Augury

The Art of Self-Derision

It occurred to me early this morning, watching a part of the movie “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” that the whole deal of my biting my thumb at society for bullying me wasn’t so much a taking back of my power, but a recognition that I lost my power long ago, and felt the path of least resistance was to call myself that name first, or make the joke about my weight first, or be the first one to laugh my arse off, if I happened to fall, or say something awkwardly, or pretty much wake up breathing that day.


The taking of my own Tease Tin Flag coincided with my first nervous breakdown, after realizing that my final foray into the realm of normal, where people enjoy one another’s company, and date, and fall in love, and likeminded people can participate in groups and have the most wonderful things happen, was more than a little disastrous.  I knew in 1998 that I would never fit in anywhere, that I would forever be that outsider who got laughed at because of my separateness.  What happened was, I subconsciously said to the world:  “Fuck it.  I’m a freak.  Let me inform you on how deep the freakiness burrows, before you open your mouth and try to tell me what I already know.”  But another thing happened, too.  All the hate poured upon me by my peers, stopped rolling off my back, as it had always been instructed that it should.  No, I began to absorb that hatred, and I realized I hated the world just as much as it apparently hated me.  A reaction?  Perhaps.  Equal and opposite?  No doubt, for quite some time.


When I began to find a niche on the Internet, I channeled both the resigned outcast and the furious pariah.  They became two sides of the coin I figured must be me.  Now, there’s a part of me that shivers with concern if I ever didn’t take up the “I suck” banner before anyone could open their mouths.  Would my “All Y’All Need To Die, RIGHT NOW” banner also have to remain grounded?  And who am I, if I’m anyone at all, without carrying these flags in my hands?  The coin has two sides, but is there really anything in the middle?


Am I doing myself a disservice if I stop putting myself down, with the expectation that I headed the world off at the pass?  Am I doing people a disservice, thinking that this is exactly what they’re going to do, because it’s what people fucking do? It’s not that I don’t give people the opportunity to prove me wrong, but am I harming them by concluded they're dicks, which places the burden of disproof firmly at their feet?  Ah, but wouldn’t it mean that the people I truly love, also unconditionally love me as well?  Is there not a soul on this planet for whom I’ve made it ridiculously impossible for them to get to know me, or for them to even insinuate themselves just a smidge, in the attempt to do so?


Does any of this really matter?


Yes.  I would say yes.  The “RL” friends who let me drift away from them during the point of my worst life experience...I can’t say they abandoned me, but I freely admit demanding isolation.  But sometimes, the one thing a person rails against, is often the thing that person needs.  When it was happening, and even now to a point, I see that period of history in my life to be one of dropping the friendship ball by the most unexpected persons ever.  Why do I say they dropped the ball, when I was isolating so successfully?  There’s one thing you never do when you have a friend going through a crisis that compels them to withdraw for a while: Give up on her/him. Other things come under that umbrella rule of thumb.  Don’t be your typical passive/aggressive, dysfunctional, Emo self every single time you’re around her.  Listen to what she has to say or, if she doesn’t want to talk, don’t invariably turn the conversation more in your direction.  And, especially if she doesn’t want to talk, remain with her in silence.  Sometimes, the presence of a warm body can speak levels of comfort we’ve yet to realize.


All that aside, I wonder how many people prone to self-deprecation were tormented as kids and simply opted to take the work out of it for the assholes, and just tear themselves down as a way to avoid the humiliation and agony of having it done to them.  Until yesterday, I saw the act as empowering.  Now, I’m just wondering if my self-abuse is making it easy for the very people I want to see inconvenienced in every imaginable way.  By the same token, I wonder how many people who have the habit of self-deprecation were made so miserable when they were kids, they simply know no other world view by which to gauge their lives.

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(Anonymous)
One interesting point: coincidentally I've just watched a documentary on Dolly Parton (shown because she headlined Glastonbury today), and the point was made how confident and balanced she was, and also how she immediately disarmed a room, eg full of film crew when filming 9 to 5, by making the first joke about her boobs so that they couldn't really, and everybody was at ease.

I think it is a way of trying to take back some control, and the circumstances dictate how much control that is. I don't think it makes it easier for them, but I think it's a question of whether you/one really buys into the negative as your truth.

As for your attitude towards them, I'm hardly the poster girl for accepting how mean, stupid and evil people can be; but I think I find it easier to accept that some of them are lovely, sweet, and show intelligence. There was a particular day, sometime in the 90s, when I really truly GOT IT that there were people who loved me - and I would actually recite the list to myself when I started feeling despair. But I do know that it is a special type of knowing, and that just to hear them tell you, or to tell yourself, doesn't do the job. Maybe it really is about buying into the idea that you are lovable - and it only needs to be by a few, who cares if most of them don't like you?

I only wish I had been close enough to be RL - and not nursing a near-terminally ill partner - when you needed me. You saw on that one occasion that I refused to give up no matter how many ways you said Go away! But that's because I'm bloody-minded enough to think I know what people need better than they do. Sounds like in this case I was right, but it's not necessarily a very good trait to have. Love overcomes respect, basically, and that's dodgy territory. Most people do respect better than that - plus they've got their own rejection issues and can only take so much.

In any case, I think you've really hit on some things here, and I love the way you're finally dealing with it and thinking it through. Go go go!
One interesting point: coincidentally I've just watched a documentary on Dolly Parton (shown because she headlined Glastonbury today), and the point was made how confident and balanced she was, and also how she immediately disarmed a room, eg full of film crew when filming 9 to 5, by making the first joke about her boobs so that they couldn't really, and everybody was at ease.

I think it is a way of trying to take back some control, and the circumstances dictate how much control that is. I don't think it makes it easier for them, but I think it's a question of whether you/one really buys into the negative as your truth.

As for your attitude towards them, I'm hardly the poster girl for accepting how mean, stupid and evil people can be; but I think I find it easier to accept that some of them are lovely, sweet, and show intelligence. There was a particular day, sometime in the 90s, when I really truly GOT IT that there were people who loved me - and I would actually recite the list to myself when I started feeling despair. But I do know that it is a special type of knowing, and that just to hear them tell you, or to tell yourself, doesn't do the job. Maybe it really is about buying into the idea that you are lovable - and it only needs to be by a few, who cares if most of them don't like you?

I only wish I had been close enough to be RL - and not nursing a near-terminally ill partner - when you needed me. You saw on that one occasion that I refused to give up no matter how many ways you said Go away! But that's because I'm bloody-minded enough to think I know what people need better than they do. Sounds like in this case I was right, but it's not necessarily a very good trait to have. Love overcomes respect, basically, and that's dodgy territory. Most people do respect better than that - plus they've got their own rejection issues and can only take so much.

In any case, I think you've really hit on some things here, and I love the way you're finally dealing with it and thinking it through. Go go go!
I didn't tear myself down, but I did wall myself up. And it took me a long time to be able to take compliments seriously...