My original idea for this post was going to be a sort of year end list of things that are pissing me off. (I do so love year end lists). But the first thing on my list took a little more space than a mere component should. So, to manage the imbalance, this idea gets its own post, and I’ll save the year end list for a post soon to come.
BTW, before you read on I’d like to point out that writing is, for me at least, supposed to be cathartic. So, this little burst of anger is something I do to help in the letting go. Please read it in that spirit…
I would like to say a sincere and deeply felt Fuck You to every authority figure who ever gave me shit without earning the right to do so.
(Okay, I understand this requires some explanation).
Too often in my life – in my youth especially – I have been subjected to some shmuck who had the power to give me a hard time, and that’s all they fucking did.
Here’s the thing, I can be a slacker, but even in my slacking I tend to get more done, and to a higher standard, than most people. I don’t think I’m some kind of genius, but I’m a damn sight better than average in anything I put my mind to. And I have put my mind to a lot in my short time on this planet…
…And I have run into more than my share of asshats in authority who have taken it upon themselves to dress me down about some perceived failing or the other, but have never done the work to help me get better in any way. None whatsoever. Too many mother fuckers fine with tearing down, but unwilling to do any building up.
I have actually had people only tell me how “talented” they thought I was while in the process of telling me how “disappointed” they were in me. Because, for some sadistic reason, the whole ordeal needed to be more melodramatic than just a simple failing.
“Hey, you’re smart/ talented/ a nice guy/ whatever. And that’s why it’s so much worse that you made this choice/ mistake.”
Anyone else see the problem with this type of statement?
Or did you just have a cold chill run down your spine because you, yourself have foisted this un-reasoning abuse on someone and had never thought about, it in this way, until now?
Here’s the thing: the power conferred by authority also comes with responsibility. Too many people forget that. The power to compel is intrinsically linked with the responsibility to use that power as wisely as one is able, and is part and parcel of why anyone should be granted authority in the first place – that they can use that power wisely.
(as an aside, when I have pointed this out to people – and their failing in the instance, on a one on one basis, they have, almost invariably, fallen back on the excuse of, “Well, no one is perfect.” Oh really? Then why did that not occur to you when you were busy giving someone else shit? – Fundamental Attribution Error, that’s why. But heaven forefend people actually try to understand how their brains can fuck with them and take steps to correct it.)
But I digress.
(Also, by way of digression, I took a couple hours away from the writing of this, because, you know, life. I thought I would have cooled off some, but in rereading the post so far I notice no significant cooling. And so we steam ahead…)
This particular thoughtless phenomenon has bothered me since I learned how to be bothered. It ranks right up there with betrayal and being stood up for a date. Thankfully, now that I’m older, and I know myself a little better, I can look at anyone who tries to offload that type of arrogant stupidity on me and tell them exactly where they can stick it. Hell, I’m old enough now I could draw them a diagram, in a few different languages. Failing that, there’s the tried and true single-finger sign language. People usually comprehend that.
So, why did it keep me up, for any length of time?
Because my memory is a prick, that’s why.
It was one of those – and I still can’t trace the origin or progression – thought processes that shot me right back into a younger version of myself and let me relive a few choice moments that made me near homicidally angry whilst I was laying down for a long winter’s nap. Just my brain’s way of saying, “Hey, you’re not busy. Let’s bring up some ancient shit you thought you dealt with, but only really just happened to forget.”
And, if I wanted to be even vaguely functional today, I could not stay up and process all that bullshit last night. So, I’ve been processing today. Not any easier, but at least I’m not trying to do it as a sleep deprived, nearly psychotic, constantly yawning wreck. Also, it means I’m not a complete asshole to the general world today. So, that’s a good thing.
It’s funny. I’ve never had a mentor. I never had anyone with the time or patience or what ever it is one needs, to take me under a wing and show me the ropes to anything. But I’ve had plenty of scum-fuck sons-of-bitches tell me how disappointed they are that a person of my talent/ intelligence/ what-the-fuck-ever is somehow fucking things up royally.
And somehow, when I process this and get legitimately angry, I seem to be told – over and over by people who I sincerely hope have the best of intentions – that I shouldn’t hold onto things; I shouldn’t be bitter.
Why. The. Fuck. Not?
Why not be bitter when you feel bitter?
Why not be angry when you feel angry?
Why not have an honest and thorough emotional experience in the moment?
Most likely because it inconveniences someone else. And you know what?…
…Fuck Them Too.
You see, I’m not the Buddha or Christ or any saint of any variety. I’m just a man trying to figure out how to do this whole, “being human” thing. (And without much in the way of help, thank you very much.) I’m a person and I have emotions. They’re human emotions. They didn’t drift out of some membrane from a different reality and land on me like radioactive pixie dust. These things I feel, I feel them for a reason. And maybe if someone had told me it was okay to feel them a long fucking time ago, maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have random shit jump out of my subconscious and keep me awake at night now. Maybe. You never know.
There is no place to go from this but “on”.
So I’ll go on.
But you know what?
I do feel a little bit better.