Depending on the Vantage Point — We’re all Assholes

if-assholes-could-flyIt’s been the quarter of inter-personal crises here at Camp Awesome. In the last few weeks and months, I’ve managed to crash and burn more personal relationships than George Lucas has crashed franchises. And usually this would mean that I would spring into self-defense mode, claim the world is an idiot that will never understand my beautiful genius, and finally move on with my life waiting for others to clean up my mess.

But moving to a strange and exotic country (as England -with it’s foreign wildlife and strange cultural rituals- is commonly described) has it’s perks. You get some distance from things. (Or maybe I’m just finally growing up, but let’s not make things worse and more terrifying than they already are.)

So, instead of picking up my war hammer and rallying the troops into action, these days I just rope off the disaster zone and let it sit there while I get ready to inspect it further. I’ll be the first to say that my grasp on reality is flimsy at best, and that this is something I usually only realize in retrospect… When the dust of the battlefield has settled down, and it dawns on me that perhaps that enemy I knifed down was more a case of friendly fire.

Oops.

But when you’ve burned all your ships behind you, it’s really hard to go back again.

So, the last few crises I’ve tried to be more of a detective than a warlord. Of course, it remains difficult for me to look at my own actions with some objectivity. There is always this filter of self-delusional awesomeness covering the lens. I have no problems believing that I am both the worst and the best person on the planet. The self-loathing creep that tells me I’ll never be good enough walks hand in hand with the self-applauding freak that thinks I’m god’s gift to mankind. I guess they are equally true and untrue; that they meet in the middle and I am just as mediocre as every other fuckwit I meet.

But as I write that, I don’t really believe that. I am only saying that to not sound like the Asshole I know I am. And as I write that my entire being defies the notion that I am an Asshole, because I am trying so hard to be a good and kind person and I am really nice sometimes. And as I write that, I know I am an Asshole just for thinking I’m not actually an asshole. (I hope you guys have a lot of spare time on your hands, because this line of reasoning goes on pretty much ad infinitum)

But thanks to me roping off all my personal crises and having a better look at them first, before doing anything with them, I have learned one valuable thing… As much as I hate myself sometimes, everyone else on this godforsaken globe is an Asshole too. (And don’t go” “Ehrm… not me.” Yea! Especially you. And you know it, you fucking asshole) It just depends on the vantage point.

I know this is not some notion that will rock many people’s world; the idea that there is good and bad in every single human being. And I guess I am a horrible writer for only coming to terms with this notion now (Not to mention a horrible human being for caring more about being a horrible writer). Except, I never really understood how actions can be interpreted as both evil and great, depending on from what angle you look at it. And the idea of this, the shifting perspective, it is just too thrilling for me drop without quickly jumping at the opportunity to talk about myself a bit more.

Because I’ve always been more than curious to know how other people see me. Perhaps this stems from the fact that it is impossible for me to have a realistic look at myself -due to my previously discussed self-deluding commitment to only see things how they should be rather than as they are- and me roping off my pain and failures for a later date, perhaps has finally given me some new perspective that was lacking before.

I think today is exactly a year ago that my then-future-boyfriend crouched down beside me, and as per my instructions, asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. He made me actual mixtapes with hidden USB-ports in it, because who has a tape-deck anymore. He made me mohitos when I was sad, because nothing cheers you up like the promise of a massive hangover. We would spend each and every day texting back and forth, to a point where I was developing RSI in my thumbs because our hands have strangely enough not evolved for the sole purpose of typing on iPhones. In short, he promised me wild adventures and other groovy times.

He declared his undying love for me one early morning 3 weeks after we had met. I was completely weirded out by this, but as I hovered in the door opening on my way out, I realized I loved him too so I didn’t care. He found me the most amazing human being on the planet, and I thought he was pretty great too, even if he had hairy feet and weird hands. It took us about a month more to move in together, partly because being apart was almost unbearable (partly, because I was homeless). This may seem pretty fast, but given the fact that we discussed out plans to not have kids together on our first date, I’d say we were right on schedule.

In short, it was the classic tale of boy meets girl and they fall in love… albeit with a few more Batman references.

Flash forward to one year later, where I haven’t seen or spoken to him in over almost 2 months, and the mixtapes and other crap he gave me have been safely boxed away in a cardboard box with ‘Dark and Twisted Memories’ in big black letters on it. (In case I forget what’s in the box that has been wrapped in so much sellotape even a lunatic would find it excessive.)

My ex-boyfriend managed to dump me in 6 poorly written lines via Facebook-mail while he was visiting his ex-girlfriend in New York. It is admittedly a less than classy move, especially when put like that. Everyone immediately declared me better off and him an Asshole for it. I guess he is. He could have been a man about it and have some respect and pick up a phone. So yea, he is definitely the asshole of this tale (except those bits later on in the tale where Darth Vader shows up… But that won’t happen until a few years from now).

But I guess that if he were to tell the tale, it’d start out the exact same way. But then when we get closer and closer to the end, we take a different path, our vantage points more and more dramatically. We get a different perspective on things… Whilst still telling the exact same story, things would be completely different.

In his tale, I’m the bigger asshole. He’s the guy who really struggled to figure out what he wanted, and only could do with some distance. Then I forced him to tell me what was going on, he reluctantly did, expecting to be able to fully explain when things had settled down. Except he found himself cut off from my Facebook, my Twitter. I had changed my phone number and blocked my email account. All of his stuff had been returned and mine had meticulously been removed from his house. All that was left was a shitty note saying goodbye -a thing he never got to say-, please give me back my notebook, and I don’t want to be your friend so don’t bother contacting me.

Yes, I am an asshole in this tale. If a friend would tell me how his ex just cut him out of her life from one day to the next… I’d declare her a fucking asshole. Except that the asshole is me here, and I know precisely every fucked up reason why I’d rather not talk to him. So, will the real asshole please stand up??

I don’t think he ever did try to contact me, I don’t know if that is to his credit or if he is just a coward. On good days, I choose to believe the former. He did what I asked him to do. Except for one pesky little thing. He still had my notebook, a pretty personal one. The idea of him having it, it just made me fucking uncomfortable. Especially since he had managed to return one of the other items I wanted back, and awesome graphic novel, through a mutual friend. So, forgive me for being a paranoid headcase, but I was getting this creeping suspicion I could kiss my notebook goodbye.

There’s a lot of things in this world, I’ll let slide; like cleaning my room, combing my hair or returning your emails in a timely fashion. But if you are on my shit-list and you have something that is mine… I’m not going to just cut my losses. I’m way too petty and childish for that.

But that got me in the awkward spot, because I also really didn’t want to speak to him. And I really didn’t want to drag any of our mutual friends in it, because I’m not that big a dick. So, there was only one option. Mission: Stealing my Notebook back. But that was kinda the psycho-bitch ex option.

Finally, after a lot of back and forth and second opinions, and with some trepidation I asked his roommate to let me in to his room, to take back what is mine. I had decided I wasn’t going to go looking through his stuff for it, but if it was lying somewhere, I’d take it. Because things have to end somewhere. It had been over a month. And if that meant disrespecting his privacy, then that was it. I wasn’t going to wait any longer for him to get his shit together.

So I went in and took it. And if you ever want to feel like a crazy person, walk into your ex’ house without notifying him of it. You enter this really grey fucking area of moral behavior, and was kindly asked to pack up my things from the moral higher ground and take it down a few steps to where every other fucking person on this planet dwells. It took me about an hour to decide whether to actually take it. I was just sitting there, debating with his roommate whether I should leave him a note saying I took it. But what the fuck can you write on the note?! “Hey, I’m sorry I went through your shit like a fucking lunatic, but I just really wanted it back.”

or

“Hey, since I’ve created a situation where I will only speak to you with a fucking gun to my head, I felt the need to enter your house without asking and take what was mine.. Oops”

I mean, there is nothing you can say that will make you any less of an Asshole. But I also know that if he hadn’t fucking held on to it for god knows what reasons I wouldn’t have had the need to do so… So basically he is an Asshole here. But then my mind goes — Wait a minute! if I didn’t refuse to speak to him, none of that would have been necessary, so I guess I am the real Asshole. But then I know that if he had grown a fucking pair of balls and broken up to me in a way that displayed perhaps a little bit more of respect, none of this would have happened, so he’s an Asshole-Squared (for those not so adept at Asshole math as myself… It basically means the most asshole the universe can contain)

And again, this line of reasoning can go on forever and ever. (except in the end, he’ll always be a bigger Asshole, because I am the one telling this story. And compared to me you are all bigger assholes.)

What it comes down to is that I took it, because that was the only thing I could do. It may have been a low-point, but I just want to fucking move on with my life and I want my shit back. That may be sad and petty, but that is who I fucking am and I am fine with that. It has been a year, and what was once beautiful, is now two hurt people with nothing left to say to each other — thinking one other a crazy psycho bitch and a depressed sociopath. And in that situation, there is no way to win, there is no being right.

Standing outside his house, with my notebook in my hand, just having left him the most decent note I could write, this all dawned upon me. I realized how things had changed between us, and how incredibly weird that is. Neither one of us is completely right or wrong here. We are just two fucked up people trying to stay ever so slightly sane in whatever way we can. (which is a hard feat to accomplish in my case anyways)

Once upon a time it was us against the world, and now it’s me against the world again. I’m fine with that. But it means it is me against him too. Not because I want to. Because that is what happens when the love fades, there are no winners there. Only losers. (except maybe the liquor companies)

And in that moment, I just felt sad. Sad that our paths had diverged. Sad that instead of thinking the world of each other as we once did when there was still the promise of love… there is now nothing left but the image of two lonely assholes.

Depending on how you look at it, of course.
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