Much like Lemony Snicket, this post will not have a happy ending.
If you are interested in a post with a happy ending, then this post is not for you. It has no happy ending, nor a happy beginning, and not much happy stuff in the middle either. For the optimist is dead.
The only reason this post is not terribly useless is because “sometimes, just saying that you hate something, and having someone agree with you, can make you feel better about a terrible situation.”
This is your last chance to turn back. You can still click out of this link and go read an article about a rainbow, or a puppy or something. You don’t have to have the glass or realization shattered.
I have always been an optimist.
I have always been able to find the positive in a negative situation. But not anymore. I used to be able to find the silver lining easily. But not anymore. The world is too dark and too horrible of a place. I am sad for my child who will have to grow up in this world. I’m afraid to think of what the world will be like when I laying on my death bed. Will I be leaving the world a better place? At this rate, probably not. See? Before I probably would have said “Absolutely! I am going to make a difference!” But not anymore. The optimist died somewhere along the way.
How did the optimist die? Oh, well that is a said story, but I will tell it. The optimist inside me kept seeing the headlines. “26 Dead in Church Shooting”, “Another Baby Dies After Being Left in Car”, and so on. And she (the optimist) just couldn’t take it anymore.
The words that ran through her mind over and over were words like “church” or “another.” She couldn’t help but think about being at church Sunday morning and what she would have done in that situation. Then she read that the youngest victim was 18 months old. That was the same age as her son. While the optimist is dead, you can still hear sounds of her weeping echoing in the deep dark. And she is weeping now. When she saw that the baby left in the car was there for 8 hours alone, she couldn’t help but break into a puddle of tears. That poor soul. It has been said “…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” But I’m afraid a good cry can’t help this.
When the optimist inside of me died, it left a shell.
It left me. Alone. Something is missing now and the emptiness is overwhelming. “If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.” I lost who I was when the optimist died. She left a gaping hole in my heart and soul, and I’m not quite sure how to fill it now. Have you ever been walking up the stair in the dark? And you swear there is one more step when there isn’t? And when you try to step your foot falls flat to the floor, through the air and the darkness? A sickly feeling creeps in and your stomach turns for a moment because you have to “try and readjust the way you thought of things.” I’m still experiencing the dark surprise. I’m still readjusting.
I’m still experiencing the dark surprise. I’m still readjusting.
I am a teacher, on the front line of encouraging and inspiring our youth. I get to see smiling faces daily. And I have to step out of this shell and smile back. I realized she (the optimist) died when I was asked if I agreed with the great Martin Luther King Jr’s quote: “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
I sat there in silence after being asked by a bright-eyed student whose optimist is still living. I paused. I couldn’t speak. My throat closed up. My eyes were wide and unblinking. I quickly remembered where I was and who I was talking to and I put on a fake smile and responded with my teacherly answer, hoping to inspire hope.
The student walked away and I realized I didn’t believe what Martin Luther King Jr said. It hit me that upon reading his wise words, I laughed to myself “Yeah right, love never wins.” Right then, I realized she was dead.
The optimist was beaten and bruised. She was tired and lonely. She had to endure seeing hate on a daily basis. While she got to work in a school and see the happy, smiling children, she also saw the dark side. She heard about the abusive fathers and addicted mothers. She saw students get defeated by social pressures, family life, addictions, and sadly other educators. She saw the flickering light of hope go out in the eyes of students who secretly wrote of suicide in their journals.
She did what she was supposed to do. She reported to CPS, she called parents, and she informed counselors. But every time she found another baby bird with a broken wing in need of assistance she died a little more. The optimist was black and blue, and she didn’t have the strength.
She had to sit on the floor of a dark classroom with her students as they practiced what procedure to follow if there was a school shooting. What a sad thought and practice. I listened to their hushed whispers, even though it was a drill, as they were scared. What a sad world. “One of the most troublesome things in life is that what you do or do not want has very little to do with what does or does not happen.” So in seeing this, the optimist lost the will to fight, she stopped persevering, and I didn’t even realize it.
The optimist was beaten and bruised. She was tired and lonely. She had to endure seeing hate on a daily basis.
Now that she is gone, all I am left with is myself. And it sure is lonely not having that part of myself. “It is a sad truth in life that when someone has lost a loved one, friends sometimes avoid the person, just when the presence of friends is most needed.” I hope one day I can find her again. It won’t ever be the same, but maybe one day I can find a small version of her.
Until then, I will fake a smile and go through the motions. Colors are a bit more dull. Music, loses its melody. And words begin to lose meaning. My mind is so cluttered with doubt that I find myself reading the same sentence over and over. I find myself reading the same sentence over and over. I find myself reading the same sentence over and over.
All unsited quotes are from the incredible series Lemony Snicket: Series of Unfortunate Events