13 Struggles Of Being A Cynical Optimist
You're that person who has genuine faith in humanity, but also wants to cut the next jerk who jumps in front of you at a subway turnstile. You want to bake humanity a cake full of rainbows and butterflies, and occasionally you want to take that same cake and smoosh someone in the face with it. You have smiled at babies and flipped off cab drivers in the same breath. Basically, you're a cynical optimist — two sides of humanity's coin, half hopeful, half jaded, all confused.
We are not exactly a rare breed these days. Part of it is being conditioned in a culture where we are simultaneously encouraged to care a lot about things and then not-so-subtly shamed for caring too much. Our cynicism is the safety net for our optimism. It's alright to get wet-your-pants excited about something silly, because you're getting excited ironically, guys, not for real, JEEZ. It's a shame, really, but at least we're making some progress. It used to be cool not to care about things at all, and now it's cool to care about things in a jaded way. Hey, maybe by the time we procreate, our kids will be able to enjoy their own unabashed excitement without fear of ridicule!! Can you imagine??
YOU SEE THERE? You see how I cannot help but revert into the comfort of my own sarcasm even as I recognize it?? I, like most of this generation, am too far gone. This is what you did to us, April Ludgates of the world. And now because of you, cynical optimists have to navigate all of these specific struggles.
Your Friends Can Never Tell If You're Being Sarcastic
Ha, I love how everyone felt like they had to decorate their desks for Christmas.
Sometimes YOU Can't Tell If You're Being Sarcastic
I... I do love Christmas decorations? I — I think? What do you think? Tell me what to feel please hold me oh god.
You Are Ridiculously Self-Conscious At Any Kind Of Sporting Event
You struggle to find the exact average of everyone around you — the median between the loudest rah-rah individual and the grumpy kid in the back who didn't get the hot dog he wanted. Your worst nightmare is attracting any kind of attention for caring too much or too little as the team does the thing.
Your Pep Talks Are ... Well, Not Spectacular
Go get 'em, tiger!! ... But yeah, we're all basically staring our own mortality a little closer in the face every time we open our eyes to a new day. But you GOT THIS!
In An Effort To Tip The Balance Between Your Optimistic And Cynical Self, You End Up Talking WAY Too Much
"I'm a Hufflepuff, not that it matters. I mean, it's just a fictional world. Dumb, right? Like, yeah, it's cool that I'm pretty much compatible to date people from any other Hogwarts house. But, like, dating is so dumb anyway. I'd rather just stay at home and eat cheese. Not that sharing cheese isn't fun. Also, blech, commitment, right? I'm sorry, what was the question? Oh, er, it's 3:02 p.m. Sorry about that, sir."
When It Comes To The ~Mystic~, You Believe In Everything And Nothing
For instance, you firmly believe horoscopes are a load of lies, but oh my god, you do have a big work thing coming up on Thursday. HOW DID THEY KNOW?!?
You Have A Different Personality Based On Which Friend Group You're Out With
Work friends: OPTIMISTIC you, with a tinge of cynicism.
You on the phone with your sister: RAGING CYNIC WHO JUST WALKED THROUGH HELLFIRE you, with a tiny ray of unsarcastic sunshine as you say "I love you" when you hang up.
You alone, watching Friends for the fifth time and eating your way through an entire sourdough bread bowl: EXISTENTIAL MESS you.
Older People Think You're Spiraling Into Despair If You Forget Not To Be Cynical In Front Of Them
Like, if I leaned over and told my co-worker Kathryn right now that I was going to suffocate myself with my own blanket scarf if it dropped one more degree below freezing here, she'd probs just nod and be like, "I know, right?" Say that to grandma, and then the whole phone tree of Old People Who Grandma Knows think that you've officially gone off the deep end. Please step away from the ridiculously large cold weather accessories and get some help, dear.
You Have No Idea How To Show People The Real You, Because There Possibly Is No "Real" You??
You are like an infinite onion. Peel back one layer of sunshine and find darkness. Peel back your darkness and find yellow daisies. Peel back the daises and find some aggressive sarcasm. Peel back the sarcasm and ... well, you get my point. You'll never reach the core, because the core itself is constantly oscillating between darkness and light, like a star about to go supernova that is also getting steadily sucked into a black hole.
That was terrible science. Pretend I didn't drag the science into this.
Your Dating Life Is An Utter Mess, If Not A Disaster
You have no idea how to communicate what you want, because you have no idea what you want. Half of you is aggressively into everything cliché — the flowers, the dress-up dates, the subtle wooing — but as soon as someone decent comes within a ten-foot radius of you, all of that sounds like an apocalypse waiting to happen.
You Keep Yourself Up All Night Replaying Cringeworthy Conversations
Humans are all different, which is a very basic understanding that even toddlers have, but one that your dumb brain-to-mouth filter cannot quite cope with yet. You're never sure which wavelength of cynical-optimism you should be using with each person in your life, and you will inevitably either lose all street cred by aggressively quoting a Taylor Swift song and/or horrify them with your bloodlust after you got the wrong cheese at the deli and vowed that you would "see that deli man in hell." But again, it depends on the person, and you never know how they're going to react until it's too late. And time is still frustratingly linear, so there is nothing you can do except stammer a lot and stay up until two in the morning cursing yourself.
Nobody Can Tell When You're Actually Upset About Something
You have a slight propensity for the dramatic, to be fair. Instead of the boy who cried wolf, it's the girl who cried indignant fury over a trending hashtag on Twitter, but then got legitimately upset because the IRS messed up her taxes and charged her a bunch of surprise moneys after the fact, some SYMPATHY, PLEASE???
You Know That One Day You Will Have To Choose Cynicism Or Optimism, And That Day Is Coming Soon
Take a look at the Olds. The Olds are all comfortably settled in their identities as sweet, loving individuals or sarcastic AF beautifully cynical humans. While you now remain young enough to split your legs over the cynic/optimist chasm, soon enough you will tire and have to make a choice. DEATH IS IMMINENT. WHAT DO WE DO?!
As usual: help.
Images: Universal Pictures; Giphy