It’s not easy to be optimistic these days. If you’re awake, if you’re paying attention at all, it’s hard to find beauty in the midst of so much violence, ugliness, intolerance, and apathy. It’s hard to believe in the goodness of humanity when so much badness is on display. But some of you do, every day, and not by sticking your head in the sand. Instead you wade through all the bullshit and meanness with your eyes wide open because you know if you close them, you’ll never see the good stuff, the everyday acts of kindness, the crazy beautiful of ordinary life.
This letter is for you, the fiercely optimistic, because I know that’s what optimism takes, a certain kind of fierceness and daring, a certain kind of faith. This letter is for the guy who wrote on his Facebook wall that the only thing he believed in was “everybody,” and then didn’t back down even when his friends jumped on right after to tell him to “stop it.” (At least he didn’t back down while I was watching, but I admit it only took a couple of minutes for me to turn off notifications because the onslaught of super cool cynicism was wearing me down.)
This letter is for you, the radically sincere ones, the ones who walk around with your hearts wide open, despite the obvious dangers. Your raw, honest, searching, hurting, angry, sweet, anti-ironic, anti-hipster, anti-glib-snarky-sarcastic updates are always welcome in my feeds. I love you for reaching out when you’re grieving, when you’re confused, when injustice or cruelty leaves you shaking with rage. I recognize you; I reach back. Without you and your messy, neurotic, sad, joyous humanity, I would surely die on the social networking vine.
This letter is for you, the unapologetically grateful ones who end each day in your gratitude journals or on Facebook or on Twitter, chronicling the things you’re thankful for because it keeps you from getting mired in your fears and doubts and the world’s unrelenting nonsense. And here’s what I know: sometimes, staying un-mired is, all by itself, an act of heroism. I read your lists and I am truly, unapologetically, grateful for you.
This letter is for all the huggers (and the non-huggers too, because I get that; I used to be one). It’s for the cheerleaders and maybe even the naysayers, who remind me daily of the kind of person I don’t want to be. It’s for the creatives who keep making stuff even when it’s hard and scary and no one seems to care, and it’s for the people who love them because that is its own kind of challenge, I know.
This unabashedly mushy love letter is for all the people I see every day being real and vulnerable and hopeful in a world that doesn’t value those traits nearly enough.
Because I do. And I’m grateful.
All my love,