Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Power of Negativity

I have a couple of different blog entries that have been rattling around in my brain for a while. Since the other involves copious amounts of pictures, I will ponder on this one for a while...

The sun's bright rays shine upon the heads of some people wherever they may step. Some people are so filled with positivity that rainbows spurt from their nose when they sneeze. I am not one of those people.

I am prone to negativity. Prone much in the way that a divining stick can't help but shake in the hand of its owner spastically until it reaches the water it seeks. Plainly put... I'm a bitch.

Or I can be. I've been working on it.

If I wanted to get all psycho-analytical about it, I guess I could blame it a childhood that rivals the plots of a Lifetime movie marathon on family dysfunction. I could blame it on those formative teen years when I took the "smart" classes, where I had no friends... or those same years when those same "friends" so openly talked about me behind my back... and I pretended not to care... well, because friends are so important during those formative teen years. I could make a whole list of things to blame it on, but I won't. Because it doesn't really matter.

I've gone through most of life having "one good friend" and then a circle of acquaintances. The "good friend" has fluctuated over the years, usually determined by which college I was attending or which job I was working at the time. The one constant though was the bonding factor that was our negativity and bitchiness.

I allowed myself to be absorbed into these toxic relationships for years. Friendships are mostly formed over common interests. Ours would be a general disdain for everything and everyone... and that's probably being kind.

In retrospect, I guess that I can look back now and see that it was the outward reflection of how unhappy I was with life. With myself. But that is me getting needlessly analytical again.

What is more important is that the time came in life, maybe about 5 years ago, when I became acutely aware of this trait. I would make effort to disengage myself from any conversations I saw leading to this path again. This meant rejecting some potential friendships and allowing myself not to "fake" others. In much the same way a recovering alcoholic is not going to hit the bars with his buddies, I was not going to engage in general bitchiness. This, of course, was a constant battle. I failed constantly. Not to make light of the alcoholic metaphor, I even found "sponsors"- generally upbeat people (those of rainbow snot) to absorb the good vibes from.

Then, I fell off the wagon completely. I fell hard and fast... for a new friend. I know that sounds... odd, but in reflecting on how quickly we fell into a friendship and then how harshly and abruptly it ended, it becomes very lucid how related the threads of all relationships are- friendship or otherwise. We skipped right over the acquaintance stage and fell into serious friendship quickly- the kind of friendship where on a day that you only e-mail about a dozen times and text about 30 messages, it feels like you hadn't talked at all that day. Then, the time came that I had to make some decisions for "me." And, just as abruptly as the hours long text marathons began, they ended. "Ended" is not an effective verb to truly express the abrupt halt to all forms of communication. The Break Up. In greater retrospect now, I can see how the negativity I had tried to pull away from had surfaced again, as a central point of that friendship. So much of our friendship was based on the common bond of disdain. Few conversations could evolve without general bitchiness pervading it. The faults of everyone else were just so evident to us... Then, I made decisions to remove myself from some of those situations- which was really best for all involved- and without that common basis about which to kvetch, the friendship ceased to exist. (And yes, I am being kind in that assessment. At peace.)

Now, I am back to trying to steel myself against the negativity that nips at me from every direction.

Jason once said about the military that "The only constant thing is change." The same can certainly be said about education. This year that can be said very loudly and very clearly. There a lot of changes going on... and I embrace every last one of them. It's draining to get on Facebook anymore and see the stream of complaints about school and work. In the face of so much stress and negativity, I have tried to be enthusiastically positive. I refuse to take part in the negative banter for the sake of being social. I am just not going to let myself get absorbed into it again. This can make for some lonely times.

Tonight I was faced with someone trying very hard to manipulate me into engaging in name-bashing someone who I work closely with and admire. I refused to give into it. As a matter of fact, I came to that person's defense when I could have just said nothing, and that felt pretty darn good.

So anyway, this is just what has been on my mind lately, being in an environment where it takes a conscientious effort to remain positive right now- and knowing how easily I can succumb to "The Negative." It's something I want to stay conscious of. To continue to strive toward.

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