I began IAmACockeyedOptimist.Org because I felt that no one is honest about their feelings and experiences anymore. With the advent of social media, we all try to live lives that are nothing more than fantasy. I wanted to start an organization to show people it's okay to be honest because you are not alone. Knowing that brings hope.

My life began with a mother that the nurses deemed unfit. She often neglected me or fed me food with bugs in it. I was embarrassed of myself and as I grew up, we would fight constantly. After graduating high school, I moved to Los Angeles for college. One night when I walked to my car, a man pulled a gun on me and ended up raping me. When I went to the police, the first officers I told did not believe me. My case got transferred to another police department who took me to the rape treatment center. I thought it was all over, but I had to talk to the dectective and attorney. I had to go to a hearing and seeing the person again was the most difficult thing I've ever dealt with. I thought that life would finally be better until a year later I contracted parasites from eating at a diner and never fully recovered.

All of those experiences left me feeling angry, alone, depressed and even suicidal at times. Luckily, I have always loved music and its power to make you feel like you are understood. I am a singer and songwriter and if I didn't have my music to pour out my emotions, I would probably not be here anymore.

Being a Cockeyed Optimist means that no matter what is happening in your present, you can be optimistic that the future will get better. There is light and life at the end of the tunnel. No matter you're going through, I encourage you to have hope and say, "I Am A Cockeyed Optimist!

-Cynda Renae, Founder


    Music has given back to me in ways I could never repay. I will always hold onto it and never let it go. But there was a time when some people made it their mission to rip music out of my life.

    I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school. Music and the guitar had quickly become the things I cared about the most. I played in the high school rock band, practiced constantly, and was absorbing every piece of musical knowledge I could. I wanted to be the best I possibly could and craved the excitement of playing live. But some people didn’t like that.

    Around the same time a classmate, who had been one of my best friends a few years earlier, had also begun to play the guitar. He also seemed to be really into it and wanted to be the best...at anyone’s expense.

    Soon he made it has life’s mission to make me miserable. For the rest of high school, day in and day out, he launched a bullying campaign aimed at ripping apart my love of music and taking it away from me. The bullying consisted of everything from yelling “Sean sucks” at the top of his lungs from clear across campus to enlisting two of his buddies in a relentless cyber-bullying onslaught that attacked everything from my musical tastes to a Gibson Guitars jacket I wore to school everyday.

    It made me sad that someone I used to call friend could turn on me so fiercely and quickly. It made me angry and sad that he had stooped so low. But, in my anger I carried on. I threw myself into music more. I practiced, wrote songs and riffs, and attended a couple of big summer music programs at Berklee College of Music. I was going to be in a band and write real music that inspired people. I wanted to give them music that meant something and inspire them the way my heroes inspired me.

    Music stayed my focus and passion. Now, I have my guitar, my band, and my songs. No one can take that away from me...and no one ever will.

- Sean Pierce Johnson, Director