Dear Miss April,
I think of myself as a positive person. I like to greet the world with objective optimism. Over the the holiday season I have begun to doubt the effect of my ebullience. Even on tiresome Xmas lunches I’ve chattered nattily. I tried engaging teenagers and techno toddlers. I even chucked the cheeks of grumpy uncles. Now the pudding is gone, I am getting feedback that I am “too blindly happy”. It seems my cheer is causing some chagrin and I am being viewed as witless for my mere wish to spread some joy and cheer up some pitiful stained lives.
Ever the optimist, I changed tack and decided to try empathy. I hit a hard crowd as my first target was that hot bed of apathy, teenagers. Ignored, I moved onto Gen Y’ers. It was plainly illustrated that was too ironic in my desire to elevate in a set of protracted text messages. It appears hopefulness can seep out my crevices to be detected by the entitled schadenfreud[ians] of the Y type.
Every where I turn my effusiveness is spurned. I feel backed into a grey rabbit felt corner. Can Beuys help? Or Gin perhaps?
Should I go for gold and join the scientologists or not worry and be happy?
Dear Cheer Leader
In short – yes to Beuys, gin and happiness; no to Scientology and worry. However, if you have a spot of spare time come take my hand and let us inspect this further under the microscope…
I would like to begin by stating that I completely understand. The scenarios you mention are not uncommon to my personal observations, but they are rare. There are unique personalities who show ‘ebullience’ in social situations to people they are acquainted with or have just been introduced, about subjects they initiate, the music playing or not playing, participating wholeheartedly with motives pure but mistaken by others. Often it is an expression of enthusiasm that is unfamiliar to almost everyone there because it lies beyond the boundary of that which is socially expected and experienced. Unwittingly, your cheer unnerves them. What could be going through the minds of these average Joes and Jills? Goodness only knows, but I suspect they could possibly be thinking – is this odd character genuine? Is this bundle of joy ironically casting aspersions upon me? Is this spoken word actually English? Who is Beuys?
It is possible you are threatening them, Cheer. Most likely they would not even be able to articulate fully why this is so, hence accusations of being ‘witless’. Let us not blame them totally, as recent research shows it does take a certain amount of stupidity to be happy these days; deep thinking tends toward sadness. Gosh, we are within an era of anxious pessimism deeply entrenched in politically correctness and hip social engagement, so your enthused glee might not be de rigueur right at the moment.
I know it is very seductive to demonise those who reject us, but although you do succumb to this somewhat I find that you also display an admirable quality. You are self-aware enough to try again. Ys, grey bandits, babes, teens, all in the season of Christmas cheer must be family, friends, or a degree separated. You have a reason to try again, you want to connect with them so you try different approaches. Well done. Not many people can lay claim to this type of reflection, resilience and persistence. This displays a commitment to a most notable aspect of humanity, the need to be understood, and here you are attempting both – to be understood and to understand. Or are you? I have a niggle, Cheer, and only you can answer this. Is your ebullience a guard, a shield, a deflection to vulnerability? Perhaps your level of cheer creates an instinctive distrust in others because they have sense of a facade, and therefore they do not know the mystery underneath, is it innocent or malevolent?
My advice to you is this: reflect on my suggestion, reject or accept as truthfully as you can and see where that leads you. Regardless, you obviously have a natural predilection for Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk which spills over into your everyday conversation techniques. What you might find is that your approach will eventually pay off. Persistence is key. Much like the joy a familiar musical score can bestow upon a crowd, the crux is familiarity. A few Christmases down the track you will find those who once disdained you look forward to your entertaining if somewhat perplexing interchange and you become a favourite of said soirees.
If, after time and effort, you find that still there is no success then yes, perhaps they are a bunch of simpletons, bastards and dullards, and by all means allow yourself the fecundity to not worry and be happy – Viva Gesamtkunstwerk!
Yours, Miss April
Postscript: At no point, under no circumstance, in no world imaginary or real, could I possibly advise you to join an (alleged) expensive cult as a cure for woe or path to joy. I would happily discuss this further but really, that’s another most extensive post.
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