In my teens (and even before then) I was always an optimist. Always considered every angle and always looked on the bright side of things wherever possible.
As I grew up, and the world enveloped me, my cynical side began to grow to the point it is at today - "Grumpy Old Man!" Negative thoughts abound on the state of the world, how different it is now to how things 'used to be', how much better things are today in terms of technology - but how that negatively impacts on things like schooling and social development - the list can go on and on. I wear my grumpy old man label with pride at times and yet, occasionally, my more relaxed and open minded younger self will rear his head and try to counter the negativity. It is a welcome break and I enjoy seeing my old self every now and then.
But, there is one person in my life who positively exudes negativity - and as far as I can see always has. I'm talking about my Mother in Law - I call her "the Portender of Doom!"
The PoD is my wife's mother and she loves her dearly - but I can see how Lesley has been strongly influenced by the negativity of her mother over the years. I myself have been affected by her in the twenty or so years I've known her - to the point of depression.
A typical conversation with her goes like this:
Me: "Hello, isn't it a lovely day?"
PoD: "They've got snow in Cumbria. It's heading this way."
Me: "Well it's not here yet, lets enjoy the sunshine, catch some rays."
PoD: "It was on the telly about all the skin cancer. It's rife."
Me: "Pass me that razor blade, would you!"
Lesley suffers so badly with anxiety and panic attacks and we've been looking for a cause - her father's death when she was eleven? Being bullied at school? Well, yes, to an extent, but since these events she has lived with her mother and all the doom and gloom that seems to emanate from her - it's no wonder she's anxious. Even now, married for fifteen years and with a young daughter of her own, she is dominated to the point of being scared of her mother.
It's a very true story in a lot of households up and down the country - 'your parents screw you up!" My own Mother domineered me to the point of physically abusing me. She was a bully, still is no doubt but thankfully I broke free when I was sixteen - with my mother's blessing I might add. Unfortunately Lesley did not, and has not yet. What gets all of us, as offspring of crazy people, is that they often quote the biblical saying that you must "honour thy father and mother." and we try so hard to live up to this edict, that we end up being miserable old gits and hating them for it.