because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Be Less Likeable

Superlatively Rude

I know what they say about me.

She fancies herself a bit, doesn’t she?

She must get money from her parents – she doesn’t have a "proper" job, and is always travelling somewhere.

There’s no way she’s as nice as she tries to make out. She was so rude to my friend {insert name here} and she doesn’t even talk to {insert second name here} anymore.

She’s unreliable.

She changes her mind all the time.

It’s gross that she’s always posting about other people – stop brown-nosing already!

All of her friends are way more successful than her. She’s a social climber for sure.

She needs to shut up about her vagina.

For a girl with that many selfies, she’s not even hot.

Who even cares what she thinks?

She makes out like her life is this series of beautiful, poetic moments, like she never spends the weekend in her pyjamas eating day-old pizza.

There’s a lot of people out there (enough people, at least) who a) out-and-out do not like me b) are jealous of me, and so do not like me or, c) think I’d be a lot more palatable if I weren’t so goddamn wanky, so do not like me.

I’m not being self-effacing or self-depreciating or self-anything-else-ing when I write that. It’s just, you know, fact. Haters gonna hate.

My point is that, miraculously, slowlyslowlyslowly, I’m growing into the truth that it is absolutely fine. Once upon a time I thought being disliked was the ultimate in life failure. That person doesn’t like me! They have an opinion about me that doesn’t line up with the opinion I have of myself! I must be liked to value myself! It’s a kind of dawning realisation, lately, that (shock! Horror! Who knew?!) I do not need everybody in the world to adore me.

I mean, it’d be nice if they did.

But also, that’s a lot of pressure.

And I’d have to be a pretty beige person to never be pissing anybody off.

Beige isn’t my colour.

Get comfortable with being less likeable, I wrote to myself in a recent post, and my inbox blew up with people saying, yes! This! True, true, true, but so hard! I’ve been thinking about those emails a lot, because knowing I am not alone makes me bolder in confronting my less… desirable, personality traits. The stuff that really is less likeable.

With most of the negative things said about me – by strangers, by acquaintances, by ex-colleagues and distant family members and people I used to go to school with – there is naff all I can do about it. What’s more, these people don’t actually know me. Not properly, or not any more. So what business is it of mine, what they think?

Spoiler: it isn’t any of my business.

I know that my true, close, valued friends think the world of me, and often not in spite of my disgustingly narcissistic flaws, but because of them. With my best friends, it is warts-and-all love, or else what is the point? They aren’t angels either, and goddamn it if that isn’t the biggest ever relief: we’re united in our humanness.

My people are fucked up, confused, loving, lonely, surviving assholes who are simply doing their best.

As am I.

As are the people out there shit-talking me (or you).

We’re all doing our best.

I have to believe that.

It is with the help of my network of assholes that I accept my flaws. Own them, even. And because I’ve unpacked the very worst parts of myself and held them up in the light for cripplingly honest inspection, nobody can use them against me.

Being removed from my regular London life and kept in a very particular isolation out here in Siberia, I’ve a lot of time alone. To think. To brood. To be with myself. And it has revealed some dark, nasty stuff that was a lot more comfortable to have locked up in the meanest parts of my mind. There’s no escaping who you are when nobody is looking.

But, where I had avoided admitting some terrible truths about myself for fear it would undo me, it’s actually been the opposite: now I’ve seen these things, they can’t hurt me. Can’t sneak up on me. I can own them. Work on them. Learn. And anyone who tells me I should shy away from these devastating imperfections has missed the point entirely.

Yeats said it takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.

That I can do that, then, means there’s no way I’m gonna shy away from the comments of a few naysayers.


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