PORTLAND, ME — I climbed a mountain, but I’m still a shitty person. I posed for this photograph, and it looks like I am the pinnacle of triumph, like I’m living my best life, but I’m still a selfish child in an adult’s body, and I have no idea what I’m doing.
I’m shitty to my friends. I overbook myself with appointments so that I don’t have to be fully available to other people, and always have an excuse to bounce as soon as things become uncomfortable or inconvenient. I like for other people to think that I’m a good person, but I refuse to do the work to actually be a good person.
I’m shitty to my employees. I run a moderately successful small business, and I like deluding myself into thinking that everybody who works here really loves working for me and shares my drive and sense of mission for the company, but I have an inkling that in reality they are all here just to pay their bills, and they are scared to tell me how they really feel because they are afraid of me and the power over their livelihoods that I wield as their boss. If they give me feedback that I don’t want to hear, I can and do fire people for “not being a good fit.”
I act selfishly in my love life, even when I know it will hurt others, because I like to “live in the moment.” I constantly say that I’m just interested in having fun and doing what feels good, but I actually have a difficult time with healthy emotional boundaries. I both desperately desire emotional intimacy, and wall myself off from it. I constantly give mixed signals because I don’t really know what I actually want from other people, or what healthy attachment looks like. I push people away in an attempt to prevent the deep emotional pain that inevitably occurs when I trust and rely on other people, who will inevitably let me down at some point. When I inevitably do hurt other people, I blame them for getting frustrated with my shitty behavior. I try to be as unaware of this dynamic as possible at all times, and I refuse to learn from past mistakes.
I have an ongoing hero narrative which allows me to excuse my shitty behavior to myself. I am the underdog, fighting against a world trying to keep me down, constantly the victim of other people, even when it’s actually my own fault. I refuse to take ownership of any of the shitty things that I’ve done to hurt other people. I don’t like introspection, and I don’t like entertaining uncertainty about whether or not I am a good person. Of course I am. Something is wrong with everybody else.
Look at me in this photo, doing yoga on the top of a mountain. It creates a well manicured self-image, a thin veneer to wallpaper over the hollow reactionary void that is my true innermost personality.
I am the hero of this story. Believe in my narrative: I’ve got my shit together. You too can be as great as me.