The asshole zone

It’s quite an amazing moment when you discover you’re not as amazing as you thought you were. I guess I’ve always had run-ins with reality, and the realisation that I’m not able to do the breadth and scale of what I imagine, but I guess I almost always thought I was pretty decent. Aside from the occasional moment or week of self-loathing, I was pretty confident I wasn’t all bad.

I seem to remember that people tell you that, as you grow, you will find yourself making more and more compromises regarding your vision of the world. Of course, what you are not told – at least, from my experience, as I can only speak from my perspective – is that you begin to realise you’re about as much of an asshole as you thought everyone else was up to that point. Of course, not everyone has this view of the world. What’s more, your friends will often tell you that you are a perfectly loveable character, and that it is usually other people’s fault for any “dickish” behaviour, since that’s what they bring out in you.

Excuses are all very well, but somehow nobody wants to deal with the reality of knowing they might be an asshole. I experience this myself quite often; a large part of me just wants to surrender to the frustration and anger that then feed the foul behaviour that involves me snapping and snarling at people. It is quite frightening to think “I might be an asshole”, “I might be the villain in this story rather than the hero”.

 

Of course, like Hesse’s Haller in Steppenwolf, I realise that one person cannot be split into just two parts. There is a myriad of reactions and responses and behaviours that can’t be attributed or come under a simple binary division of the self. Nonetheless, the division is useful for analysis of the separate behaviours displayed.

At the moment, I am still floating in the asshole zone. Sometimes it does feel good to be able to say “fuck you”. Sometimes, however, as most often in my case, it’s hard to identify why I slip into these behaviours, especially towards specific people. Is this my natural state, I wonder?

When I just feel like striking out physically, but never do, is it then a “logical” consequence that I end up being verbally aggressive?

Never at the person who is to blame, of course.

Tracking down the causality of these things is never easy, and all too often, I attribute it to the idea that this is just how I function. Perhaps it’s the human thing of wanting a straightforward answer – just one or two things that I can fix. But I don’t know if I can fix anything. I get frustrated, I get angry, and there it is again, grinding my soul against the whetstone of reality, and then I want to growl and bite and shout and kick and get into a fight.

After all, can’t it be said that society teaches us that anger is “bad” yet somehow we are expected to get angry when we have to (i.e. to claim what we think is rightfully ours)?

It’s full of bullshit contradictions, isn’t it?

I guess the best thing I can hope for is to at least be a consistent asshole. But thus far, I haven’t even managed to do that.

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