by Ayannah Garcia

Maybe there’s a dark side to looking
on the bright side…

As MJ said in Spider-Man: “If you expect disappointment, then you can never really be disappointed.”

Why can’t we be pessimistic? No one really thinks about how optimism can slowly tear a mind apart, and just think of how pessimism just brings every happy and calm mood down. But why does it bring you down? Why is it a problem for me? Are we just so afraid of failure that we will not consider every option and exclude negativity altogether? Sometimes I am so afraid of failure that my pessimism shows at its finest. I only think down, because if I’m positive I will fail, doesn’t my negative thinking cancel out my positive? One negative out rules a positive one, right? That is what school taught us, right?

The dictionary definition of optimism is hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. (“I am optimistic that I will be successful in the future.”) Pessimism in the dictionary means a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen, a lack of hope or confidence in the future. (“I am pessimistic and believe that I will fail in the future.”)

But no—only optimism is allowed in society because you must succeed one way or another. You will become the future of the planet. You will become this. You will become that. And if I don’t? What will you do then? Will I become something the world is afraid of?  

Everyone has ups that are optimistic and downs that are pessimistic in life. I might think the same as you are because even if you see a person you think is at their highest, they might not be inside. Why? Because in the back of that person’s mind they are thinking of all the lows and breakdowns they had on the journey to get there. And when they were staring at the wall just thinking, they didn’t think of the highest point they would be at after this. No, they probably thought they would never be able to get out of that lowest of lows. That’s my problem with this thing we call optimism. How are we able to think of something that seems so out of reach when we’re on the verge of giving up?

Well, we can think of our negative outcomes to fuel success. We can think of our breaking point and then use it to push ourselves to the finish line. You do not have to neglect negative things because burdening yourself with only positive outcomes hurts. Then not doing or getting something you thought so positively about crushes your whole being. But optimism is a good thing because it gives you hope to live your life to the fullest, and pessimism brings you down and hurts you. So why have you been learning the opposite this whole time while reading this? To learn that certain optimistic thoughts can be negative and vice versa. Like, if I was happy about wanting to receive a score on dance but didn’t, it can hurt a lot. I use this perspective in my daily life, so how will you? 

About Ayannah Garcia

Ayannah Garcia is a freshman attending Richwoods High School, where she takes part in the Pre-IB program, the Royalettes dance team, and the drama club. Outside of school, she loves to dance, read, journal, travel with family, and play with her dog. In addition to these activities, she is currently a member of the Finale Group of the Greater Peoria Illinois Chapter of Jack and Jill, an organization for young African American individuals who want to serve the community, and a member of her church’s youth group.