Saturday, December 25, 2010

Brain Fever

Being a life long insecurity addict, I have had the occasional, sometimes far more than occasional, periods in  my life where I just go nuts.  You know the feeling; a thought gets lodged somewhere in your head and can't be dissuaded from growing into a self-destructive obsession.  It's like picking a scab.  You have an emotional wound, it starts itching as it begins to heal, and you pick at it.  If you're not careful, it'll get infected. Let the damn thing heal.  But insecurity addicts are pickers.  We just have to dig at that painful outchie, like probing a bad tooth with your tongue.  Sooner or later, we get infected, and self hatred brain fever sets in.

For instance, I used to think all I was was a piece of meat that could draw well.  In my eyes, I didn't have anything else of value.  Artistic talent and being easy on the eye were everything I could ever possibly achieve.  So I exercised all the time, and wouldn't go outside without makeup and wearing some stunning ensemble of gypsy poverty and eccentricity.  I had to look cool all the time.  I did.  I looked really cool.  There is photographic evidence of this fact.  The problem was, I never saw the cool.  I only saw the flaws.  My waist wasn't small enough, my stomach wasn't flat enough, my skin wasn't clear enough. 

It didn't stop at my appearance, either.  My insecurity liked to attack my artwork as well.  No drawing was as good as what I had pictured in my head, and since I couldn't value my own opinion, I'd borrow the opinions of others.  I used people like a mirror to reflect what I myself couldn't see.  That's how I found self worth.  Not within myself, but in the eyes of others.  That's a dangerous place to be.  Insecurity addicts are the human wildebeests to predators.  We're dumb and easy meat.  Predators feed well on us.

I've been talking with a young woman over the past few weeks.  She's as sweet and kind as anybody you could ever meet, but she's involved with a skank bastard who latched onto her and is not about to let go.  She's far too delicious and easy to control.  It's the typical red flag behavior of an insecurity addict, one which I know well.  I did it myself for years.  Her family hates him, he ostracizes her from her friends, he demands expensive presents but gives her next to nothing, and there are the usual control comments, the ones which mirror what he wants her to see, not what's really there.  Slowly but surely, he's whittled away her self worth with phrases like "you look like a whore with all that makeup on" or "when are you going to lose that fat ass?"  She reacts exactly the same way that I did, in the way thousands of other insecurity addicts react to such vicious mind control: with apologetic bitterness and subservient rage.

We're such a strange lot, insecurity addicts.  Very easy to control.  When a predator sniffs us out, they first go with the over abundance of positive attention.  Nobody is more beautiful, accomplished, clever, kind, funny to them than us.  We eat it up.  Then they tell us their own sad story, and our empathy rushes in with a strong instinct to save, to heal, to help this broken person.  The compliments are the bait, but the sad stories sink the hook.  Once they have us, they begin their spider web of lies to keep us with them.  We're ugly, fat, stupid, incompetent, poor parents, rotten spouses, lousy in bed, embarrassing to take out in public and usually slovenly.  This is the mirror our predators show us.  Soon, this is all we see. 

So on this Christmas Day, I want to give a gift to all my brothers and sisters of circumstance.  I am just like you.  I sold my soul for a few fluffy words and worked a decade and a half to please someone who couldn't be pleased.  I obsessed over it, I worked at it, I tried to think of ways to make him happy; anything to stop the berating and sarcastic hatred.  To get back those wonderful words of praise when we were dating.  But I didn't see the truth because my vision was clouded by years of cutting verbal abuse, heaped on top of a childhood full of all the other abuses known to man. I had no true self image.  I existed internally on the outward opinions of others.  But I got away from it.  I began to slowly, very slowly, scrape the shit away from my own vision of myself and let me tell you, that dung heap was piled high.  It was almost as if I'd never used my own eyes before.  Perhaps I never had.  But I got out the blow torch and the ice scraper and the pickax and I tunneled a view through all that mess.  I began to see that I am a good person, that I've tried very hard for the noblest of reasons and fucked up royally doing just that.  But I refrained from attacking myself with the self abuse I'd practiced for years.  I didn't yell at Rebecca for being a dumb ass.  I comforted her.  I became my own best friend.  At first, it feels stupid because why would I want to spend time alone with this dumb bitch, me, who fucked up our lives in the first place?  But I kept at it, like a dog with a bone.  Repetition is the key.  It was repetition of all that abuse that got me so fucked up in the first place.  It's been positive reinforcement repetition that's helped me claw my way out of that hell.  I do it every day, like any other exercise.  I love myself.  I admire myself.  And I make sure to live my life so that it's not a mockery.  I make sure to live as well as I can.  I still fuck up.  I still go through bouts of disco brain fever, where my self respect falls apart like a house of cards and noisy insecurity tells me what a sack of shit I am, what a joke that I'm trying so hard to be a decent person.  But I tell it to go fuck itself.  I know the moment of weakness will pass.  I make sure negative people no longer have a stronghold in my life.  That's key.  So love yourself, my dear readers.  Remember, you're not a piece of shit.  You never were.  Go out and buy a new mirror.  See the truth.  Thou art beautiful.  Merry Christmas.  May the best of your past be the worst of your future from now on.  Cherish yourself and heal.

Love, R

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