The first post was about starting a new blog over the demise of the previous two. In the second, I proclaimed I wasn’t a writer. In the third one, I eviscerated John Lennon’s “Imagine”. From that sampling, one could surmise and say that this blog is off to a negative start.

Hm, okay. So what?

Poor, Negativity. He has such a, well, negative reputation. Many people see Negativity walking toward them, unshaven, heavily tattooed like a recent San Quentin parole and smelling like stale cigarette smoke, and they do everything they can not to look him in the eye lest they be reminded of all the bad things in the world—from what’s happening in their lives to the forces and situations and issues outside of their lives. Hastily, they bolt between cars, dart across the street, barely missing the semi-truck of Reality.

Whew! The potential clash with Negativity avoided!

I can’t relate to this.

While I don’t enjoy running into Negativity in dark alleys and poorly lit parts of town, I’ve learned that Negativity is a really good teacher, even if he’s a little rough and hurtful. When I run into him, I don’t dart across the street even though the urge is great. Instead, I let him grab me by the arm, pull me into the nearest pub, push me into a chair, order up The Shit Sandwich of Life (sans beverage, of course) and watch me eat while he talks. All I can do is “shut up, listen, learn” while I eat.

By learning what went wrong or how or why X failed and examining it, I can know what not to do next time; or what I may be doing wrong at the moment. Now a “life” blogger, the folks who write flowing Pollyanna prose about how X is beautiful or awesome or lovely or sweet—basically the Internet version of Negativity’s recovering alcoholic step brother— they might not agree with this approach. But fuck them. Life isn’t all gumdrops, lollipops and unicorn-filled fucking rainbows, and if you don’t look at or chat with Mr. Negativity on a regular basis, or let him challenge your values, mores and beliefs, you’ll have a fucked up view of the world.

There’s a caveat here, though, and let me be clear. If you’re constantly bombarded with negative news or events, life becomes tiresome and frustrating and, in the end, can leave you feeling pretty fucking hopeless. That’s fine; I get that. I can’t dine with Mr. Negativity all the time, either. But I’m not going to eschew his company for Ms. Pollyanna Positive all the time either. Simply because she’s attractive and an easy conversationalist. I actually find her rather grating and lacking in balance and therefore I rarely remember anything she has to say, honestly. But I certainly don’t mind dining with her either. Her meals are much better—even though they’re sprinkled with fucking tasteless pixie dust.

The trick, like my good friend Aaron says, is to stay somewhere right in the middle. Not too many meals with Mr. Negativity; and not too many with Pollyanna Positive. But I’ll tell you this, I don’t mind kicking Mr. Negativity out of the pub and ushering him walk down the sidewalk and jabber away. Because when he talks, the really intelligent and wise people listen.

Now this all may be very simple, something so fundamental that we don’t even think about it: we learn our biggest lessons out of failure and negative events—and even better, when Mr. Negativity challenges us like I said. I guess what amazes me is that so many people need to be reminded not to run across the street when confronted with Mr. Negativity. Just go ahead and have the conversation; it won’t be that bad. Trust me.