From here on out, when I write “inferior,” it is not an objective fact, but rather my often-warped perception of the overall quality of an individual’s life up until the point when we intersect (as well as the prospects his future holds). Also if you’re reading this and think it’s about you, it’s probably not because just about everyone I’m thinking of as I write this has blocked me or been blocked :)
I could count on one hand (make that one finger, if we’re being honest) the number of relationships I’ve been in, in which my partner had his shit together — in any sense of the phrase. Of course it could easily be argued that anyone in their [early] twenties is going to be a bit lost and uncertain of their desired direction; this certainly has been true for me and most people I know. But whenever I would be confronted with peers who were on an at least somewhat-defined path and were productive “members of society” (whatever that means), I instantly felt my insecurities lactate up and over. So in order to push them back down to a manageable level, I got the fuck away from these successful — in career, education, love, social status — nuisances as quickly as possible.
I chose my partners with the same motivation that I chose my drug, my hobbies, and pretty much everything else: to escape reality. To spend more than a few fleeting moments with anyone who wasn’t dedicated to doing the same exact thing was rather unbearable. I couldn’t deal with a constant reminder of the fact that there are indeed people out there who have hunkered down and 1) accepted their natural human limitations within society, and 2) found joy, serenity, and/or wealth via this mentality.
When I entered into my ill-fated relationship with the Abercrombie Sociopath, I was able to reconcile my perceived inequality in physical attractiveness between us with the fact that his life was in shambles. He had recently dropped out of college, was unemployed, and was in the process of moving back in with his parents; he was also abusing Klonopin daily. I thought I’d struck cock gold: a beautiful dude who seemed just as dedicated to rejecting responsibilities and real life as I was. My first trip to visit him down south — via Greyhound because there was no way I’d make it through security at an airport with all the controlled substances I was packing — consisted of us shacking up in a cabin in the mountains for a week, snorting an array of white powders. It was just as hazy and pastel as a dream sequence on television. When it all came to an end, being forced to leave my “One True Love” for the harsh fist that is reality proved an insurmountable challenge; I shrunk down to a gaunt, crude facsimile of myself.
I think it’s important to note that, for the most part, my seeking out these “inferior” specimens did not stem from an urge to “fix” them — whether for their betterment or as a distraction from my own cornucopia of issues. Rather, I preferred to keep them exactly where they were so that I could continue to enjoy a very slight feeling of superiority. Like a bullshit jewel-encrusted throne elevated only an inch — if that — above the plebeians. And although I can’t recall a time I’ve ever directly meddled in a partner’s affairs — sending malicious texts or emails, stealing from them, etc. — I’ve certainly quietly rejoiced in their failures and less quietly begrudged their successes.
But what I am slowly coming around to realizing in sobriety is that happiness and success (the definitions of which remain shaky to me) are — shockingly — not finite resources. Nevertheless, I am aware that when I’m faced with good things happening in the lives of those around me, my natural immediate reaction is resentment; beneath that, though, is a gurgling swamp of fear. The biggest, haunting thought is: Will I ever catch up? And, related: Am I ever going to figure out what I want to do and who I want to be? And who with? And where? And when? And how? I want to have it all figured out NOW and seeing others with what I want (or seem to have what I want, and I don’t even know what the fuck it is I want anyhow) reminds me that I am not where — or who — I want to be yet.
Reflecting on this has confirmed what I have believed to be true for the 8 months since I last used: this mindset and approach of clinging to a feeling of preeminence whenever I could got me absolutely nowhere worth being and nothing worth having.
Time to try something new.