Friday, March 11, 2011

Half Full

You ever heard that term Debbie Downer? Lately I feel like I’ve been hearing it quite a bit from people saying it to me because they are venting about their life or just having an honest moment where not everything is perfect or upbeat. The phrase actually makes me smile now because when my sisters were in Florida, NR made reference to a woman who was a real Debbie Downer. She repeated the term and even slowed it down a bit for emphasis because she lacked a better way of describing the woman’s temperament. Apparently she was on the end of a silent stare from my other sister, Debbie. DS had never heard the phrase before (doesn’t that seem impossible?! Was everyone who ever used the phrase couth enough to not use it around her until that day in Florida?). I heard the story later on the phone after I apologized to NR for being a Debbie Downer when she called. She immediately laughed and told me what happened. We both laughed so hard about it. Now it's an uplifting term for me, especially when I'm feeling a little like a Debbie Downer.

It's amazing what perspective can do to a word; to a person's vocabulary. It got me to thinking about how sometimes I define myself with terms I don't fully digest. Or how sometimes others try to define me with words that don't seem to fit me but rather fit them because they need to compartmentalize me in their world.

My sister sent me a online quiz two months back. It was to help determine if I was an optimist or a pessimist. She had taken the quiz and it declared she was a pessimist, which surprised us both. She seems so optimistic (to the point that I caught her unconsciously wearing a t-shirt one morning with a glass of water on it and underneath it it read, Half Full). The quiz, which I don't think does the best job deciphering personalities, attributes one's tendency towards an explanatory style, which seems to me to focus too much on semantics. I got a 46% on the quiz but not to worry, apparently I can change (however, I don't think I'll ever be able to stop taking tedious magazine-style quizzes).

In actuality I'm intrinsically hopeful. The discrepancy really has more to do with my tendency towards fear in life. I've been working on moving away from that perception. It's not a new revelation; two years ago I started trying to clean up my act. Lately I feel like my emotional compass is more aligned. Nothing external defines me right now. I can’t get shaken as easily and if I am feeling like a Debbie Downer, I'm okay with that (because it is a moment that will shift into something different soon enough). If someone else is feeling a certain way, I’m fine with them being in that space too (unless they choose to use it as a space to be mean to me). In fact, I’m more empathetic than I have ever been in my life thus far. I feel as if I am coming out of a darkness. It has made me focus on living in the moment. I try to figure out how I can enjoy whatever it is I'm participating in or if I can't enjoy it, how I can be constructive about growing from it. The goal right now is to be less fearful, more accessible. And, by not focusing on defining myself, define myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment