The beast that lurks below

Tonight’s topic and/or jumping off point and/or random cosmic ray that hit my brain and made me say things is : my bloodthirstiness.

Because here’s the thing : I really do love to fight. For as long as I can remember, I have had this desire to grapple with others in a way that lets me express my power fully without having to worry about holding back for fear of destroying my opponent.

When I was young and dumb and full of myself, I sought this out by taking any chance I could to argue with people. Words are, after all, my weapons, and I was eager to test myself against others and find out what I am capable of and what I am made of.

As patient readers know,. I had not had much in the way of challenge in my life and, not being a born go-getter [1], it did not occur to me to go out and look for challenge, let alone cop an attitude and get all up in people’s faces in order to force them to deal with me and hopefully fight with me.

Kind of wish I had thought of it, really. I mean, I was already unpopular in school. At least if I had been a cocky teenager who thought he was the smartest guy in the world and dared people to prove him wrong, I would have been able to respect myself.

And yeah, I could do that now, but I know too much. I would know exactly what I was doing and why I was doing it, and it would be hard to escape my own judgment.

I envy people who can act on emotion without hating themselves after.

Anyhow, I had some people take me aside and teach me that there is such a thing as verbal and intellectual bullying and that I was being obnoxious and, and this is the crucial one, my desire for an argument doesn’t morally justify dragging someone else, someone who does not have my gifts, into a sparring match with me.

Even in a forum where debate is encouraged, like a college philosophy class, I have to restrain myself or be responsible for trampling over others just because, in the schoolyard of debate. I am way bigger and stronger than them.

And I am so glad I listened. I was on the verge of being really obnoxious. I had taken my first sips of the elitist Kool-aid, thinking that I was just being “honest” and “expressing myself” and that if people couldn’t take it, tough.

It’s a very seductive line of reasoning if you are someone who has been helpless at the bottom of the totem pole all your life and you are only now beginning to realize that there are realms in which you wield enormous power.

Learning the truth of my situation saved me from becoming a real asshole. And that made my ego and superego very happy.

But it made my id very sad. It had to go back into its box again. It had been denied the opportunity to express itself and grow stronger and I think that had a lot to do with the depressioin I fell into when my parents yanked me out of school.

I had just started to truly blossom – I was mid-blossom, really – when I got yanked out of the sunshine and thrown into a life where I was once more powerless and hopeless when I was in no way ready to face the real world.

How could I be when I thought I had two more years to get there?

And I think that was the gross and catastrophic injury from which I have not yet recovered. Being yanked out of school pulled me out of the flow of life and put me literally and figuratively back where I had started : living with my parents in Summerside, with no job skills and no social skills and with a depression so crippling that I was genuinely insane there for a while.

It was far more than hypochondria. I had tactile hallucinations where I felt germs crawling all over me. I had filter hallucinations where everything seemed black or red or glowing at the edges. I washed my hands ten or twelve times a day, often for five to ten minutes or more, because the moment I stopped washing them, I could feel them start to get dirty again and it felt like I was being physically violated.

I honestly should have been in the psych ward. And yet, I bet it never even occurred to my parents that it was all their fault for taking me out of universiry just so my father could retire a few years early.

All he had to do was hang in there at work for two more years and my brother and I would have gotten the degrees we’d been promised our whole lives, the degrees our sisters Anne and Catherine got. the ones that let them go on to lives far more successful than what my brother and I ended up with.

But no, he was too rotten and selfish for that. Plus, I think he wanted us back under his thumb because he wasn’t content only abusing my mother.

Not that I’m bitter.

Oh, and of course, it was only after all four of us kids were out of the house and my father only had my mom to pick on that she found the strength to divoice him.

Clearly, the safety of her four children she gave birth to was not enough. He verbally abused us on a daily basis and she didn’t do a goddamned thing to stop him.

But when it was all directed at her, well, that was different. Now it was affecting her and clearly that could not be tolerated.

How do you think that makes us feel, Mom?

If your answer was “pretty awful”, you are right.

But I bet I am the only one willing to say it.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow..





Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. More of a “stay-here-and-do-without-er, really.

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