Obsessed With Positivity

Frowny-faced.  Don’t you just hate it when you see someone with lips all turned down at the edges and the forehead is all wrinkled?  “Happy Holidays!” you want to say, and then you reconsider because, the truth be told, those down-turned lips are scary.

I’m the first to admit to life’s difficult times.  Originally, the title of this post was going to be “Obsessed with negativity.”  It’s actually something I know a little bit about, so I was set on blasting our national tendency to sink into whatever cesspool of the month makes us feel sad, scared, angry, bitter, or distrusting.  You know, the old “if it bleeds, it leads” form of journalism.  But, I changed my mind.  I changed my mind because I get tired of giving negative news oxygen.

When I was little we could sometimes irritate our older relatives with our spontaneous, out-of-control laughter.

“What do you have to be so happy about?  Maybe you need something to do.”

We had something to do.  At Easter, my favorite holiday, we would eat jelly beans, Marshmallow Peeps, paint Easter eggs and fill Easter baskets.  We’d wear our new clothes with hats and gloves for church and dirty the gloves with chocolate Easter bunnies.  Wasn’t that “doing something?”

We relaxed as spring, evidence of renewal, warmed our frozen little hands.  Even frowny adults smiled when, after a long and hard winter, the first tiny buds appeared on what would become honeysuckle vines.  Even the most cantankerous neighborhood elder would find him/herself out in the sun marveling at the delicate green of new grass as they planned where the tomatoes would go later on in the summer.  My obsession with positivity began with the spring.

There are childhood things that stick in your mind like bubble gum to a shoe for no really good reason.  Like the melodies and words for each weekday’s theme song from the Mickey Mouse Club (good for getting our bass player to bend into a laughing U shape).  Or Shirley Temple singing, “On the Goo-oo-ood Ship Loll-lee (screech) Pop.” Or “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra.

I am embarrassed to admit these things.  But the truth is the truth.

These songs, as goofy as they were, had an impact.  One of my favorites was the theme of a Sunday radio show broadcast from a local church.  “Happy Am I!” the minister and congregation chanted back and forth.  The ebullient song with its positive surety made a difference in my pre-teen mind, and, still, more than 40 years later I find myself singing it when I need to remind myself that, yes, I am happy.  Words have power.

Have you ever checked out tree frogs?  I was in upstate New York one summer, and a friend and I were listening to tree frogs.  They begin their chatter at dusk, croaking to each other in a call and response fashion that sounds like a lovers’ spat—all in croak-speak of course.

“Yes, you did!”

“No, I didn’t!”

“Yes, you did!”

“No, I didn’t!”

Reminds me of some conversations I’ve had.

“9.6% of workers are unemployed!”

“90.4% are employed!”

“9.6% of workers are unemployed!”

“90.4% are employed!”

Tree frogs.

I have crafted a plan for myself.  I spend at least a half hour every day in laughter.  It feels good, burns calories (the research says so…) and Lord knows I need it.

Recently, I canceled a subscription to a popular magazine.  Over the years, the publication had changed editors, and I had hoped that with an editorial shift the content would get lighter, less critical; less cynical.  It did not.  Annoying Cynicism should be its title.

So, keeping the corners of my mouth turned up and my heart open, I canceled.  I just didn’t want weekly cynicism as a part of my days.

Go ahead.  Say I’m in denial.  Call me Pollyanna.  Believe me I have been called so very much worse.  But whatever you call me, call me laughing because I am obsessed with positivity.

One response to “Obsessed With Positivity

  1. Thanks Sala, you’re right – words ARE powerful! And we do have a choice, I rarely watch my local news programme and other supposed ‘current affair’ programmes due to the scare mongering and negativity. I’m no Pollyanna (believe me!) either, but I don’t believe I need extra fear injected into me on a daily basis!
    Have a wonderful happy smiley day 🙂

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