After rolling my eyes at Facebook's "Thankful November" exercise in gratitude (you've seen the happy status updates, I'm sure), I've decided to set aside my genetically based cynicism and innate ability to find the worst angle from which to view any double rainbow, and give it a try. Right here on this page.
But first, a word about the preternaturally positive people who seem to levitate among the rest of us pissed-off souls grinding through each day.
We all know these folks. Some of us are married to them. We lie next to them in bed at night resentfully wallowing in our angst and insomnia while they sleep. At times, we may or may not roll away with a sigh and a death grip on the blankets, leaving the sleeping beauties exposed to the bedroom elements. Oh, I'm sorry, honey. Did I wake you?
When the news gets bad, optimists don't continue to listen and grumble; they turn on some reggae and notice the sunset. Their auras shimmer as they look on the bright side of every damned thing. It makes a pessimist want to shot-put a kitten. (Step away from the keyboard, cat ladies. That's hyperbole.)
My husband is the optimist in our relationship. He's the yin to my yang. He's the glass-is-half-full to my fuck-that-glass-I-hate-that-glass-so-I-smashed-that-glass-on-the-floor-and-now-it's-empty-forever-and-you-can't-argue-it's-not.
"It's OK," he'd say. "It's just a thing. I love you no matter what."
Oomph. Forget kittens. I want to shot-put myself.
I'm just not hardwired for positivity. The optimist is as far away from me on the evolutionary chain as Lily Allen is to understanding her own misogynoir. Oops! There I go getting all negative. Hitting the reset button now—.
Unlike my friends Andy, Rich and Philip, who were all probably born that way, I have to consciously choose to be that way. My friend Rachel is perpetually unperturbed, cruising through life with an enviable contentment. And my friend Tiffany is eternally positive even during the 11 months that are not "Thankful November." Even in the face of a health crisis. So (I apologize in advance for the schmaltz to follow), how hard can it be to find things for which to be grateful?
I'll start with the low-hanging fruit and work from there:
· I'm thankful for my husband, who's awesome in many ways and who does all the laundry and doesn't complain anymore when I leave my sweaty gym clothes inside out.
· I'm thankful for my incredible child. She continually smashes my lip balm into an unusable glob, but she also wears her retainer to bed without me asking. I repeat: She also wears her retainer to bed without me asking. Rejoice!
· I'm thankful for my in-laws, who are about to descend on us for four months. I repeat: Four months. Maybe "thankful" is too strong a word?
· I'm thankful for my health. Aside from the shingles—that's been a day at the comedy club, let me tell you. Stand in a puddle of your own urine, stick your finger in a light socket, add a festering rash and—zoinks!—hello, herpes zoster.
· I'm thankful for octopus hickies (h/t to über-positive-status-updating Tiffany for cluing me in to that phenomenon).
· I'm super-thankful for baby platypuses, too. If all cats could transform into baby platypuses immediately after having their amniotic sacs licked clean, world peace could ensue. Except for all the guns making world piece difficult. But guns don't kill people. People kill people, and I'm thankful for that clarification from the NRA. To be honest, I was starting to worry.
· Speaking of people killing people, I'm thankful a murder charge is being brought against the guy who shot 19-year-old Detroit resident Renisha McBride in the face—even if it's only second-degree murder, and even if it's all a show and it's really the dead girl on trial, and even though they'll smear her reputation on the way to exonerating her killer à la Trayvon Martin because she was drunk and high on marijuana so she must have had it coming, right? Oh, shit. That was not positive. That was sarcastic and cynical—some might say realistic—but not positive. Baby platypuses, everyone!
· I'm thankful for what is perhaps my favorite reader feedback ever: "You are a ass. You do not know what adoption is or what it about you need to do your research next time what a dip shit you are". Correction: "an ass" and "dip-shit." Also: punctuation.
· I'm thankful for the sign on the new restaurant down the street that reads, "Aztecs Eat Here, Why Don't You?" I appreciate that this question answers itself.
· Let's see—what else? Oh! I'm thankful for whatever toxins Monsanto is putting in dirt that makes it possible for me to eat delicious palm-sized strawberries in mid-November. If they can make tomatoes have taste again, I say bring on the carcinogens.
· I'm thankful for the positive people in my life who show me how to be a better woman. Folks, you complete m—OK, no. This experiment is over. Deepak-style emoting is almost as gross as Piers Morgan telling Serena Williams in a CNN interview last year, "I have wanted to squash my beef with you for a long time." Yes, he and his chin waddle did that.
Don't lose heart, readers. In two weeks, I'll return to my regular programming as a blanket-stealing, cat-hating, bullshit-calling woman. If being a naysayer keeps me up at night, so be it. That is, for better or worse, who I am.