Recently, I remarked to an old friend the bizarre experience of being a teenager and in my early 20s- the whole quest to find a sense of identity or perhaps to forge a persona. At the time, next to finding a relationship, having a public persona seemed like the most important thing in the world.
Defining one’s self, in other words, was the quest impressed upon me as a teenager and young adult, but the reality is that I never felt quite myself, and the definition always had to be on other people’s terms. The culture around me made me feel like I had to pick a particular category and stick with it- or else I was posing.
Attempting to define myself always resulted in the same disaster again and again- I would forge a persona that others either didn’t recognize or might see right through. Nobody could see me as I saw myself.
Then I hit my 30s, and and I swore to God and everyone that I was done with people’s bullshit, and I’ve kept that promise. My 30s have also seen me increase in liking myself, liking who I am- that’s the missing ingredient in forging the persona.
It’s useless to try to create a persona, an image, to get other people to like me so that I can like myself. The problem was never with not having an image to project to other people; the problem had everything to do with not liking myself and our culture being filled with incredible fucking idiots who lack manners and boundaries.
I decided I would do what I wanted, and the opinions of others be damned- within reason, of course. There is a degree of consideration for others that I must offer because that’s life. But I’m not willing to compromise my informed intellect to the emotional reactivity of other people; I don’t have to sell myself short and humble myself so that others don’t feel intimidated around me.
I want other people to be afraid of me. I want other people to see me and walk across the street. I want other people to look at me, for me to catch them looking at me, and for them to look away embarassed and afraid. You think I’m mean? Well, you have no idea exactly how mean I can be, and you should be afraid!
The whole, “Hey, I’m just going to be kind-hearted and a good guy and try to be nice and get people to like me” bit never worked. People decided they would walk all over me. But if I’m a cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch, well, people may just realize that I mean business when I talk business.
Maybe I’ve found my voice. Maybe I haven’t. But back to doing what I want, which is ending this blog right about now.