Happy, Dumb Optimism

by Lori Dwyer on November 3, 2011 · 20 comments

How am I doing this?

I know you all watch it happen here, the same way it does in my head… a pendulum, swinging from not OK, to OK again, and back.

I lie to myself, tell myself, all the way… that I am doing OK, that I am just fine.

Because what else can I say? What else can I do, when I responsible for myself and two little people as well? There aren’t many other options here, valid ones, other than ‘being OK’.

In truth of it… and keep this quiet, because it feels like a secret, one that will lose it’s magic if too many people know, one that only keeps itself tight through pretending.

Inside my mind, inside my head, is a little girl who has been driven insane. She screams and sobs and weeps, cuts herself and burns her skin. She writhes on a tiny couch in an ugly room, hand knotted through her hair, pulling at chunks of it to try and rive images form her mind. She is so distraught… every thing she believed in is dead, burnt. She will never feel safe again. She will never trust anyone again.

Some days, the wall between her and the outside word is so thick I can barely hear her. I get closer and closer to hope, to sunshine… and she grows smaller and smaller.

And then there are other days, days like today… when the wall between her and the real world is paper thin, like eggshell, a membrane. And people can see her, screaming. They see her through my eyes. I know, because some days I see her reflection in theirs, overladen with pity or fear.

I think that’s why I sleep so much, why sleep brings with it relief… when I sleep, she must too. But some nights I’m sure shes up before I am…. doesn’t that explain why I wake myself up screaming some nights?

Sometimes I worry she will escape. What a pointless thing to worry about. Even I do crack, split, and all that pain and screaming trauma comes running out… what happens then?

Nothing changes. If anything, I will terrify more people, and the handful that I have left that can handle me will turn away too.

And life will still go on.


I’m such a fucking optimist.

It’s just my nature… to look forward to things. To feel grateful for things. To see the silver lining, real or imagined. To find happiness in waiting.

If I wasn’t, I would not have survived this far, I don’t think. It’s only that dumb, happy optimism that keeps me afloat.

I convince myself that things will get better, will be better. When the weather is warmer. When I find someone, someone I love, someone who loves me again.

I expect life to be a fairytale, for things to work out OK, for some love and happiness to come and sweep me off my feet and complete me, find me at some kind of peace…

What if that doesn’t happen? Reality, experience, it tells me that humans are imperfect, and so am I. That life is ordinary, not a fairytale.

But I have to hope for something… I have to hope it gets better than this.

That dumb, happy optimist… maybe she’s a room mate to that screaming, tiny girl…. she just won’t have it any other way.


I look back, to see what progress I’ve made.

The first three months after Tony died…. I don’t even remember it… how did I survive that?

Those six months is Paradise, chilled with sea air and grief…. how on earth did I survive that?

It just makes me wonder, will I look back on these first few months in the TinyTrainTown… and wonder how, in heaven’s name, I survived this too?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Livi November 5, 2011 at 10:02 am

sending massive hugs


theKatieKitten November 5, 2011 at 12:55 am

Fuuck. I feel like you you wrote this post straight from my head. The two of us are a right pair, hey?! At least we have eachother, you know I ain't going nowhere.


Kristen November 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm

My pendulum swings too. Sometimes I feel almost manic depressive or bi-polar… *sigh* like I go from fine screeching into a downward spiral in 3.5 seconds. I knew I was "getting a little better" when I started napping on the couch again – not in the dark bedroom.

Love – from us to you… Kristen


Karen November 4, 2011 at 4:52 am

"Hope" is my middle name (it's not, it's Eve but I don't care, for all intents and purposes it's HOPE!) If I didn't have hope to light my way, I'd have offed myself a long time ago…. Hope drives us on, wanting, perhaps out of curiosity, to see what the tomorrow will bring.

As I typed this comment, I was just listening to "Dreamer" by Tiny Vipers (listen to it, it's quite the song and a genre I don't listen to normally!)

Hugs xx


Anonymous November 4, 2011 at 2:28 am

You are stronger than you will ever believe. So am I. Even though I doubt my strength every single day. Our minds make us CRAZY!

My prediction? You will be engaged to an amazing man who loves every inch of you and your children by this time next year. Maybe even married. Someone who will not do what Tony did. I HAVE to believe that the horror he dumped on you and your children is a once in a life time experience. It just cant happen to you again, NO WAY!!
So look to the future- I truly believe that you have a bright one. And I do too, if my crazy mind will let me….. Lisa


Canadian In Glasgow November 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm

You feel so much like me in your optimism…and absolutely ground shattering lows….you're right.
It is the only way you survive.
I guess in the end it doesn't really matter if nothing better does come along, or things don't change…because the hope is enough to sustain most of the time. And just maybe…if the good things happen…well, you'll find less to be optimistic about and more to be content with.

That's what I try to remember anyway.

xoxoxoxo bunny.


marketingtomilk November 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm

These two extreme characters are not "real" and "pretend" they are both part of you. They both make you who you are. They allow you to feel and to survive. They are your balance and sanity.

I do believe that Lori. Allow them both to come out when they need to.



Miss Pink November 3, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I think it's a lot like when you approach someone who has a life completely different to yours and you remark "I don't know how you do it?" and they smile and say "I do it because I have to, because there is no other option."

You can do this. Different waves of pain, you ride them out and don't forget to celebrate what you've gone through already, that you made it to the other side.
I promise you, if you split open and some ring like girl comes creeping out, I will beat that bitch down and sew you back up with my sewing machine.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos November 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

My heart goes out to you; I send strength for when all is low.


pinktutu72 November 3, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Your kids are lucky to have such a good, strong mom. When my little brother died it seemed like he took all the colors in the world with him. Eventually we got better but still after 5 yrs I miss him so much and I get mad when I think he was only 19. It's tough to know what to do some days. The insane girl in you will quiet down after a while I imagine. Drowned out by the joyful noise of your kids and family and sunshine and things that make us happy. You're a strong lady :)
I'm glad I found your blog


Erin November 3, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Big hugs…what else can i say? xoxox


paul in trpoical melbourne November 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Dear MadWoman : Welcome to the club. Don't worry, it's a big club. You're SO not alone….

It's not easy to be intensely feeling, super sensitive and have an active, creative mind – I know, and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. It seems a real 'art' to manage and gain some mastery of it without going into 'control' or closing off.

So… I've seen the pendulum too and understand. Pendulums are normal. Yours is just a bigger than the average schmuck version, that's all. Like I said, above. It's up to you to learn how to temper or tune it to work for you.

If you start to see and take more rsponsibility for where you are, what you feel etc, you will start to feel more empowered and less of a victim to circumstance. This can be confronting sometimes, by the way. This one's important though.

And, in a room on a floor below your little screaming girl's, there is a wise old soul who is there to help you. Ask the universe to take you there, in your dreams, in your waking life, in 'signs' – and it will happen. Make use of that. It knows you best.

It's about quietening your mind, listening, and listening without judgement. Learn skills and methods to do this. ( And do them, for god's sake !! )

It's no accident where you are ( or where we all are ).

The universe is literally screaming at us everyday.

This has worked for me. I need to do more, myself, really.

PS Our minds can be our worst enemy at times. Do regular physical, enjoyable things that take you out of your head, – yoga, running, tai chi, dancing, swimming, mountain climbing, zumba…even gardening. And also be creative – music, theatre, clowning, painting, sowing etc.


Mich November 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm

As an avid optimist, I try to see the good in people until I am proven wrong.
And I believe that EVERYTHING happens for a reason.

Its what keeps me going.

most days…


Hespera’s Garden November 3, 2011 at 10:14 am

The pendulum swings here too.

And the little girl screams and cries and struggles.

And then she goes outside and plays in the sunshine.

Thinking of you often. You are amazing x


Shelley H November 3, 2011 at 10:04 am

i'm with you I am the dumb optimist as well, when it's in the shit (which is most days) I always get to a point where I just say Fuck It and move on… Your a mini inspiration to me :)


Vicky November 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

Yes you will look back at these first months in TinyTrainTown and think How did I survive that?

I continuously look back, and marvel, at how on earth did I do all of that?? How did I survive that??

I have a little girl inside of me too, who screams and cries and yells… I didn't listen to her for a very long time, until one day she just pushed right on through. and I had to listen. She is still there – not so angry anymore, occasionally she has a tantrum and makes herself heard but for the most part she is quieter then she used to be.

I read something yesterday that resonated with me so much –

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they fill the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.– Barbara Bloom

sending you love and light to wrap around you. x


Sarah November 3, 2011 at 9:26 am

When it gets all too hard, just remember there are some who will never ever turn away.

As for the optimism… I don't think you would've managed without it.


MultipleMum November 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

I do observe the pendulum in your posts. I imagine that is how it is. Ups and downs.

Your optimism is definitely a strength, as is your sense of humour and strong Mother's instinct. You will continue to grow through this life changing experience Lori and you will always wonder how you did it.

The way I see it, the day you wrote that plea for prayers and commenced the documentation of this journey was the day you knew you would survive.

Wallow today if you must. Smile tomorrow. A big hug from me whenever you need it x


Steph(anie) November 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

I am glad you have that optimism in you and think you are right that it has helped you get through all this. I wish I had something helpful to say about the bad days.


Me November 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

Thinking of you – hope you have a good day !
Take care.


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