Loathing the Self-Loathing

Examining the Nature of Self-Obsession in the 21st Century

That’s not a rhetorical question. I don’t know. I don’t know if we work ourselves harder, or party ourselves to death faster, or hurt ourselves more today, out of some deep-rooted death-fuck urge. I don’t know if we can match the disciplined Protestant ethic of our grandparents. I don’t know if we take up the dead-eyed terror mantle of Vietnam or Okinawa or Ypres. I don’t know if our fury at a world we didn’t deserve to inherit can match that of our punk parents, or if our apathetic anger at a narcoleptic and sterilized culture can hold a candle to the flannel-bearing avatars of Generation X. I don’t know if we can self-efface and ignore rage and pain with anything similar to the bowed heads and mens’ hats of the 1950s. All I know is that, as far as I can tell, I hate myself, and that makes me mad like nothing else.

Lies were told to us. We were told stories about our potential and our brilliance, told that we could be anything, and we (or at least I) fucked it up. This isn’t to blame anyone else for the hatred I feel for my own damn self. I looked at the world and thought I could own it, and when I didn’t win at everything I attempted – it hurt. I grew up in a culture of incredible potential and potency, and I have not risen to the occasion. We are one of the earliest generations to have grown up as “teenagers”, that strange class of people not quite youth and not quite grown. We expected incredible things from ourselves, and when we couldn’t fulfill those expectations to their fullest, we turned to a strange and weary world that surrounded us and told us that there was a second option: give up. Destroy yourself however you can, just to make yourself feel used for something. Burn yourself to spite the world. How else are you gonna make your mark?

That inward-facing nastiness takes root like a fungus, spores of ember-like thanatos burning in our nerves, arteries and veins. I found myself trying to destroy my body and my mind, because it was easier and faster than lying in silence pondering on my own failure. I worked shit jobs with my back and my heart and drank the night away after my shift, feeling fascinating and romantic, feeling like Rimbaud without the poetry, like a cause-driven rebel driving into an oblivion of my own making. I’m waking up, I like to think. Good people, people with ideas and passions and care and compassion, have dragged me face down and weeping into a light of semi-fulfilled happiness. As delightful as these moments feel, I can still know the urge that lies in my breast, the drive to be ended so that I never have to say I truly know what I’m doing. If we’re being honest (and honestly overly self-referential), what I’ve written here is probably just another way to express my frustration with myself and my own limitations, another way to try to burn out and excise parts of myself that really ought to be incorporated, accepted, eventually tamed and controlled. Those good people mentioned above have instilled a few lessons in me, though. I will be angry with myself for hating myself, and I will be angry with you for the same, but I will use it to make myself better. Sorry for being so pissed.

I’m mad at you for a completely different reason than why you’re mad at yourself. Cut out that false fronted self-deprecating garbage, and the fake-out over-the-top liar’s confidence that only the most truly self-hating can play at presenting. Everybody can see what you’re doing, and no matter what you say we know that ain’t part of the big joke of You.

Sorrowcore weepywave wah-wah nothing master music, promoting these self-loathing pathetic flavor defeatist narratives.

Dirt Dog Piss Lord Subhuman Ultrafascist, your opinions are fine and all and we love that hot2trot knowledge you got, but I tell you what: keep that nasty noise locked up in your brainbox when nobody wants to hear it, let it out and take it for a walk only when it’s appropriate. Sometimes, people will have different ideas from you.

Your drug addiction is not different and special. It is not romantic or interesting. Your self-destruction is not Icaritic. You aren’t flying too close to the sun or anything like it. You’re a base, low-level chump, getting fucked up on gutter-juice and rich folks’ flour to avoid ever having to admit that you know what you’re doing.

Dick flashing constantly cock-talking constantly cock-of-the-walking oversexualized item without import or importance, we get it. We get that you’re nervous about seeming unmanly or demasculinized, but all you’re hammering home for us is the fragility of your dudeness. It’s a porcelain penis perched upon a narrow pillar, and the slightest shove could shatter the whole thing.

The world surrounds you and we all need to address that at some point. Prioritize to avoid terrified eyes, sit your ass down and don’t talk to nobody if that’s what you need. Quit screaming and screeching because people want you around, quit crying and weeping if nobody wants you around. You’re fine as an atomic and isolated entity, understood?

Your sound and fury ain’t no excuse to be making furious sound. If you want to get punched in the face, if you want to get kicked in the gut and hit back, if you want to get into the mix and break your body on the body of another, reconsider. You got people that care about you and the black and blue and red marks on your teeth, face and arms are an inappropriate way to make them prove that.

You know that small strange god that whispers weird ideas to you in the night time and tells you that you are low-down and small and wants your worship and subservience? Don’t listen to that god. That is a bad god.

If you refer to food as “slowing you down”; if you tell people how poorly you’ve treated yourself; if you get drunk and get high as a sleepytime substitute; if people tell you they’re worried about you and your words say DON’T WORRY and your tone says “but worry a little”; if these are sins of which you are guilty, you are literally a baby that needs to be coddled and cared for, and they will stop being worried when they realize you don’t grow up.

Hoping for the end of the world is the most conspicuous form of cynical consumption and brag-trash imaginable. The worst people going are those self-declared cynics and pessimists without the imagination or mental fortitude to imagine a good world that doesn’t end with oceans of poison and rivers of fire. You are a sunglasses warrior, and that stopped being fascinating when we all stopped reading Nietszche in our leather jackets.

By commenting on this page you agree to the terms of our Comments Policy.