I have been pondering the seemingly genetic quirk of humanity regarding the obsession over negative details. Being an insecurity addict, I am well aware of this unfortunate tendency to look in the mirror and see a plethora of flaws, faults and flabby failings. What is the reason behind obviously preferring to look at life through shit-colored glasses instead of rosy ones? I don't enjoy it; I'd prefer to look in the mirror and be perfectly content with what I see. Despite my day-to-day struggles against my I-Hate-Me brainwashing, I have to say that I am far, far kinder to myself than I've been in the past. I used to be so fucked up, I'd slap myself in the face and claw my arms when the self-hatred became too thick a bubblin' brew. Now, I truly do love myself, with the occasional ugly rearing of some ugly mental trends. But I'll keep at them, whittling them down with a steady, plodding regimen of positive reinforcements. But why do I do it in the first place? Why does pretty much everybody do it? Why are we obsessed with the negatives to begin with?
Having been married to a scientist for almost a decade and a half (before the divorce), I now have a tendency to look for facts and figures in such a case. Metaphysical and spiritual reckonings are all well and good, and they have their merit, but I want some cold hard facts to back them up. What is it inside humanity that swings this way? Because it seems rather universal and to me, quite stupid and without true merit. What good does it do to be mean to yourself or others? Seriously, who thought this negative this shit up? Who first said, "Oh yeah, let's tell our children how awful they are. That'll do them good. Let's nag our spouses so they make an effort to do better; praise doesn't work so let's put 'em down." As a waitress, I listen daily to people agonizing over calories and inches on their waist. I hear boyfriends tease girlfriends over their weight, I hear girlfriends nag boyfriends over not being able to pay for lobster, I hear wives and husbands go for each others' throats over the wine list. I listen with real sadness to indescribably beautiful co-workers talking about yet another new diet because they aren't...quite...small enough yet. And I do it, too. I look in the mirror and make jokes about my own appearance. I used to call myself the Venus of Villendorf and Kermit with Breasts until I wised up and began to pull back the reins, saying to myself, "No. Don't be cruel. Don't talk about yourself that way." Why don't we realize how important it is to protect ourselves inside, especially from our own mean ass thoughts? I had a tough, tough childhood but nobody was meaner to me than me. I blamed myself for everything: my own molestation, my ugliness, my stupidity, my talent gone to waste, my lousy choices in not one husband but two, my failure as a parent...I hated Rebecca O'Donnell. I really, really hated that bitch in the mirror and I blamed her for everything wrong in the world. Everywhere. I even began to think that children were starving because I hadn't figured out a way to help them. There's a weird egotistical factor in the insecure. We think we can solve every problem, and every problem is our fault. Then our subconscious, which isn't as dumb as our conscious mind, gets mad and kicks us too. Something deep inside knows we're lying to ourselves, knows the abusive people we surround ourselves with are assholes, and shrieks at us for getting us in this mess in the first place. Blame, blame, hatred and rage. A Bubbling Brew, black and sticky.
I wonder if it has anything to do with survival instinct? Maybe some primal area of our brain files the negatives in a more prominent area for the protection of the body. If an animal goes up to a lion and sniffs it, the lion will most likely eat it. The rest of the herd learns to avoid lions. If an animal goes up to a tree and lies underneath it, chances are, the tree won't attack. Trees aren't necessarily a fight or flight reflex memory because they're pretty benevolent. Nothing will be filed away in the survival instinct records. An animal won't avoid a tree but won't seek it out either, unless for shade, cover or food. Not as a thing to be threatened by, or protect self from. There's no puzzle to be solved regarding fauna. Could that have something to do with it too? Survival instinct is all about problem solving. Avoid teeth, fire and steep drops in the landscape. Do that and your survival chances improve drastically. Problem solved. Then there's the survival instinct predominant in mammals, of obeying the parents. Don't wander away from mama rhino if you don't want the hyenas to get you. She told you. Stay close. So if our parents tell us we're sacks of shit, doesn't it make sense that our primal instinct is to believe, then try to obey and not be sacks of shit? How does one solve that problem?
No kid is a sack of shit. But that doesn't prevent instinct from making us believe it. We're problem-solving weenies when it comes to figuring ourselves out. We'd rather diet, or beat ourselves and/or everybody else up, than get to the Rubik's Cube mess that's an abused person's head. Because we're the sacks of shit here. We're the ones who made us miserable in the first place.
Aha. That's the root of all evil right there. The Great Lie that is told so often, by ourselves and others, by media, peers, enemies, loved ones, advertisements and backstabbing get-ahead-of-the-other-cocksuckers business practices. So try out a new puzzle: work on not believing the bubblin' black hellhole called Insecurity. It's born and bred of the Great Lie, and that's all it is in the end. A lie. You're not a sack of shit. You never were a sack of shit. You can be happy in kindness to yourself and others and wonder of wonders, you don't have to feel guilty about it. You can leave self-hatred behind with a smile and a wave. It's a laborious and slow journey of discovery, but it can be done. God knows how, but I really like myself now. I have my moments, as I've just written about. I'll always have them because it's embedded in my primal brain that I'm a sack of shit. But I don't believe it anymore.
Most of the time. Don't you believe it either.