“Optimism really has no place in psychotherapy,” said the woman on the podium that temperate October night. Over the wails of a particularly ponderous, pedantic old eristic, she gently continued with a saucy touch of arch, “What I’m trying to say here is it looks worse than it is.”
I like psychoanalysis and I like ladies so it makes sense that my views on optimism and realism are, to my wish-fulfilling mind, aligned with my idols.
I’ve been dogged by deeply depressed optimism-pushers all my days. They weren’t all the same. One was a manic, ecstatically passive-aggressive fireball. Another was blinded by an intoxicating cloud of mushy fakery; he couldn’t see or understand anything outside himself, drugged as he was in order to function. Another worked well with me when the conversation was superficial. I think I reminded him too much of himself. ‘Optimism’ under the auspices of the mostly males who have presented it to me has always seemed a needy, desperate, flimsy, candy-coated levee holding back an endless, restless torrent of hatred in all points directed.
And I like my hatred in the open. I don’t want to cap it so it explodes. In my experience of the world, acknowledging pain dissolves pain. Realism not negativism is the name of my prospective game. Realism heartens, optimism obfuscates. Optimism is fake. Realism is optimism.
There’s something so beautiful about staring into the vortex of sorrow, the disconsolate, destitute keening of despair! and accepting it and being humbled by it and made stronger by it, and kinder by it and that, if nothing else, is the goal on the eve of my four-and-twentieth year, notwithstanding erotic freedom.