Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rose-colored glasses

I remember being a child and looking at the world with a different perspective. Everything seemed brighter, and happier and more positive. Yes, the world had its negatives, bad things happened, but as a child, unless it is dumped right in your front

yard, those things happend far away to other people and we went right on trusting and seeing things through our rose colored glasses. Until one day those glasses are gone. I suppose it happens at different times for everyone, depeding on their circumstances. For me, i think it was right before my Grandmother died.
I loved my Grandmother more than anyone else in my little world when I was young. She played with me, took me for long walks in the woods, taught me to love to read, told me stories about her childhood...I learned so much from her. She was the kindest woman I have ever known, and I have often wished I could be more like her.
When I was 11 she was diagnosed with colon cancer. And by the time they opened her up, it was too late. The cancer ate her up completely and in less than a year she was nothing more than a shell of the person she used to be. I remember very clearly the night I lost my rosy perspective on the world. My family and I were at the hospital, sitting around the bed of this thing that used to be my best friend, and it occured to me that there was no turning around from this, she wasn't going to get better. I remember looking at her and silently wishing for her to die. Thats a huge pile of guilt for a 12 year old to shoulder. Especially when no one else is talking about it, at least they weren't talking to ME about it. When she did finally die (of starvation...I still get a sinking feeling when i see footage of the death camps in Germany because at the end she looked so much like a holocost victim it was unsettling), I felt sad and I cried..but the overwhelming emotion I felt was relief. I can look at this all now and reason through it, and see it for what it was. But back then, i felt so guilty. This woman, who had taken care of me, taught me...and loved me so deeply, how did i repay her? when she needed me most I wished her dead and then felt relief when she was gone. Yeah, bye-bye rose colored glasses, hello harsh reality.
Suddenly there was so much more to be afraid of, things that I used to see with such trusting eyes I saw as threats to my little world. I second guessed every thing said to me, people had to earn my trust; i never just gave it willingly. The world became a very dark place. There were still bright not saying my entire adolecence was dark and dismal, but it certianly wasnt a place of sunshine and warm fuzzies. I struggled in the negativity and I really disliked being pessamistic but I had no real notion of how to change it and it seemed the further down that path I went, the harder it was to turn around.
It wasnt until after I had my daughter that I started the long fight back. Seeing through a child's eyes was more than enough motivation to want to get back to what I had lost. But not completely. I dont think i would ever want to be a complete optimist anymore than I want to be a complete pessamist, I think that being to one extreme or the other is bad, a balance is good. I consider myself a realist, I can see the positives and negatives in any given situation, and I can make choices either way depending on what is best. I will trust until I'm given reasons not to, and I really try to give people the benifit of the doubt, and when people are hurting I always try and say something positive. Thats probably why it really hurts me when people refer to me as pessamistic or negative. If they had only seen where I've come from, I think they might have a different point of view.
With all of the "doom and gloom" going on in todays world, I think more of us need to be able to look at things and say "you know what? This is a horrible thing, what can we do to make it better" and then move on. One thing i've noticed, the more you look at things in a positve light, the more positive things you tend to see; people stopping to let other people out in traffic, people in the grocery store letting others in front of them in line because they have less food in their baskets, neighbors helping shovel out neighbors driveways after a big storm. Things that make you smile and be happy to be part of humanity. It really is the little things that make life worthwhile.
Perhaps instead of striving for rose colored lenses, people should be content with amber tinted, things might not look quite as good, but at least things are still bright enough to want to keep your eyes open and looking ahead.

1 comment:

Holly said...

I know what you mean...there are points in our lives that wake us up to the "real world"-which is really just another lesson for us to learn in this life. I know I am a very optomistic person and I realize that sometimes I am too optomistic but the second I let myself become negative, I'm stuck-it's like a huge black hole I get sucked into-so to stay out of it, I have to think about the positive no matter how gloomy the siutation. And you're right, the more you think about positives, the more you see-Sometimes I wonder if I'm just fooling myself and most of the days the answer is "yes" because there are so many bad things in this world but I like my rose colored glasses and I think I'll keep them on!! You look good in Amber-I would keep wearing those!
By the way-do other people read your blog? You know, I've tried to get on Sali's and I can't seem to bring it up. At home I don't get anything and here the web security won't let me through.