In the wise words of Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
So is the message of two Sioux Cityans who are planning a “positive affirmations march” for Aug. 4 down historic Fourth Street.
Alex Anson, a supervisor at Vizio, and John Currid, a forklift operator at a storage plant, wanted to start this grassroots march again following their “free hugs” march last year.
Anson said a close friend of hers recently lost a daughter to suicide, which pushed her to want to organize this march as soon as possible.
“We’ve been talking about doing it for a long time,” Anson said. “We want people to know they’re not alone, that there are people out there who care about them being happy and are thinking of them. There’s a whole mess of people who care.”
Anson, with several other marchers, has prepared signs that say, “You are special,” “you are beautiful,” “keep moving forward” and “be gentle with yourself,” among others, for Saturday’s march.
Currid said last year’s free hug event was a casual way to make people feel better about themselves, and have a better day. He says he’s a naturally positive person.
“I just do what I can to make other people smile, and that usually is enough for me,” he said. “If I can make a joke or make someone else feel better about themselves, it usually does pretty well to keep me happy.”
Currid said a way to stay positive is to find something to make oneself smile every day.
“Even if I’m in a bad mood, I still find a way to smile,” he said. “If you keep doing it enough, eventually it will be a real smile."
For Anson, all it takes to stay happy is befriending stand-up comedians.
“I am an avid viewer of comedy,” she said. “You don’t realize until you hang out with a bunch of comedians how uplifting, positive and fun it is.”
Octavia Night Shade-Walker, an incoming third grade student at Hunt Elementary, said she plans to march on Saturday. She stays positive by doing yoga, blowing bubbles or talking it out with family and friends.
“I want to do this so people will feel loved, and they know they’re awesome no matter who they are,” she said.