Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm Number One!

I'm starting to think that everything I thought I knew about other people and the way they think is completely wrong and honestly...it scares the crap out of me.

I'm the kind of person who thinks a pretty good way to go through life is to be dependable. I believe that friendships and relationships (the ones worth keeping, anyway) are about being there for each other, being generous to one another, and being able to tell each other anything without fear of baseless degradation. That's just who I am; I think nothing of buying a small gift to cheer someone up or giving heartfelt words of encouragement to those who need it. And in return all I expect is that the person receiving my attention will be so kind as to communicate clearly with me and treat me the same way I treat him or her. I'm not asking for the world; I'd just like a little consideration thrown my way.

I just assumed that's how people are supposed to act when they're good friends, or interested in each other, or what have you. I thought it was just basic human nature that, as long as there's supposedly an open channel of communication, you get what you give because that's how life works. Or is supposed to work, anyway.

I have found out recently that the way I think about life is overwhelmingly wrong, and it's eating away at me.

I feel like I'm in an emotional crisis and I'm not even sure why. I think that deep down it's not like I didn't know that the world isn't fair; bad things happen to people who don't deserve them and selfish people go unpunished. It's apparently the way of the world and I simply chose to either ignore it or hope against hope that if I tried hard enough to be attentive to peoples' needs and not play any of the horseshit games that go on every damn day of everyone's lives that my life would be infinitely enriched.

I guess I'm more mad at myself than anything because, even now, a small part of me still feels that if I just keep at it: take people at their word, be of help to my friends and family, keep taking the position that open and honest communication begets the same from others, that everything will eventually go the way I'd like it to go.

As if sharing myself with people will make them fall over themselves to help me. Or like me. Or love me. Or be honest with me. I'd take a little honesty at this point.

So, where does this leave me? If my realization is correct, that there's no good, justifiable reason on the whole to put myself out there for the benefit of others at the complete expense of myself, then what the hell is the point of being dependable? Decent? Trustworthy? Honest?

Has it really come down to this? For years now I've preached nothing but open communication between people. I've thumped my chest and stood on my pulpit and argued passionately that the vast majority of interpersonal problems that ordinary people face would be eradicated if only those people would be honest to themselves and to others. Hell, it's pretty much been my calling card for the past few years, like the unmistakable sound of a train in the distance with its smoke trail and it's rhythmic chug-chug-chug along the landscape. It's who I am; who I've chosen to be over a huge and monumentally important stretch of my life and everybody who knows me knows that. And now I'm not even certain that it's not all bullshit.

Show me nine other people who think like I do and I'm starting to think that you'd be showing me nine unhappy suckers who can't see the forest for the trees.

I don't want to be a selfish person. I hate the very idea of it. I hate other selfish people with a passion. It seems I'm meeting more and more of them these days; people so self-involved that they don't even have the common goddamn decency to tell you what's on their minds for fear that if they hurt you they'll "look bad". God forbid you risk looking like a real, fallible human being; then you might actually have to (gasp!) acknowledge your feelings and face the kind of person you might actually be.

But you know what's funny? Those people don't have to deal with as much introspection. Those people are the types who see the flaws of other people but never themselves. And while they may pay for it dearly later in life, by the time they reach that stage they probably won't care because they'll have lived their blissfully ignorant years during the prime of their lives while the rest of us with real souls suffer until we come to the realization (albeit too late, most likely) that no one is looking out for us except us. The more I worry about others, the less they worry about me. That way, they get my attention and their own. Seems like a pretty sweet deal, and one I'm less and less willing to push away.

So I'm going to go my own way for a while. I'm worried that looking out for me and me alone will have pretty horrendous consequences, not the least of which will be the realization that I've been wasting years giving a shit about others that I could have spent only giving a shit about me and being happy that way.

But hey, it doesn't seem to bother other people; maybe ignorance has its advantages. Here's hoping.