When I was sixteen I decided to become a vegetarian. I read an essay by Moby about why he was a vegetarian, and that very day I decided to be a vegetarian, cold turkey. I now don’t even remember what the essay said, having only read it once, but it made sense at the time, and I haven’t had so much as a slice of ham since.
I woke up yesterday morning with a plague I’m fairly certain I acquired from Luke Mochrie. I slept a lot more than I intended to, and I think that had to do with the sickness, but despite the plague I nonetheless woke with a different outlook. I’m sure part of this had to do with an article I read from the Thought Catalog not long after getting up, and a conversation I had with my best friend, Elisa (I have two of those, for the record. BFFs, not Elisas), but I finally came to a resolution.
This self loathing crap is getting old, so I’m going to stop now.
Whenever people first meet me, people who’ve seen my webseries or my work at USC, are often surprised on how down on myself I am. Even Benzaie, last year in Reno, said to me that I seemed so confident online, how could I be so secretly self-effacing? Well the truth is it’s a combination of three traits; part realism, part arrogance, and part INCREDIBLE self-loathing that would put the great wildfires of California to shame, irrational and consuming. I won’t go into details, but as some of my TGWTG co-contributors might tell you, it can get pretty fuckin’ annoying to listen to my bitching, which while perhaps not baseless, is usually out-of-proportion.
The thing is, realism clashes with the self-loathing. This is the problem of being an online personality in the first place; realistically, criticism of what I do should only get to me when I see it as valid, and even then I should learn from it, not get upset. You’d think that after three years of doing this I’d have learned to tell the difference between valid criticism and trolling, negativity for the sake of bitching and constructive criticism, immaturity versus insight, but I feel like in a way I’ve gotten worse. That self loathing monster in my head tended to eschew every positive thing I heard, and even on a bad day the plurality of my feedback is positive, if not the majority. The good things bounce off my hard, rubber head and I soaked up negativity like a sponge, believing it! That’s the worst part. Not always; of course. Sometimes my shield of arrogance would fly up and deflect everything, and I would tell myself, “what do these idiots know? They’re just wrong.”
But Internet goings-on are superficial, I find the worst part of self-loathing manifests in the real world, specifically in your relationships. My relationships.
I wouldn’t say I’m attracted to “assholes”. None of the guys I’ve been with since I moved to California were bad people, even if there weren’t very good to me. I suppose the trend was more simply “emotionally unavailable”, the type of guy that isn’t a eeevil, per se, but my goodness did they treat me badly. Of the three that transcended into “boyfriend” status, however briefly, they all treated me very, very badly when it ended. I was a secret from at least SOMEONE for all three of them, always parents, sometimes EVERYONE. And in my self-loathing-addled brain, this made sense. After all, I am quite horrible in some way, right? Who wouldn’t want to keep me a secret?
Oh, and don’t get me wrong, I treated them badly, too. One of them pushed me into sex too soon. I can safely say that that relationship ended the worst, as my solution to this was to drink myself into submission. Bad idea, because I told him what’s what! Well, screamed him and punched him what’s what. The second got roughly two years of subconscious revege and mind games from me. I don’t know that I’ve ever fought with someone so much. Number three was just arrogant and disrespectful, and that’s what did our relationship in. That and he wasn’t the brightest. He was my rebound from number two. I liked him because he was pretty. Dumb, and pretty. But even that one wasn’t even willing to change his facebook status for me. He’d be judged for dating a white girl, after all, and if I couldn’t understand why he’d want to keep it on the down-low, then I just didn’t understand him.
So, yesterday, I decided I’m gonna break that habit. Because it’s exhausting. I can’t tell you how many relationships I’ve shot in the foot from the outset with that self-loathing, someone might meet me only to be turned off by how eager I am to prove how worthless I am. The only people who are drawn to you in that case are the ones who agree with you.
To me, it’s like the vegetarianism. A bit more complicated and more work, obviously, but ten years ago I made a decision to quit something cold turkey and stick with it, because it was the best thing to do for me. No more burgers, no more roast beef, no more self-loathing.
So to anyone reading this, I suggest you do the same. Self-hating thoughts are toxic and accomplish nothing. So identify them and purge them. Cold turkey. No reason not to do it right now and you have no excuse not to. You’ll be glad you did.