Assholes and Narcissists

Grapic of solar eclipse.

Solar Eclipse – graphic by Estela

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve thought about it, but couldn’t “get here”. There was an invisible barrier. I mean, it’s just opening the computer, logging in, and–boom, get to it. But, psychologically, it’s more than that. It’s a journey. I have to travel from over there, to here, to this dimension, this realm. I didn’t have the energy to get here. I didn’t have the courage. I didn’t have the self-esteem.

What goes on in the world, in our City, in this State, this country, my life, fatigues me.

There was a death at the end of May. Cancer. Unexpected. Quick. That death broke my heart, and it broke my heart to see other people grieve. I got depressed.

Stuff happens,  and I feel compelled to go inside myself, inside my Self. Be alone, totally alone.

I thought about abandoning this blog. But I might perhaps think twice about that, as it has been a life-long pattern of mine to abandon myself, which is like taking the ball that was handed to me and running with it. I want to stop running.

This weekend, I finished a poem that I’d been working on for a couple weeks. The final draft is much like the poem I initially wrote, yet different. The revised version is much better. I thought I was done, but every morning I’d look at it, and was dissatisfied. I added lines/words, subtracted lines/words, moved them around, only to put it all back as it was. I changed the title three times. Finally, I subtracted a stanza, tightened and polished lines, kept the final title, and voila. So much better. I surprised myself. I mean, I’m happy with it. Will it work for anyone else? Hell, that I never know. Will it embarrass me? Well, hell, they always do. But, this is my work, this is my art. I need to just leave it at that.

Writing makes me feel uneasy. As if I’m embarrassed that I exist. Neurotic me. Sad, terrified me. Insecure me. And sometimes fucking pissed off me.

You know when I like myself the most? When I’m a confidant, dark-humored asshole. I mean, not that insecurity, self-loathing, and regret doesn’t kick in later. An unjustified self-loathing. When I elicit whoops, laughter, or cheers when I read or make some comment before I read, when people say something positive to me, it surprises me and I’m fucking grateful. I tell myself, “Look, Estela, you’re all right, man. You’re all right. That shit people in your past flung at you was about them, not you.” Even as I write this, I see the looks on the faces of those assholes, hear the put-downs. I’ve learned to walk away, though I still regress to that of level insecurity. People like that exist in this world, and I will continue to encounter them. But I will walk away, walk away, walk away. I mean, you have to make sure to stay humble, but understand you have value, and you don’t deserve to have insecure apes, hiding behind arrogance, fling their shit at you.

I referenced Sylvia Plath in this poem. Thirty years ago, I devoured her poetry. I was Plath obsessed. I gravitated toward her dark poetry. I still occasionally read them. Not to share in that despair, but because I love the beauty of her brilliance. Hell, to have just portion of that would be magnificent.

Thirty-five years ago, give or take, I read her newly published Journals. I later read her Letters Home. Wow. What a contrast. Her journals are as dark as her letters (to her mother) are light and airy. In those journals I can feel her suffocation in that metaphorical bell jar. Poor Plath. All that brilliance and privilege, but couldn’t get to the bottom of what ailed her. I think her mother was a narcissist. Plath referred to her as a vampire.

Being an asshole isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s the type of assholeness that counts. Some make a living out of it, like Letterman, Conan, Colbert, Louis C.K., to name some of my faves. They are brilliant, and a riot. They can make me gasp, and go, “OH! No, you did not say that! Ahhhhahahaha!“:D

When Letterman first started out (early 80’s?), I read a Rolling Stone article that described him as abrasive, said he sometimes pissed off people, he hurt feelings, that one female guest burst into tears. Oh, I thought, he’s a real asshole. I didn’t want to watch because I figured he was too mean, and I was too sensitive to bear that. But in early nineties, I passively started watching, and I became a fan. I liked his snarky assholeness. He seemed brilliant, and he had a kind of dignity, and he was self-deprecating. He couldn’t tolerate warm fuzzies, praise. He’d squirm and say, “Oh, stop it.” You’d think they were squeezing his balls or something. I didn’t always agree with his point of view, but that’s just how it is in life.

Sometimes C.K. offends me, or makes me uneasy; sometimes I think, Oh, no, man. Too far. Uh, uh. I can’t accept that. But I’m still a fan.

Narcissistic assholes, that’s a whole other ballgame. Narcissistic mothers are the worst. Vampires sucking self-esteem out of their daughters. Never satisfied. You’re never good enough. Daughters become over-achievers or self-destructive. Narcissistic mothers can be overtly aggressive or subtly passive-aggressive. Mine is subtle. In Plath’s letters, I get the feeling she was fawning for approval from her mother. She was all peppy and everything was hunky dory, birds chirping, butterflies, flowers, sunshine. That had to be exhausting.

I once told my mother I was sorry if I said or did things that were misunderstood. She looked at me, tightened her lip, and snapped a nod of her head, “Humph!” What had I expected? I don’t know, but not that. I must have unconsciously wanted her approval. It dawned on me I was apologizing just for being myself, not for anything I’d done. I handed that one over on a silver platter. I instantly regretted this unnecessary, unwarranted apology. I hated myself for it. My mother exhausted me. She eclipsed my soul. Maybe in a ghostly manner she still does, like when someone treats me condescendingly. I walk away, but I stew a little bit. Geezus, I’m a sensitive asshole.


About Poet Dressed In Black

Poet. Artist. Grammy of one, a granddaughter. Mom of three, son and two daughters, all grown. Individualist. Care-taker of Isabel, an agoraphobic, fear-aggressive, very nervous, delicate flower, Chihuahua mix.
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3 Responses to Assholes and Narcissists

  1. virgobeauty says:

    I can relate to you…So there are two of us 🙂
    Good post.

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