Waiting for the shoe to drop. Protection or Pessimism?

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

Photograph by Eliza Adam

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9 comments on “Waiting for the shoe to drop. Protection or Pessimism?

  1. affirmagise says:

    Being open to possibilities is the only way the possibilities become reality.

  2. boltoncarley says:

    Feel your pain! I like to think of myself as a realistic and sometimes struggle with the same thing. The good news is that your mom never knew your worries and you are still pushing through to your passion. Right there with you!

  3. Jane Herndon says:

    JB, Any “I love you” in greenbeans? You know I remember laughing at that at the time. Now it seems so sweet and wonderful. The truth is there have been times in my life I would have given anything for an “I love you” spelled out in any fashion. Love your writing!!!! It is typcially the highlight of my day and boy can I relate to the mother of a teenager stories. I miss you!

  4. bonniej77 says:

    Jeannine, I hate confrontation and often find myself bracing for it, then…it doesn’t happen. And I’ve just wasted all that emotional energy on being fearful. My friend singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer has a song called “Only One Shoe.” Sometimes it really is all good… Thanks for a great post – I’ll be watching for your book launch!

  5. Writerlious says:

    Nay. Always be open to great possibilities! 🙂

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