My husband tells me that I assume the worst of people. It surprises me because I see myself as positive, having chosen happiness after struggling for years with lingering sadness and anger. And yet, he has a point.
My mother just celebrated her 80th birthday, which, coincidentally, happened to fall on Easter Sunday. My father decided to mark the occasion with a surprise party, assembling her scattered children to wish her well.
My mother is not good at surprises, and by surprises, I mean anything that she didn’t plan herself. My father, in contrast, does not plan at all. He set the time, the place and the participants. Everything else was up for grabs.
I was sure disaster was looming just around the corner. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where my dad didn’t get chewed out for something, and I said so, more than once. I was anxious, dreading the inevitable conflict.
When my mother arrived at the restaurant and saw us there, all I saw in her face was joy. I was so sure that she’d miss the point of the day that I almost did. The sun was shining, and I was looking for the shadow of the shoe that was ready to drop. I mean really, there was cake! What’s not to love about cake?
I have spent a great deal of time pulling my head into my shoulders, bracing for impact. It’s left me with adrenaline overload and poor posture, but I rarely get blindsided because I’ve already assumed the blow is coming. The question is, however, when I wait to be disappointed, disappointment is inevitable, and I miss the joy of anticipation.
So my goal is to be open to great possibilities. This may be a dangerous strategy as I launch my career as a writer. Rejection, and lots of it, is in my future. Even the most successful authors experience it. Agents toss your query, editors slash your favorite scene, critics call you derivative, some asshat on Amazon gives you one star and you’re not even sure they read the book. But I’m mentally planning my book launch party, and it will be epic. Those who don’t like it, don’t have to come. More cake for the rest of us.
Words by J. B. Everett