I am one of the nicest people you’d ever hope to meet. Seriously. In my entire life only two people have ever found the need to call me a bitch (I exclude from my list, of course, fellow drivers who become irate when I putter along at 85mph and men from the dating site … and I use that term loosely … I belong to who have irrational rage issues and assume I’m a lesbian because they suffer from micro-penis). The first time I was called a bitch (or ‘you bitch’ or ‘dumb bitch’ or ‘fill-in-the-blank bitch’) was by an ex-girlfriend from many moons ago who showered me with all manner of colorful monikers when she didn’t get her way or I was right about something, which was most of the time. In that case, I don’t feel that I was being a bitch in the general sense of the word as much as she was just a big, pouty baby in almost every sense. The second time was by a friend and much more recently. Although, since she generally favors calling me ‘you fucking cunt’ I actually consider it more a term of endearment when she simply goes with ‘bitch.’
I’m kind, decent, honest, generous, trustworthy and loyal. I’m also smart, funny and a hell of a lot of fun to be around. On the other hand, I’m a complete asshole. Not a douchetard-asshole, more of a dumbfuck-asshole. I’m manipulative, sneaky, full of shit, selfish, irresponsible and neglect people who love me in favor of those whose approval I seek. I’m also dense, annoying and a pain in the ass. It’s as though every good characteristic that I can identify in myself has an evil twin who’s just as easily recognized (I’m generally confident and usually insecure … see??!). It’s frustrating to me and maddening to those around me.
Half a lifetime ago, I was the good kid who was always up to some kind of shenanigans. I was Goofus and Gallant, cheeky but goodhearted, the likeable little scallywag no one could stay mad at. I was adept at getting away with things or talking my way out of trouble. It was part of my charm. But as I push toward the half-century mark, being the fuck-up with great potential is no longer cute and endearing, but sad and pathetic. And frankly, people are getting fed up with me.
It’s no secret to those who know me that I enjoy the mood-altering effects of various substances, whether they be wet, dry, grown in the sunshine or concocted by chemists. My interests developed early and never fully departed, even after a stint in rehab back in the 80s where I got me some o’ that old time Anonymous Religion and stayed squeaky clean for quite some time. I don’t have a disease or an addictive-personality. I’m simply spoiled rotten and have never faced any real consequences for my actions. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I’m all about instant gratification and become an emotional two-year old when I hear “no” or “wait” or “not now.” My indulgences, be they chemical, sexual, financial, etc., are all choices and usually based on what feels good at the moment.
I’m not saying I don’t have a problem, I just don’t want to justify, excuse or rationalize my behavior by pretending it’s something I can’t control. I’m impulsive and compulsive, sometimes unbearably, overwhelmingly so. But if I convince myself I can’t help the things I do or that they’re not my fault, all I’m really doing is giving myself permission to shrug, say “Don’t blame me, I’m sick,” and continue making the same bad choices.
Being forgiven and getting away with it (whatever ‘it’ might be) so often and for so long is a bit like gambling and hitting a lucky streak: you feel like you can never lose. And even though it cools you keep feeding the machines all night, believing you’ll get hot again, willing your luck to come back, no longer enjoying the game but desperate and panicked at what you’re losing, have lost, until eventually you stumble out of the casino into the glaring morning sun without enough money for a cab ride back to your hotel or a goddamn cup of coffee.
I’m not going to go into great detail about my assholery over the past couple of years. Suffice to say that much of the shit-pile I’m buried under I brought down upon myself, either directly or indirectly. I am an unpredictable drinker (aside from never getting sick or having hangovers … again, no consequences!) and I’ve hurt, angered and frightened people with my behavior. I’ve been fortunate to have been forgiven or excused more times than I deserve. Sometimes I would wonder just how many times I could inflict my drama and bullshit on people who love and care for me before they said, “Enough!” As it turns out, the answer is one time less than I recently attempted.
I pushed it too far, pushed them, scared them, took them for granted, hurt, angered and disappointed them. This isn’t being defriended on Facebook or acquaintances who no longer wave when you see them on the street. Three people who mean a great deal to me (one who I credit with keeping me sane, and maybe even alive), good people, people who made a difference for me, have had enough and are done. I don’t know if the friendships are permanently over, but I’ve done damage that can’t be repaired and I don’t think things can ever be the same. And I did it, it’s all my fault. I’m responsible.
I knew my actions would cost me eventually, but I never imagined the price would be so dear. Or so devastating.