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Here we have Buddhism with a quote from The Wire. This is officially the best self-help book ever.

Here we have Buddhism with a quote from The Wire. This is officially the best self-help book ever.

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Fuck Optimism (and Puppies and Kittens, too)

Saturday night, I found myself restless and made a trip to my local library.

Yes, this is what I do on Saturday nights these days: go to the library.

I went in search of Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist. Coming up empty, I decided to take a leisurely stroll down the aisles. As I soaked in the quiet and the many titles, one book stood out: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking I saw visions of me and this book having romantic afternoons in the park, hanging out at the lake to take in a sunset, curled up together on my couch or in my bed, snuggling under the covers. The book was meant to be my bae. So of course, I checked it out.

The book has been on my nightstand since Saturday and I’m through about thirty pages. So far, I’ve read nothing life-altering, but seeing the title on my nightstand when I wake up makes getting out of bed easier. Now I know I’m not a leper on the many mornings when “Fuck” is the first word that leaves my lips.

Because let the American Cult of Positivity tell it, I am indeed a leper.

The Cult follows me everywhere. Via inspirational quotes, online life coaches and Instagram hashtags. They follow me to work at 7:30 A.M. when I’m just trying to pour my damn coffee and have to explain why I answer “How are you doing” with “I’m okay” instead of “Great!” They write self-help books, and Improve Your Life by the Time You Finish These 850 Words articles. They speak in cliches at seminars and mentoring lunches, reminding me how they changed their lives and “made it happen” because they committed to happiness (or its cousin success) and rid themselves of all things negative.

Here’s what I found when I tried membership in the Cult of Positivity: it never prevented me from feeling shitty about myself. Instead of just feeling shitty about my imperfections, I also felt shitty about feeling shitty because it made me “negative”. Obviously, I’m no expert, but I’m sure this defeats the purpose of positive thinking.

Whether I like it or not, I am prone to brooding and overthinking (as I type, I am overthinking this post so much that writing it is torture). My pain, worries, anger, and fears will not be ignored or swept under the rug. They are loud and demanding. My “negative thoughts” don’t afford me the luxury of pouring sugar on them and calling them cake. They are pungent and will always reek of shit. For me, and I’m sure for many of you, life is hard and pursuing perpetual happiness and sunshine only makes it more difficult.

I’ve now been writing for two hours and have yet to come to a point. I’m going to attempt to carve one out now so I can close WordPress and stop looking at this train wreck of a post.

It’s okay to be moody.

It’s fine if “okay” is the best you can do most days.

You’re not a bad person if motivational quotes make you violent.

Fuck optimism. Let yourself be human, especially when you find yourself feeling shitty.

And if you’re in the population for whom life is often just fucking hard, I leave you with words of wisdom from my dear friend, La:

I don’t believe in dream selling, so I’ll tell you what I know; growing is fucking painful. And not in a this-is-uncomfortable-for-me kinda way. It’s a long lasting, backbreaking, soul crushing, rolling-around-in-bed-in-the-middle-of-the-night-asking-God-why-He’d-have-you-endure-such-a-thing feeling. It feels unbearable for long stretches of time.La, Growing Pains | Liquor, Loans and Love

You are not alone.

P.S. I’m sure the Cult of Positivity wants to burn me at the stake by now. Here is my list of additional dislikes in case you need reasons to throw more wood on the fire:

  • “Love” as a magical conqueror of all
  • “Don’t worry” as advice
  • Dreams
  • PDA (exceptions for the Carters and the Union-Wades)
  • Puppies and kittens (Okay, these guys aren’t that bad, but I have allergies, so keep them away)

P.P.S. Forgive me for this craptastic post.

Fuck Optimism (and Puppies and Kittens, too) was originally published on The Skinny Black Girl

Filed under optimism the antidote: happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking theskinnyblackgirl

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These days I’ve had some difficulty seeing the forest for the trees. Which I’ve been beating myself up about.

But if the trees aren’t tended to, the forest doesn’t grow. So imma let myself worry about the trees.

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The power of your thoughts determines your experience of life. Pluto’s energy in your 3rd House prompts you to transform your thinking. You must learn to trust your own intelligence, and to develop your mind in such a way that will allow you to experience an understanding of life at core levels. You ask questions, although many are never verbalized. They just drive you, like a relentless taskmaster, to look beneath the surface. You can be overcome by compulsive thought patterns, and when you do, you can find it difficult to release yourself from them. These compulsions can be a power drain, especially if they reach the obsessive level.
Natal Pluto In House 3 - Aux Mailles Godefroy

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But this discussion obscures the glaring fact that it’s not actually a reliable sign of “self-respect” to hold out for a commitment, and, in fact, hunger for that wedding ring and the validation it represents causes its own host of problems. Plenty of women clip their own wings, stifle their own opinions, and suffer mightily in hopes of getting a wedding ring, all while making noises about how “sluts” don’t respect themselves.
Amanda Marcotte

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It reminds me of how you’ll often read conservatives denounce the “hook-up culture” on the grounds that you could fall in love and get your heart broken, without pausing to consider, for even a moment, that the steady drip-drip of people into divorce courts in our country suggests that getting married is hardly a respite from that particular danger. And, if anything, women in our society are in more danger of believing that they need a committed partnership to be worth something. 

If you’re going to warn girls about the danger of being “sluts,” warn them about the dangers of marriage | Raw Story