Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I GET IDEAS! (A Half-Manic Account of One Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

I accidentally wake up at 6 in the morning and the voices have already started

(WHAT DRAMA! INTRIGUE! They aren't voices. Voices are too tangible, too present-- I don't feel forced or encouraged to act in any which way. They are fragments of phrases, barely, wisps of feelings almost making it into sentences, to be forgotten immediately, like strands of light (darkness?) that appear and reappear at will).

I'm at first only vaguely aware of their buzzing, but I start to identify key phrases. First I'm really mad at myself for not being able to fall asleep. Then I remember I have some pineapple in the fridge.

"Fuck you, did you really just Google how long pineapple lasts? The sun isn't even out. The Internet is destroying your brain. You shouldn't be allowed to have an iPhone because you have no self-control and now your attention span has gone to shit and you will never create anything of value. Start making a To-Do list for the rest of the week and do it NOW."

Of course, this isn't what it sounds like in my head as the thoughts are actually happening. They are just brief, incomplete word combinations, if anything-- "fuck you," "destroying your brain," "attention span has gone to shit." Only after I have allowed the feelings and non-words to pass through me entirely can I relocate them later via angsty blog post.

It takes me a second to become aware of these thoughts, even though I'll realize in a few minutes that all my physical discomfort only needed a moment of quiet to manifest that way-- a moment without stimulation from the iEscapeMyself. I wake up and I'm sleep deprived and I haven't eaten and my tonsils are swollen, one of the rarer power-combos, so my brain starts in on the attack.

I understand that in most people, the thoughts that direct you to eat, sleep, or take an Advil are not harrowing she or he-beasts beating down mercilessly on the soft baby's head of your emotional health, but in my case, every minute that I am not keeping myself to an almost perfect standard of health becomes a minute I am ushering in my own premature death, a minute I should probably start making arrangements for my funeral so my family doesn't have to because after 6 hours of sleep I took an Advil on an empty stomach and on Sunday I went drinking and soon my liver is going to shut down completely due to my lack of restraint also that one study says that animal by-products cause cancer and I have two different pints of ice cream in my freezer.

And so I stay up late, or wake up early, because I can't fall or stay asleep. I have to pee a lot, almost once an hour-- I have a constant fear of getting a UTI, something I have never gotten but understand happens when you have to pee but refuse your body the opportunity. Even more than that, I have a fear of peeing my pants in a public (or private, I guess?) situation, because once you feel like you have to pee who knows when that line is crossed, the line between, I Feel Like I Have To Pee, and Here I Am Now, Peeing?

Of course, the awful irony of this is that on any given day, I'm lethargic and unmotivated, which is a little funny because I consider myself an ambitious person, I have big dreams and yada yada yada art changes hearts and minds make laws and peace on Earth and lesbians forever blah blah blah. Most importantly, feeling lethargic and unmotivated makes it nearly impossible for me to do the two things that would almost surely 100% help tremendously with all these problems.

A1. Exercise more.
A2. See a therapist.

Let's get this part over with.

It is a terrible and confusing feeling, to consider yourself a relatively conscientious and informed person, to spend a little part of every day reflecting on your own privilege, trying to identify your blind spots, and still not find a method of forcing yourself out of bed sometimes, to appreciate the life you've been given and take steps to keep yourself healthy, so that you may better serve as many communities, yours or otherwise, that you can reach. I am overly fortunate-- my friends and family are supportive and make me feel smarter, I go to a great college, I live in one of the most popular cities in America with miraculously affordable rent, and I'm dating a girl with a lot of freckles who wears dresses LITERALLY EVERY DAY. I should be shouting on a daily basis with enthusiasm for my existence. I should be leaping from rooftop to rooftop, fully embracing this tiny body that has received so many good things in its short lifespan already, and figuring out about 10,000 ways to give those good things back.

Instead, I'm exhausted by the thought of sitting up in bed to read, and I'm in bed at 4 o'clock on a Monday.


Easier still! SEEING A THERAPIST. WE ASSURE YOU, NO RUNNING INVOLVED! Just *use the phone like a normal human being* to inquire about a therapist. Tip: the person you are calling's job, THE WAY THEY MAKE THEIR LIVING, includes answering your phone call and your questions. If you don't make use of their services, their family doesn't eat. By not going to see a therapist when you REALLY CLEARLY NEED ONE, you are robbing both yourself and your would-be therapist of a little more mental health. And God knows you're both short on mental health if you're going to therapy, AS THAT IS THE POINT.

Probably the funniest thing (and I'm not making this up, this is a real symptom I've had for almost year now that has particularly started to flare up in the last 6 months) that happens to me now related to my anxiety is what I would imagine most people would identify as the beginning of a panic attack. I regularly have what feels like the beginning of a panic attack, approximately every other night before I fall asleep-- my heart starts to race, I think I'm going to have a heart attack, and so on. Only, I don't finish the panic attack trajectory-- very rarely do I end up launching into a full-fledged panic attack. What usually happens is that I start to panic, the feeling steadies and lasts for a few minutes, then starts to deteriorate on its own. Usually there is an aftershock, which can either be more or less easy to manage, depending on my brain's ability to not suck that day. Whenever my anxiety does take over, and I have a complete panic attack, at least there's a latent sense of catharsis due to the physical exhaustion that comes after shaking up your psyche that much.

Anyway. The conclusion that we all are forced to draw? I'm so unmotivated and unfocused that I can't even finish a panic attack.

So, panic attack feels like the wrong word. Maybe even, "I think I'm going to have a heart attack" are the wrong words, because I'm generally uneducated about what it feels like to have a heart attack, so let's keep it simple and phrase it as "sometimes I remember that I am breathing and then I think about how delicate breathing is, like the entire breathing process, and then I get upset about the fact that I could stop breathing at any moment because what does that even feel like? and then my heartbeat spikes to epic proportions and I have to self-soothe by taking a fish oil supplement."

I used to think that if I ate healthy, got a regular amount of sleep, found closure in all my unstable relationships and generally strove to be my best self, to help others feel what they wanted to feel and to accomplish my individual goals, the anxious energy in me would shrink down until I could no longer feel it, just for one day, even, just for one full day. But there has not been a day I can remember where I did not lose at least one hour to anxiety. And we only have a finite number of hours, people. Worlds can change in an hour.

Q: Do you recognize that it's the anxiety about living well itself that most likely affects your health in a negative way, that keeps you from achieving more? Do you realize that if you just stopped worrying, you'd have a significantly better chance at reaching all the dreams you've just laid out for me?


(This post does not account for all the progress I've made-- compared to where I was in middle school, or even high school, I'm the chillest person ever. G.A.D. is a lifelong battle and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all works out. Remember that emotional and physical health is the best thing you can do for your brain--and, talking about what's going on inside it. I don't know how to talk, so I have a blog).

(Please do remember that this is my individual experience with G.A.D. and I do not speak for anyone else here. G.A.D. manifests in a ton of ways. Also I'm 21 years old I don't really know what's going on ever).

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Normal Day.

The day for me starts at night. 3 in the morning. Breath. Breath. Breath. Feel your heartbeat for a second. Don’t feel it. Breath. Breath. Breath. The curtain that is my fourth wall (no, really, I live in half of a living room, I use a curtain as a wall) is lit up slightly by the natural light streaming in through the window. The darkness outside is not nearly as strong as the darkness in here. I live in a basement of a house, I remember. Breath. Breath. Not my house. Five men live above me. They blast Father John Misty or they practice with their band. I reach over for the water I have prepared for myself. The glass is sitting on a little stool the last tenants left here, I now use it as a night stand. I take a sip of water, but not too much because I know I need to drink water when I first wake up in the morning, because I will have been asleep for almost 6 hours and will therefore feel very dehydrated. Sip. Swallow. Breath. Breath. Breath. Breath Breath Breath Breath Breath. What if I don’t wake up? What if tonight’s the night my heart stops? What does a heart attack actually feel like? Will dying hurt or will it—

At some point, I fall asleep.

I wake up to my alarm, it’s violent, but my bed is so soft. This is the best part of my day—for a few seconds, I don’t have any thoughts. I am hardly conscious at all. The sun is up and the light is streaming through the window and I can see the design on the curtain. After this thought, I accept that I have started having thoughts again. Another day of thinking has begun. I reach over and grab the glass to take a sip of water. Sip. Swallow. Breath. Breath. I shove my face into the pillow. Breath. Breath. What time is it? I have work. Breath. Breath. Do I need to shower? What am I going to wear? Breath. Carly said I can dress comfortable. I have jeans somewhere on the floor that are relatively clean and a nice shirt in my plastic drawers that I use as a dresser. Breath. I finish the water and think about food. The last thing I ate was macaroni you put in the microwave. I need to eat something that is less likely to give me cancer. Breath. Breath. How do you know when you have cancer? Breath. Breath.

Something I don’t understand gets me up and walking around my room, bending over and picking up clothes from the floor, moving smoothly to the kitchen. I reach into the box of granola cereal and stuff two handfuls into my mouth. Not enough. I’ll have to eat more. I have to wash my face.

I go to the bathroom and stare at myself. My acne does seem to be getting better. Arica says it takes 28 days to make a habit. I have been washing my face regularly for 25 days. 28 days to make a habit, though. I see a new one forming on my chin, right in the center. I wash my face with the exfoliating scrub and then cake on the adult acne medication, the brown stuff that dries your skin out. It reminds me of the girls I went to high school with who used to cover their face in foundation and you could see it flaking off throughout the day, making their cheeks and noses and foreheads look all grainy. I don’t care if this is what I look like. I want my acne to go away. I am an adult and adults should not have acne. I brush my teeth. A girl at work told me that if you don’t floss you lose three years off your life, because plaque reaches the heart and builds there and causes heart disease or something like that. I bought floss after she told me this but I’ve only used it a couple times. I stare at the floss while I brush my teeth but after I brush my teeth I check my phone and see that I am almost late for work, meaning there is 2 minutes until my scheduled Leaving Time and I still have to put on my shoes and lock the door once I’m outside. I determine I do not have time to eat any more granola cereal.

I walk outside and instantly feel more relaxed. The sky is a milky blue, the sky is mixed with something soft, the sidewalk feels good and real beneath me, I slam my boots down on it just for fun. My headphones are in and I bob my head even though people are walking all around me. I don’t care if they stare. I will never see these people again and even if I do I don’t care because I have more important things to think about. Breath. I check my phone. 8 minutes until 10am. I estimate it will take me 6 minutes to arrive on the fifth floor of the Engineering Building and walk into Carly’s office. I cross 5 streets and then I am on campus because I work at my school and I live close to school because I thought it would be convenient, even if I have a curtain for a wall and I see my ex-girlfriend and her new girlfriend all the time and when I can recognize that they are walking towards me before they recognize me I turn the other direction and sometimes I will run, I literally run out of their view so I can walk home without confronting them, even though we would just smile at each other and it would be over I know I would be sort of thinking about seeing them for the rest of the day and all night. Breath. Not in that focused meditative way but in that back of your mind bobbing to the surface with regularity echo bouncing around your skull kind of way, and I don’t want that. Maybe since I ran I won’t think about them today. Breath. It could be a normal day.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Here, and Awake.

I'm looking for the people who've got the feeling I'm afraid to lose, who are afraid they'll lose it, too. Do you know what I mean? I'm talking gold dust on the flower petals in the spring, sunlight you can touch kind of shit, but you can't get there with a drug. Less of a rush and more of a slow climb, I am looking for the people with the yes still in their fists, or, better yet, two open palms.

Are you out there, too? Is it more to you, than being young? Don't you feel like it won't die, this need to learn, and feel, and engage, but only bulk up and away? 20 years old, this is only the beginning, I can't wait to be alive when I've figured even more shit out. And by figured even more shit out, I mean, unfigured more shit out-- abandoned more of the old ideas that keep me from living authentically, so in each new experience, I'm born all over again. Forgive me for the oddly religious imagery, but, maybe there's a reason for that.

The idea that there's a point to what happens, to everything, that it's taking you somewhere. Do you know what I mean? Can you sense when the world spins with extra weight? Selfishness as caring for what happens to yourself, to paying attention to it all the time, to building it consciously into something worthy, and then, letting it do its thing, releasing control for the night. In the morning, you wake up, open eyes, start again.

Do you love the way she moves? Or maybe he moves, but, fuck, the way SHE moves. And I don't mean in the corner of some dingy bar, wasted out of her mind, lost to a warped reality you could never really be a part of anyway, dancing on stale beer, no. I'm talking the way she moves in the afternoon, around her kitchen, washing dishes, limp wrists as she's pouring out soap, shoulders tense up as she shoves the sponge into the plates, patiently wiping the fronts and backs of her hands on the towel hanging from the shelf below. The slow way she remembers you're sitting behind her, the slow way she smiles when she remembers the way you watch her. Do you worship the human body alive, the way I do? Does it make you want to write, or sing, something?

Do you want to be awake? Would you throw yourself into uncomfortable social situations repeatedly, in hopes of finding a friend who thinks the same? So you can get together, talk, and create? Do you want the imagery to come back to your mind? Do you want a partner in the digging? We are getting farther from childlike wonder all the time, but I'm not about to lose it, now. Come crawling through the darkness with me to find the splotches of light left in our ransacked minds, because that's what we did, we ransacked them-- with bags of weed and vodka shots and Facebook likes, with too much time with people who were too little, who didn't care the right way, with apathy, with self-harm in all its forms, with wasted potential and wasted time. We can't afford to lose any more of ourselves to a failure to focus.

Be here with me. I want to be here, and awake. Are you awake the way that I am? Let me know. It's good, and important, but it's lonely.

Seeking other open-minded, self-conscious, and creative folk, with a dedication to ultimate kindness and sacrifice, when the time is right.

The Go-To List.

Okay, so let's say you're having a perfectly normal evening, just hanging out by yourself, eating some plain cheese because that's all you have left in your fridge even though it doesn't expire till July, and then some shit happens. I don't know what this shit it, but some of it happens. You probably saw something on someone's SnapChat story you didn't want to see. Your friend bailed on your plans for the day. All of your exes got together and had a party to celebrate not dating you anymore and put all the pictures up on Facebook. Whatever the reason, tonight sucks, and you now feel physical pain above the spot where your actual heart is. The fact that this heart pain is purely psychosomatic only makes you resent yourself more deeply.

We all have nights like this. Or, at least I do, and so do other people I know in person. And you can try to run away from the heart pain (bad move), or "confront" it, whatever that really means. I feel like "confronting" for most people ends up just being, like, throwing a tantrum so the emotional release tricks you into thinking you've actually resolved something. Making a mess out of situations that don't need to be messed. Does that make sense? I think actual confrontation is less about aggression and more about stillness. Which brings me to The Go-To List.

The Go To List is what it sounds like. When you're sad, you've got some jazz that you Go To. Stuff that makes you laugh or brings the world back into focus, returns some much needed perspective to your deal. Stuff that you organically, passionately dig, stuff that makes you happy no matter what. And the whole time you're watching/listening/reading, you acknowledge you're upset about something-- you just sit with it, observe it happening to you, don't freak out or anything. Don't make it more than it needs to be, but don't minimize it, either. Just feel it as it is. Take those feelings 10 minutes at a time. And while you're taking those feelings 10 minutes at a time, keep yourself sane with a Go To.

Here's my list of Go To stuff, in case you need inspiration/a template. I have put the General Mood in parentheses so nobody ends up watching some heavy/real shit when they were hoping for something light.

1. Black Sheep Music Video from Scott Pilgrim. (light)
2. Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars, by Buddy Wakefield. (heavy)
3. Marceline The Vampire Queen. (light)
4. This is Water, by David Foster Wallace. (heavy as fuck)
5. Lorde singing Buzzcut Season. (light)
6. Coke Money, by Natasha Leggero. (light)
7. Anything involving Anna Kendrick. (light)
8. You Should Date an Illiterate Girl, by Charles Warnke. (heavy)
9. Girl Walk All Day, Especially Part 3. (light)
10. Solo Valentine's Day, by Megan Amram. (light)
11. Leslie Knope Complimenting Anne Perkins. (light)
12. Left Brain Right Brain, by Bo Burnham. (light-ish?)
13. Literally any song by James Blake. (JAMES BLAKE)
14. That one scene in Jennifer's Body. (light)
15. Hartbig. (light/go watch DailyGrace)
16. Really innovative drag routines. (hot)
17. Grimes Performing Live on KEXP. (light)
18. Valentine, by Jessie Ware & Sampha. (light)
19. Lesbian Disney Princesses. (I mean)
20. Music Video for Latch by Disclosure. (ADORABLE)

Don't you guys feel better now? I feel WAY better after making that list. I feel like $27 bucks! Before I felt like, 43 pennies. The Internet is a magical resource.

When you're sad, go to the art you love. It will remind you who you are-- it'll take you out of that weird ass space you got yourself in and back to the space where you know what you want and where you're going, even if it's just a vague feeling, an unidentifiable force. What you really care about will get you through.

The 21st Go To is the new Kitty song, because Kitty.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I will not manipulate others into caring about me or finding me interesting, especially through desperate displays of pretend-apathy, pretend-despair, pretend-anger, passive aggression, or sexual appetite.

I will not distrust the deep breath.

I will not swallow the uncomfortable feelings, but rather stare at them in the face as they pass through me. I know I will be the last one standing.

I will not reduce my revelations to cliches I learned to be truth as a child. I will figure out my world for myself.

I will abandon all preconceived notions about what makes a good, successful, or happy life. I will fuck all and believe in my own internal navigation system. If I get lost, I will have gotten myself lost. I refuse to feel the shame and the weakness that comes with backing the wrong horse in someone else's race.

I will not hate myself for my inclination towards self criticism. I know I am better for taking a magnifying glass to my flaws. I am proud to be observant, and thoughtful.

I will not overcompensate for my inclination towards self criticism with giving myself a free pass when I do not deserve it. Free passes are for Monopoly or some shit maybe.

Does anyone even play Monopoly anymore? Shoot, Apple ruined everything for the board game world.

I will not idealize my inclination towards self criticism, or criticism in general. I must balance this out with a healthy dose of perspective and unbiased appreciation for all things, even my own stupid ass. God knows I suck sometimes, but I'm convinced I've got a good heart, and great hair.

I will always overdo it with the kisses, because kisses cannot be overdone. I will not apologize for craving such honest communication with another person. Lips don't lie, BEEOTH.

I will not apologize for deliberately writing BEEOTH on my blog, that everyone knows is mine, that all my peers read.

I will work every day to enjoy my life without the help of sugar highs, alcohol, drugs, mindless lust, unprecedented doses of the blue pill, binge eating Doritos, and binge use of SnapChat and Twitter.

I will write more often, because that's supposed to be my thing so what.

I will keep my parents' wishes for my life in mind, and hope it leads me away from idiotic shit.

I will redefine love, and make the word my own, because nobody knows what it means anymore and I want it to hold weight again.

I will seek out adventure, that which terrifies me, discomfort, something new, blah blah blah I'll add more to this later LET'S GO TO NEW YORK

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Compel You.

It's easy to see that I am not really a writer if you look at my best work. My best work always comes after I have just read something particularly inspiring or well-done-- I begin to adopt the author's turn of phrases, their ideas, their rhythm of speech. Unprompted by what others have created, I do not have much to offer. I can't help but wonder if this is true for every great author, or maybe just the doomed to be mediocre ones, but when I go to write, everything in me screams "turn back."

I also write better when I am writing letters. I was never able to keep a diary as a child, or, when I did, I always ended up showing someone else its contents. What was the point of writing if no one ever read it? I seek only to connect, to see myself ringing out in others. I recognize the inherent vanity of this but nowadays I recognize the inherent vanity in everything I do. Nothing is powered by truly selfless action. Can any act put out by a "self" be selfless, anyway? Even the seemingly most generous and thankless offerings can be traced back to some sort of selfish pay off. It feels good to be a good person-- it's comforting. Are the compassionate really any better than us, or do they just have more complicated disguises? Are we conditioned to esteem these people because subservience is the goal when it comes to society at large? When you spend your whole life helping others, you hardly have time to spend helping yourself.

After a time of helping yourself, you start to see the futility of most of your relationships. Isn't this trivial, the way we retrace our days in coffee shops, in restaurants, over a lunch that someone else prepared? A lunch that someone else prepared so that we have time to talk meaninglessly with someone we feel only obligated to spend time with, because after a while, that's what you do for your longtime friends, even though you have ceased to learn from each other. There are of course rare exceptions to this rule-- Sometimes you meet a person whose existence alone is a forever lesson in goodness, in achieving clarity, in accomplishment, in recognizing beauty and happiness. These people are streams of that energy we all can't talk about but know to crave, they are the reason to abandon comfort and simplicity, they are what you're looking for in every drink, drug, and daydream. But these people, at least the people who do that for me, are careful with themselves- they hide away, they focus on their work, and are thus so hard to find.

Mostly, we deal with those without this energy about them. The robots, the author referred to them as. Unthinking, terrifying, a direct threat to our goal, obliviously tying us down so we can continue to fulfill the needs that any warm body can fill-- a lunch date, flowers at the graduation, holding hands and brief, mindless kisses (To be honest, 'oblivious' is only an assumption, or a hope, because I don't want to live in a world where the so-called robots object to our development knowingly, actively).

I am becoming increasingly aware of the distinction between those that enrich and inspire me, and those that are quietly stripping me of my time on this earth, time I could (should) be using to seek out the former. But I am also prone to severe loneliness, the crippling kind that won't let me get out of bed much less realize my dreams, so I have many friends, I do my best to see them when I can, because otherwise, I'm afraid I wouldn't accomplish much of anything.

I suppose the greater fear is that, with the proper isolation and commitment to the cause, I would be a whole lot closer to the person I want to be-- that the bulldozer ache of self-loathing would begin to erode. Erode in a way I imagine that is similar to the way your concern with living honestly starts to erode once you drown it out with constant company.

She is careful to keep her distance from me, which at first made me feel uncomfortable and insecure (I have this intense appetite for a permanent validation, despite knowing this is impossible to attain and immoral to expect from any one person, the feeling persists) but now only serves to multiply my adoration, make it heavier, with more dimensions. I have grown more comfortable (as comfortable you can get, I suppose) with missing her, but it only adds weight to our every reunion. When I get to see her again after being gone for a number of days, it is still the first time, it is a different life beginning, it is a night finally conceived, and made real. I smile to myself, at the thought that her commitment to her individuality will maintain the freshness of each new encounter, the urgency of each new kiss.

It is a happy arrangement, we have, because it allows for me to indulge in that ever-necessary alone time in which all my most vital growth and thought occur. I choose (and proudly so) to struggle with myself, to take a magnifying glass to my flaws the way no one else would, except for maybe a passionate lover, because goddammit, I want to love myself passionately. I am passionate, about this-- about being ruthlessly myself, about seeing the world through a specific and nuanced lens. I don't want to be just okay with being alone, I want to love it, to look forward to solitude. I guess that technically, I do look forward to uninterrupted Saturdays, lost (but not really) to the unseen paradises and hells existing in the mind, but after a while, there is a sour taste, a visible rot, a stinging urge to run into the arms of any kind stranger who might be willing to listen, to give a hug, anything to confirm that I am alive and not repulsive, in all senses of the term.

Though I worry constantly about not spending enough time alone, and sacrificing too much of myself to people who don't deserve it, who could replace me with anybody, I cannot mistake that I feel my life rolling slowly towards a wall, and that wall can only be broken through-- I know, for better or worse, I will one day be granted this extensively permeating isolation, that I will cry and scream in my bed for hours, that I will write a lot of bad poetry, that I will make terrible decisions purely out of fear of being lost to obscurity, but it will all be in the name of a cause I really believe in: namely, maximum awareness, feeling fully felt, an honest attempt made to identify the world, and what makes it a good place. Growth, maturation, this is all we have to care about, all the most thoughtful of us will consistently strive for-- The only god I have is the god I am trying to become.

Initially I thought this would be a letter to her (and it is, it always is, do you agree with what I've said?) but it ended up as a letter to everyone, as most of these blog posts do. This is actually the most personal I've ever gotten on here. I hope you got something out of it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On Assholes.

There is a concrete, unmistakeable moment, when you realize that someone you concretely, unmistakably love-- be it a romantic partner, family member, friend, mentor, what have you-- is an asshole.

And then, shortly after that, you must reconcile with the fact that somehow, some way, you have allowed yourself to become really really invested. In a person that is, more than anything else, an asshole.
Not to say that that person is *just an asshole*. They are probably a lot of other really great things too. They are probably smart and funny and maybe even sexy, on some terrible unseen level, and they are probably nice to strangers and listen to cool music. Maybe they even have healthy, balanced relationships, where the give and take is equal, and the other dude in the relationship genuinely has no complaints.
This is why it is so hard to realize this person is an asshole. Because they are never *just an asshole*. But they are ~*~an asshole first~*~, or, even worse, ~*~just an asshole to you~*~.
Unfortunately, when it comes to other people, it doesn’t matter if the asshole in question treats his mother like a queen, or if she is the best dog owner the west coast has ever known. It only matters how the asshole treats you. And if the asshole treats you in an asshole manner, you have to accept that at face value, and respond accordingly. All the other nice shit has to drop away.
It’s an easy mistake, getting really invested in an asshole, someone who makes you feel like you are less, like you are unworthy of the love you are so prepared to give, like your best should be returned with their least. We must forgive each other such slip-ups. I suppose, though, we must hold each other accountable for weeding out the assholes just as soon as they reveal their assholery to us. Because if we don’t weed them out, we are inflicting pain on ourselves, at that point.
Think of it this way: Do you love everyone in the world? Well, you should, because people. I think everyone in the world deserves basic respect, a quiet, human love. So when anyone in the world inflicts pain upon themselves, they are hurting someone you love, automatically, no doubt about it. Now. What is your response when someone is hurting someone you love? Totally freak out and try to change the situation, that’s what is.
So, everyone: You gotta get rid of the assholes. You gotta be alone before you be abused. Feed yourself love until you find somebody steady enough to hold a spoon, because there are a lot of fucking people who are spilling their shit all over the place and giving nice people third degree burns because they CANNOT STEADY THEIR SHIT.

I think a big part of why people let the assholes stick around is because they are lonely. Better to have an asshole than no one, right? WRONG. NO. DON'T DO THAT. DON'T. We could all stand a little more alone time. We could all stand to learn about ourselves in depth and become comfortable with solitude. Let your self esteem come from knowing that you are holding out for a not asshole. Being alone can be an empowering force as easily as it can be a crippling one.
Real, deep love is never wrong. It’s okay that you really deeply loved an asshole. And maybe they won’t be such an asshole, someday, in another life, however you need to think about it. But ain’t nobody got time for that. There are people out there right now who are smart and funny and sexy and listen to cool music, and they ARE NOT assholes-- But they are careful with themselves, and so you must look hard for them. You must not settle or give up. Don’t ruin yourself over some asshole. They are the ones who made the mistake of being an asshole, or letting themselves do asshole-ish things, because not caring, and ignorance? That’s being an asshole, too.
When it comes to the people you are close to, be conscious. Be observant. Be thoughtful. Anticipate needs. Go out of your way. If you do those things, great, you’re worth it. If you don’t, you may be in danger of being an asshole. Reassess. Assholeness is not terminal unless you want it to be.

Disclaimer #1: This isn't some sort of calling out tactic, there is no intended audience right now. This is just something I've been thinking about, for a long time, and have especially had to think about a lot in the past, when trying to decide how to spend my energy and who to invest in. I hope it doesn't come off as whiny or ungrateful or crazy. I love all you guys, for real.

Disclaimer #1.5: Sometimes, the asshole that needed to be removed has been me.

Disclaimer #2: SOMETIMES people aren't assholes. Maybe you're just in a bad mood/spot in your life. Think critically, reader. Look for PATTERNS OF ASSHOLERY. Look for chronic asshole treatment. You'll know an asshole when you see one, because once you see a true asshole, you can't unsee it.