Friday, 16 January 2015

Blackbirds

A few days ago, while I was in the train, I overheard a conversation of a man on his phone grumbling about how he despised this situation he was in. His thoughts were cold, and he saw the everything as raw and scorched. He kept talking about how worse it'd get in time to come. But before he hung up, he did say something interesting - "It's not going to get better. But I'll work on it."

From just that conversation, I discovered a few things. For one, he's clearly not an optimist. But he had an attribute that most people perceive they do - hope. I was adamant to find out more about this new understanding I was just grasping - there's a stark difference between optimism and hope. But what is it?

"Optimism is the way you think," my sister explained casually at the end of our ride. "It's thinking positive." She intended to explain more before I brought up the word 'hope', but she was busy responding to something important in her phone.

The notion occurred to me that perhaps optimism is an attitude. Hope on the other hand, is a belief, and it comes with a plan to do something about it. We think our future will be better than today. But hope is the belief in a better future and taking action towards achieving it.

We can be a pessimist and still be hopeful at the same time. We can be painfully annoying bleak thinkers, piqued by everything we see, but we can also take action to improve what's important to us, just like the man on the train.



Sir Paul McCartney wrote this beautiful song as a reaction to racial tensions escalating in the United States in the spring of 1968. Blackbirds were a symbol of hope and freedom meant for the black people's struggle in the southern states. 

The world has it's own new blackbirds, whether due to discrimination against another religion or mere refugees finding a place to flee. Many civil rights issues have been overcome last decade, but more have been cropping up, and all these people need is a little more than just optimistic onlookers for the world to have a sliver of hope.

Nothing's wrong with being optimistic. But when wishing on a star outweighs making a difference, when building pretty castles in the air surpasses making an effort towards our goals, and when "It'll get better" trumps "I'm doing something about it", we're simply not being true to ourselves at all.

I've been caught up a lot this week, chipping away at chores and being bombarded with an overwhelming quantity of to-do lists, having some slight issues with the scanner as well, but I'd like to continue writing one to two posts weekly about some observations and share some of my recent lettering work to inspire others. Sometimes, it's the littlest things that makes us realise the huge ones that we never really take to heart, and nothing is more liberating than to just write about it.  

The blackbird probably sees nothing but it's broken wings but she has hope, because she's well capable of flying. She should very well take her first plunge, because her ability to fly - the action of working towards her brighter future - comes when she least expects it.

Until next time 

Lettering by me, Photo by me
Find me on Pinterest for more lettering work.

20 comments

  1. "It's not going to get better. But I'll work on it." - that man was wise in his own ways..
    I'm not an optimist I very much work by the man's words..
    Your thoughts and posts are always so deep and honest I like that :)
    and your lettering..is always so delicate and beautiful
    Paul McCartney is awesome.I like The Beatles,have you heard Hey Jude?it's nice song :)

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    1. Thanks, Neal. :) Yes, Paul McCartney writes wonderful songs. Hey Jude is a nice song too. :)

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  2. I love this post and enjoyed your thoughts and insight. I never thought that one could be a pessimist and still have hope but one certainly can!

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  3. Yes, optimism is definitely an attitude. But you are more likely to have hope when you are optimistic. Pessimism and hope are a strange and rare combination. They're almost contradictory...
    I simply love that song and that quote is so beautiful. Your graphic is incredible!
    Such an interesting post ^_^

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    1. That's true, it's rare for someone to be pessimistic and hopeful. That man on the train must be quite unique. Thanks, Marian. :)

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  4. Wow you made me sound so distracted and shallow. Meanwhile you're sailing the universe. PREACH

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    1. Sorry, I didn't mean for it to appear that way. You've helped me a lot in my posts and you don't deserve to be treated that way. I'm definitely the one who needs to keep my head in the world.

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  5. Yes to all of this. Yes yes yes. <3

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Cally. :)

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  6. This post speaks to me, honestly. Optimism and hope keeps me going but I know working hard is the key. I hope we all can understand the spirit of it.

    Noor's Place

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Noor. :) Yes, we should understand the spirit of it. :)

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  7. This was written so beautifully Dian! Thanks for sharing :)
    http://saltskinned.blogspot.com.au

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  8. YOUR BLOG DESIGN IS BEAUTIFUL.

    And ohmygosh, congrats Paul McCartney on this song.

    Amy;
    Little Moon Elephant

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  9. I saw sir paul McCartney sing this beautiful song thanks for sharing love it

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    1. It's great that you were able to see Sir Paul McCartney sing this lovely song, you're so fortunate to watch him perform. :) Thank you for your kind comment. :)

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