Everyone has their own problems. Sometimes external, sometimes external. From my own experience, most things I would classify as a “problem” involve both. There is some reality, and it is exacerbated by a bad internal reaction or view. Over the years, I’ve had to acknowledge how my own mindset is affected by the outside world. Just recently, I’ve realized how my own body affects my personality.
Now, that might sound dramatic, but it’s really just this-
I really don’t like when my hair starts to drop down and touch my forehead. It gives me a headache, and makes me visibly bitchy!
Small and petty, right? A headache makes me irritable- isn’t that true for most people? Well, simple as it is, it makes me have sympathy for people with more serious problems. While I can control and prevent my hair from irritating me, I get lazy sometimes. And then I end up being nasty to someone who really doesn’t deserve to hear my shit that day. And some part of me used to wonder, isn’t this attitude a part of me?
And the answer is obviously yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s always a part of me. It’s clearly caused by some external factor. People are shaped in ways that we don’t always understand by all sorts of things. I am in many ways a wholly different person than I was five years ago, that much is clear. But am I in some small way a different person when I am weighed down by sickness and digging my nails into my hand until they leave marks? Continuing that line of thought, am I a different person depending on whether I hang out with my MAGA philosopher friend or my little brother?
I feel like some people would be proud to say that they are always the same person. That they are just donning some “mask” or performing a social “role”, or even just showing a “side” of their personality. I believe most everyone is capable of doing that. But is there always such a clear division between the internal “self” and that “mask”? Even in the moments that you are not consciously projecting that persona? Can you still really say that the social process is not formative in any way?
Of course not. That is ridiculous.
There is some element of socialization that is formative. We understand that. The question is how much? Now you could obviously derail this into a nature vs nurture debate, but I’m not talking about such a grand scale. What I’m asking about is how much minute factors can completely change the way that you interact with life in an everyday scenario.
For me, it’s not much. Because I don’t especially open myself up to the world. I don’t especially interact with other people. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m a super empathetic person. I get attached and influenced by people very easily. Couple that with my intense feelings of inward pointed feelings of distrust, then you can see why I want to avoid being influenced by other people. Other people can make a mistake and go, “Oops. It was someone else’s fault, wasn’t it?”
But I end up going, “Ah. I really am a shit enough person to believe that I am capable of interacting with other people without someone getting hurt? I should know better than this. I should be better than this.”
While there’s nothing wrong with the desire for self-improvement, I don’t really wish the feeling that accompanies it on anyone. It’s like, ever since I entered middle school my emotions have been totally different. Muted, dull and heavy. When I get to feeling a certain kind of way, I feel all sorts of hollow, and I question basically everything about myself. To justify my self-improvement, I retroactively deny my past. In some ways I rewrite it, so that it suits my narrative of progress.
“I was the worst kind of guy, so now I can try to be better.”
– I always tell myself. I sometimes get so cynical that I think back to elementary school and start judging that kid who was the king of the playground. I try to reconcile him with the person who just made the mistake. I try to reconcile my past with who I am now. I try to connect the dots. But honestly, it’s a futile, self-destroying effort.
I am too remote from my past to create a consistent, all-encompassing canon between now and then. I’ve made too many mistakes, cared about too many things. I’ve learned the same lesson over and over again…
And y’know, that ain’t such a bad thing after all. My mistakes don’t have to make sense to me. I don’t have to be able to draw a clear line and point out each influence. I don’t have to hate myself to want to be better. I don’t have to scorn myself for my past mistakes, and I don’t have to treat those times as if they were completely devoid of love or joy, just because I want to hate myself.
Look, that may sound obvious to you, or it might not.
I wrote this because I came back from my last day of college classes before my finals, and I just threw up my hands. I looked up at the gray ceiling of my dorm room and I groaned “Just kill me already!”
In that moment, I was reminded of a time before I was in middle school when I cried those same words into my pillow. All I felt then was regret, hate and disappointment. And that’s all I felt for a few years. Honestly, everything I did felt like a mistake. Every choice I made felt wrong. Even my decision to live.
After that, my hate became another mistake- just another reason to hate myself.
But here I was, not two days ago, repeating the same words that once ‘cursed’ me. Only, the meaning was totally different. Rather than wishing for myself to die from disappointment or self-hate, I was just genuinely exhausted! I had worked myself through classes that I was obviously too dumb to get through, without the help of anyone else. The exhaustion had given way to a feeling that I very rarely feel-
And you know, I’ve written how I’m scared about how satisfaction will turn me into a complacent potato. How my recognition of my own ‘potato-ness’ would obviously give way to even more self-hate…
But it really isn’t such a bad thing to feel some positive emotion every now and then! Even if I haven’t done everything I could, even if I recognize that there were places I could have done things better with hindsight- there’s no reason to worry about what-ifs. There’s a point where self-reflection can become a form of self-harm…
And that’s a biological fact (
probably, but I’m no Bio-major)! Memory can change with repeated use! If primed by some external event or bias, your memory can risk being overwritten to suit your narrative! If you hate yourself for long enough, you might find reasons in your past to do so! Or you might create those reasons, and have no one to tell you otherwise! Judging ill intent, sadism, or psychopathy where there was none motivating your past actions benefits no one!
So yeah! Instead of changing out of self-hatred, I think it’s best to live in a way that I can look back and say, “I’m glad I was alive then, and I’m grateful for the person I was, if just for the fact that I got to experience the things I did that made me who I am now.”
You don’t have to align yourself with your past in the same way you don’t have to align yourself with your family or culture. They can be nice to have on your side, but you don’t need them to enjoy life. I just have never understood ideas about ‘being yourself’ or ‘duty’. I have values that I follow. Goals I want to fulfill.
I feel like culture insisting on some essential, unchanging and abstract ‘you’ doesn’t really lead to anything good. Same thing about innate or ‘natural’ morality or purpose. At best, those things are unnecessary. Often times, it just gives people a sense of inferiority and stops them from owning their virtues. Each personal failing isn’t just failing themselves, but also their ‘true self’ or their ‘duty’. Dealing with those feelings ain’t easy!
Maybe my edgy perspective is a little clearer now! Explaining my personal feelings is always a little bit difficult, considering my self-hating, yet self-righteous and judgmental attitude. I never really meet anyone who confesses to have a remotely similar attitude, so I’ve struggled with not being quite sure how to say it.
Honestly, I’m not sure this was the best way to go about it either…
And while I’m being 100% honest, this song is really the only reason I was able to convince myself to post. It’s just so chill!
… Well, I guess it kinda ties in to my message of gratitude towards a past I don’t especially like. Imouto Sae Ireba Ii or A Sister‘s All You Need is a show that will stick with me for a long while despite its mediocrity. It was my first anime review on this blog! As much as I don’t like the show, it had a really great song!
Thanks past me! Putting up with this show was definitely worth it, if only for the fact that the opening melody stuck with me 11.5 months later!
Another smaller reason was a desire to ‘refine’ some ideas I tried to explain in an older post-
I also figured that this would be a good way to wrap up my blog before finals. My blog is nearing its first anniversary. Neither of my planned blog projects can be completed before that anniversary, so I’ll probably finish the year with some seasonal stuff. Bloom Into You, more Planet With, and maybe some SSSS.Gridman?
… Maybe scratch writing about Gridman, because it’s pretty obvious from this post how I feel about its themes. Might not be worth a post to say that it’s a dumb popcorn show with my favorite character design of the year.
Who told Trigger that I love hoodies!?
Curses. My one weakness!