I haven’t been this vulnerable probably ever.
My mom says, when I plead her to stop beating me with her words, I can’t help being mean, my mom was that way, too, and I’m the same way. When I get mad, I get out of control.
And I always thought, Why can’t you change? What is so biologically and inherently set that it’s completely beyond your mental control?
But just recently I realized I’ve been an asshole without even realizing it. I always knew I had a problem with intimacy but I thought it was because I was shy, or afraid but in reality, it was an aspect of my personality that I had been blind to. No one had outright convicted me of being an asshole, since it manifested itself as shyness or frustration rather than short temperedness or a lack of patience and sympathy.
Being an asshole was so an hereunto inconspicuous part of my personality that I had blamed everything except it. And even now, seeing it for the first time is like noticing the exact tint of my eyes or finding a birthmark on the bottom of my foot that I had always thought was a speck of dirt. Something that has been with me forever and is a benign and integral part of me which I was fascinated by the existence of. I had always thought I had no social skills, like thinking my eyes were brown, when in reality they were hazel, and I didn’t lack social skills, I just shut others down with my apparent coldness and shyness.
I met a teenager this week who was a self confessed asshole. I thought, Oh boy, this one was going to be trouble, but instead of a stereotypical emo or broken teenager, she was volatile but more extremely warm than her blunt, angry moods might imply. This was me-I saw it for the first time. She could be difficult, and I was difficult, even though I had always thought I was easy to control. But as I realize more and more, my mood swings are vast, and there is definitely a wrong time to approach me. But unlike more obvious flaws, this was something I could work on, if only I noticed that I was hurting others. It wasn’t for a lack of caring but a lack of observation that I was unable to change myself. I can’t eradicate my mood swings, but I can change their visceral results. What showed as impenetrable shyness in my childhood might be changed to more mellow reflection. I’m also extremely sensitive, but I don’t know if I can change that. Unlike the asshole coldness, I haven’t had enough experience to be confident that I can lessen my sensitivity. But sensitivity can be a gateway for asshole behaviour, so they will feed off each other.
Pushing people away inadvertently without even knowing it makes me depressed because then I believe the real reason no one is beside me is because I’m boring. Ironically, this loneliness attenuated my connection to people. I became more sensitive and loving inside than I seemed outside, until the day I realized that I inexplicably acted like an asshole for no reason. Then I felt more depressed and longed for people more, at the same time elated that I did have the skills necessary to form relationships that could lead to complete comfort rather than always with the edge of discomfort of having to slip away to deal with a mood that makes me hate people. My asshole mood is what prevents me from writing, not a lack of social skill-when I’m in my asshole mood, people seem to be stupid and make no sense, whereas when I’m not in that mood, I write what I love, and that is anyone that is interesting, ie everyone.
Assholeness is not something I decided upon, embraced, discarded, or had a noticeable relationship with at all. Being an asshole makes me feel insecure, but I am confident that I can overcome it, because actually feeling comfortable around people is so rewarding. The hedonism of feeling comfortable is so great it explains why I never wanted to make friends as a kid, because I didn’t derive that sort of pleasure from it. Putting yourself into a relationship makes you so vulnerable and it scares me so much, but I don’t want to not write, and I certainly don’t want to be alone anymore.
Being warm and vulnerable makes me so uncomfortable I can only stand so much before I have to walk away and be by myself and a paranoid, depressed mood at being unable to stand it for longer. But it’s improved my life and my relationships more than I could have ever asked for, and I’m more unhappy and scared at seeing my flaws, but I feel less like an actor stuck in a role I don’t want and more loved.
Whatever the way you are, it’s cool. As long as you work towards understanding yourself and using that knowledge to improve your relationships with the world and others, you have a place in a world of no judgement. Find out who you are and then accept it, and your world will change. My friends aren’t perfect either, and I have always judged their flaws against their strong points, and their pros always find a way to win.