As I said in a previous post, I was always among the smallest kids in my class, any class, any grade. Not always the smallest, but amongst them. What does this mean? I’ve never felt truly tiny, but definitely small. Now, somewhere in my youth my mother expressed that I’d probably be as tall as my tall brother Jimmy, ten years my senior and six feet tall. Why would she say this? I don’t know: she was five feet four and my dad was five feet six. Who was she kidding?
Well…apparently me, because I spent years thinking I’d be tall. But five feet six has been my stopping point, and here I remain. But I can’t quite figure out what this means, her telling me I would be tall. I never thought of my mom as a liar, or someone who would just say anything to make someone feel good (which issue I won’t get into right here: why is tall associated with better, moreso than short is?).
If that was the case, that taller was better in her eyes, or that she at least thought it would make me feel good to hear it, then the issue I want to touch on is the false optimism, if I can call it that.
You see, I live in a near-constant state of optimism. As Hedwig said, “I feel so optimistic.” I can be endlessly encouraging of others in their affairs. I was like that for myself, for years as I coasted through a rather hopeless situation with friends that were probably not the best for me (and the converse is true too, I’m sure). Yet I had a mantra of sorts, which I repeated to them and to myself, which was simply about things always getting better.
Was that true? Actually things stayed stagnant for long stretches, and in the grand timeline things may have petrified or putrified and just died. So was I wrong to be optimistic? For myself, it did finally get better; I eventually stood my ground and took care of me, which meant leaving those friends behind. So maybe I was right to be optimistic: ultimately I broke out of stagnation and headed into growth and the realization of my optimism.
So, I will never be tall as my mother suggested. But was optimism wrong? Well, it was pointless in that case, but in the grand scheme I don’t think it’s wrong. I’d rather be optimistic (but not foolishly so) instead of pessimistic. In therapy I gleaned that retaining one’s optimism and hope is akin to owning one’s power. If I am hopeless, I have let someone take my power away.
Nowadays, whether I’m tiny, short, regular or whatever, I have my own power. It comes from the inside, from a big heart full of love and hope. I spent enough time in foolish optimism; now I live in the real thing.