I’ve long debated that. When I go through periods of hating myself, is it actually myself that I so despise, or just how terrible I must look to other people?
I already mentioned my mind, and how ridiculous an amount of importance I place on other people’s perception of me in finding my own sense of self-worth*, but isn’t that logically the way I should be approaching life?? Don’t we as humans only even truly exist in how we effect other human beings and the world around us? Sure, you can be happy in yourself, and not care slightly about your consequences that your needlessly complicated existence can have on those around you. Congratulations, you’re a meaningless life form. Isn’t that sociopathic though? How can you struggle through life with any kind of happiness when surely you have to be an idiot to not even give thought to how little esteem you’re held in the eyes of so many people.
(*at least, I do when the needle of my depression happens to swinging toward the lower end of the Richter Scale. Or is it the higher end? Anyway, it’s there, so aren’t you lucky to be getting me on this kind of form?!)
OK, there are some outlier examples. Tom Hanks, for example, nobody hates him, do they? I bet he’s quite a content chap. And I get the impression that Rebecca Adlington is quite well thought of. She probably never feels the desire to shut herself off from the world, and most likely got out of bed relatively early today. That’s pretty much it though. If you’re reading this and you’re neither the highly regarded star of the Da Vinci Code film franchise or the woman who won some gold medals for being such a charming swimmer, then the vast majority of humankind thinks very little of you. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that everyone else fucking hates you.
‘Other people’ fall mainly into three camps. Firstly, there are the strangers. The people you bungle past on the street and are selfishly denying a seat to on public transport. These people couldn’t care less about you. They don’t so much as hope you die, but your demise would at best pass by unnoticed and at best ensure them a seat on the bus. If you somehow do make an impression on them, it is more than likely because you did something deplorable that got their attention. Maybe the food you’re eating is far too smelly, maybe you’re wearing the insignia of something they despise, maybe you’re wearing the insignia of something they actually love and they can’t possibly conceive of someone like you loving the thing suggested by that insignia in any way approaching proper. Strangers either don’t care about you, or hate you. If you’re at all in tune to how 99% of people saw you, you’d fucking hate yourself too.
Then there are the other people that you kinda know. Remember Colin? You went to the same school, remember? No? What about that party in college when he turned up, and you were so drunk that you spent much of the night saying how amazing it was to see him, and that you should definitely try and meet up more? No? Well, yeah, you were pretty drunk. Do you remember Colin being the main suspect in the ‘High Peak Paedo‘ case in the late 90s? No?! Mate, you need to read the news a bit more. OK, then do you remember Colin being used as your hypothetical partner whom you’ve long fallen out of love with in my Joy Formidable piece?? Yeah, you know Colin! There are a lot of Colins in your life, people who know your name, face, and might have even held a one to one conversation with you on occasion. These people don’t hate you, because they don’t know you enough to form as complex an emotion as ‘hate’ around you. They’d probably act upset if you died, but more over coming to grips with the fractious status of human life. They’re not really upset that you died, they’re just upset that maybe they or someone they actually care about could die at any second. Plus- people just like the excuse to be upset! Because, deep down, everyone’s upset and they rarely have an excuse to show it! These people might actually be secretly happy when you die, as there hasn’t been an excuse to cry since Granny passed in 2004. Otherwise though, these people think very little of you.
Then there’s your ‘loved ones’. Y’know, the people that you’re not even sure you love anymore. Let’s call them ‘the people close to you’ because, let’s be honest, you would never call whatever’s going on with Julie from the launderette as love now, would you? First of all, family doesn’t count. If your Mum loves you, that’s mainly down to genetics. I’m sure you’re amazing and every little thing you do fills your parents with such pride that it’s seeping out of their anuses. But they would also love you even if you were a pathetic waste of space. Even mother robins love their children, and have you seen a robin chick?? I mean, fuck! That’s how ugly you look to the rest of the world. Your Mum doesn’t care because genetics have made her insane!
Those people close to you who you aren’t related to? Yeah, they hate you. They know you so well and for so long that they can’t for the life of them remember why they ever liked you in the first place and for what reason they allowed you so much access into their life. They know you so well that now even the tiniest things that you do absolutely infuriate them. Sure, they might say that they ‘love’ you on all the appropriate forms, and may even have sex with you if they think enough of you to make you their occasional wanking cloth, but underneath it all they fucking hate you.
So what’s the solution? I don’t think you can just not care about other people’s perspectives or feelings, because then you’re blind to other people’s needs. Is complete selfishness the best route to human happiness? Or are you only supposed to consider a select few people’s needs as being worthwhile? Am I supposed to put Joanne’s* importance onto a higher pedestal because I once put my willy inside her? That seems ridiculous, I think human life is worth celebrating across the board. Are we supposed to change ourselves based on the whims and beliefs of others? That’s a quick route to a complete loss of identity and more misery. I don’t want to advocate suicide, but it should always be seriously considered as an option.
(*hi Joanne! Was just trying to come up with the name of someone I had sex with a long time ago and has absolutely no bearing on my current life! We did the nasty about 20 years ago, remember?? Not really spoken to you since. Funny if she reads this though. Yes, I am always open to a repeat performance, because sex is the only way you can quickly get a blast of self-worth, and actually feel loved for three or four minutes. Four minutes is including the foreplay, where I say how nice your tits look while taking my socks off)
Women, like awakebutstillinbed’s creative force Shannon Taylor, are taught from an early age to hand over their identity and self-esteem over to the whims and desires of strange men. The band’s incredible debut album shows how incredibly acute the depression that this life demands can be. OK, that’s my review of the actual record finished, seventeen words, all you need. Now let’s talk about why, with the unrelenting stress of fitting strangers’ expectations that I feel turned up to 11, women are far less likely to commit suicide than men. In the UK, men are three times more likely to take their own life as women, a statistic repeated almost exactly throughout the world. Why is this? My own personal belief is that a lot of it is actually down to still embedded patriarchal sexism- a woman growing up in 2018 Britain has still been conditioned to expect less because of their gender. Men are the ones who are always starring in movies, getting the girl and earning millions, they’re sold an utterly untruthful vision of how their life will pan out and it can hurt bad when they end up being the same dullard as every other loser. Women are still taught to expect less, and so a crap life doesn’t shock quite so much. Helen Fisher hypothesised that a lot of it has to do with women being more emotionally expressive, and men then have more problems in expressing their frailty or their fears. I know that I am constantly tempted to threaten suicide when I’m feeling angry or emotionally let down by someone, as even after studying literature at university, teaching English for years and writing this blog for far too long, I still don’t know how to express my darkest emotions. Them girls are so lucky.
Fisher also stated that women are more likely to appeal to their networks, they’re more likely to have people close to them. Do men have these same networks? Maybe I do, but I could never even consider appealing to them when I felt like commiting suicide. I know what they’d say, they’d tell me not to do it. How dull. I also know that they couldn’t possibly understand how freaking irritating my own head is sometimes, and all they’re likely to mention are the crass old tropes that they somehow believe make life worth living. My friends have no idea what’s going on in my life or in my head. Waste of time. When I next try to commit suicide, I’m just going to do it. Happy New Year!
Absolutely amazing album. Buy a caps lock though, yeah?