kind of break in where they smash the passenger side window out. If it weren’t for the shards of leftover glass around the edges, it looks like I forgot to roll my windows back up. Luckily nothing was stolen. Still having tire problems.

Thursday morning, realize that something was stolen – my backpack – but there was nothing but paperwork from work in there. Thursday, early afternoon, realize that my checkbook was in there and that I need to get to the bank and close out the account before someone starts furnishing their living room, so I borrow my mother’s car to run some erands. Thursday late afternoon, find out it’s going to cost $170 to fix my window. Then mom’s car overheats so that I have to pull on the side of the road. Because of poor cell phone reception I can’t call anyone to come and help. I just have to sit and wait for the engine to cool off and pray that I can make it back home without a meltdown (I do).

Friday, got my window fixed but still having tire problems. Can’t go to Firestone to get it fixed until Sunday. Cell phone reception still sub-par.

Sunday, something happens (can’t go into detail…involves friends and assumptions on my part) that really knocks me off balance, mentally and emotionally. Well, at least I got my tire problem taken care of…and w/o charge (thanks, Firestone).

Fuck, it’s like I just can’t get a break. I mean the whole trying-to-think-positive thing was working up until Sunday, despite all the crap that happened this week. But I can only take so much and it’s like on Sunday, I reached the tipping point. And I’m scared shitless because I recognize the state it put me in – it’s the very state that I want to leave behind. I’m feeling the old bullshit paranoia – where I get to thinking that I’m a bad-luck magnet, that the twin moons that orbit my heart are named despair and frustration.

Life isn’t making it very easy, but I have to remember my new credo: optimism as a revolutionary concept.

Optimism truly is a revolutionary, subversive thing. There’s so much bullshit and cynicism and apathy out there – it’s like this thick, invisible fog that we’re saturated with. We breathe it in, it seeps in through our pores, it coats and clings to us like a slimy latex body condom. It’s getting to the point where seeing a genuine smile is like spotting the real Elvis (amid the many impersonators). The pessimistic view of life is an assumption. A genuinely positive outlook (not a blindly sunny or naive one) is a shiny, pastel colored middle finger in the face of all the nastiness out there.

You know what? Here’s one theory of why so many bad things happened this week. “Everyone has their own personal velocity,” writes Rebecca Miller. And it’s true. We all live life with certain assumptions and habits and comfort zones. Our lifestyle becomes a kind of vector by which our choices (and by extension, our future) can be predicted. It also develops a kind of wake around us that affects the things that surround us. Draw your hand through a still pool and you create a current. In the same way, our personal velocity exerts a pull on the life around us. Any change in direction will initially disrupt this flow.

I’ve made a decision to think more positively about life and this change grates against the momentum that all my years of negative thinking had developed. It’s no wonder that I’m running head on into these disturbances. I need to push past this initial resistance, put my head down and power through.

The world defaults to negativity and I’m issuing an open challenge to that assumption. It’s not easy but I must continue. I’m tired of thinking like everybody else. I’m tired of wallowing in the mud. There’s lots of fresh air and freedom to be found above the fog – I’ve just got to keep flapping my wings, flailing away while I pray for updrafts.

And the sky’s not the limit, it’s the only the beginning.


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