A blog post that I wrote this time last year has been on my mind today. It was a post that I wrote about talking to those who had been affected by the Ft. McMurray fires this time last year. We are upon the one year anniversary of that terrible tragedy. I’ve read numerous articles over the past week from survivors who are still dealing with the aftermath from that time.
This memory has been weaving with a quote from, yes, one of my favorite book/film series of all time, Harry Potter.
This quote has been playing in my mind all day as I have been compiling ideas for this weekend’s blog post.
DumbOptimist is the version of myself that people don’t see too often. She is always lying under the surface, screaming to be part of a better world. She comes out during serious conversations, for example, when a co-worker and I were discussing a Mental Health seminar that we had attended at work last week. DumbOptimist has been the part of me that shares, that loves, that shows compassion. DumbOptimist is always there and it isn’t as hard for me to access her as it once was.
However, the top layer is pure sarcasm with a hint of cynicism. It’s my first line of defense. I take the sour and make it sweet for myself; it doesn’t sting as much when I make light of the situation. I grew up with showing my emotions when I was younger, but I was told to not take things so seriously. Now when I am in public, my way to deal with serious situations is to awkwardly make horrible jokes or poke fun at myself. Obviously if I’m joking about it it cannot sting all that much right? But as these emotions are buried they begin to feel the pressure until I burst.
This cynicism perhaps is something that has spread to a lot of people. The most popular TV shows and films to date are filled with war, violence, apocalyptic, dystopian horrors that people are thrilled to watch. 90% of the news follows in the same fashion. So it’s hard to see the good in the world when everything surrounding you appears to be in a horrible state.
Which brings me back to Dumbledore’s quote. And brings me back to this time last year when I spent days talking to people who had nothing left but the clothes on their backs. Despite everything these people went through, they were smiling. They were home. Their families were safe. During this time of tragedy, they were focusing on the good. They were being humbled by the generosity from their family, friends, and in many cases, complete strangers. Their stories were reminders that there are good people in the world who do reach out to help others without expecting anything in return.
The good in people, the good in humanity, is something that we don’t see nearly enough. It’s a damn shame. It’s got to the point for me that when people try to be nice I feel as though there must be strings attached or they are taunting me in some fashion. Naturally nice people are a rare gift that shines in the dark world we live in. Truly selfless people, they amaze and mystify me.
So when a co-worker who I have only known a short time offers to buy me coffee or hands me something that they say I can have for no particular reason other than to be nice, it’s both strange and wonderful at the same time.
But why does it have to be strange? Why are we in a world where it’s more acceptable to be an asshole than a decent human being? Where being decent is deemed as weak and asshole tendencies are revered to be strong?
To this DumbOptimist, being decent in a world of assholes shows more strength and integrity than anything else. It is so easy for the light to be extinguished around you when others are smothering the flame. It is so easy for situations to make you into a cynical asshole, that perhaps I can argue that I have become. But it’s up to you to keep the light shining, keep working to keep that light on; to be that light for others. It may be dark around you, but you never know when you are a light for someone else.
So that’s enough from me for one night. I think I’ve written all that I can for one evening without this turning sour. It’s time to bid adieu.
Cheers and Stay Smiling