Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cusp of Hatred

Once upon a time there was a boy whose heart was a churning cauldron of viscous black smoke, who was filled to overflowing with self-loathing and whose eyes cast a baleful gaze imbued with arrogance, prejudice, and hostility out onto the world around him. Early on in life the neglect and abuse he endured taught him that he was discarded refuse, that people were either threats to avoid or (at best fickle) resources to exploit, and that life was ultimately a Darwinian hamster wheel driven by entropy. Jesus and the Buddha were frauds buttressed like cardboard stage props by apex social predators and deluded fools wearing blinders the size of traffic signs. As this boy entered adolescence he fell so deep into the well of his fire-ringed despair he went mad, spending much of two years in psychiatric wards daydreaming about incest and rape, walls of steel encircling an ocean of human squalor and suffering, screaming lunatics wielding weapons stolen from gods, and nightmare legions trampling the beauty of the world under scorched feet.

Fortunately for him and the world around him, he was never a violent person — in spite of the violence that ruled his passions and thinking. He never understood why, or how it came to be such a deeply-ingrained facet of his being, but the mere thought of raising his hand to harm or destroy sent him recoiling in paralytic revulsion. Unfortunately for this boy he became a convenient punching bag for those who gloried in barnyard swaggering and back-alley cruelty; even to this day he's no good at defending himself except in the avoidant manner of furtive songbirds, which fills him with shame for being a coward and a weakling and fuels much of his mistrust of others. Also fortunate is the fact that as he matured into adulthood he seemed to get better; he stopped isolating himself in books and solitaire games of Risk and Monopoly and started hanging out with friends, and he even stopped wandering the streets by moonlight holding hateful conferences among his fractured selves.

Or, did he get better? As an adult, he became a shameless self-justifying opportunist, slid from problem drinking into full-blown addiction to alcohol, went through jobs like a pitcher of hot tea goes through cubes of ice, embraced a lifestyle of chronic homelessness and reliance on social welfare and services, and never did get the hang of healthy relationships with (at least moderately) functional members of society. Sure, he managed to spend a few years on the president's list at Portland Community College, but during this time he also failed miserably as a boyfriend and ultimately slid back down into his dismal comfort zone of drinking himself to sleep with boorish buffoons beneath a highway overpass. Even when he got into subsidized low-income housing he succeeded brilliantly in sabotaging an opportunity to engage in therapy, explore productive and rewarding lifestyle options, and eventually crawl out of the well of poverty.

Worse than that, the hatred snuck its way back in, unannounced and unnoticed like an insidious incursion of plague-bearing rats. It started a few years ago, following a heart-rending break-up and the crushing defeat of a promising academic career wherein financial aid money was washed away in a roaring tide of Potter's whiskey. When he realized that he'd just dropped his last ball into the “Too bad, so sad” hole in life's pachinko machine, that from then on it probably wasn't going to get much better than an SRO and a job picking up trash. Now he talks to himself again, but at least this time in only one voice and using a cell phone so as not to appear unhinged. He also holds a great deal of animosity toward Californian real estate pioneers, black thugs and creeps (there really is a lot of black-on-white intimidation, predation, and violence among the poor), job-stealing Latinos, smug yuppies driving their SUVs wearing $500 in outdoor clothing, the religious right, the spiritually enlightened progressive liberals toting their yoga mats, Portland city council ... the list is as long as Bad Santa's bar tab, and getting longer.

My life is poised on the cusp of hatred. It scares the crap out of me sometimes, when I catch myself snarling like a riled basilisk in an inner monolog tirade full of such fierce invective you'd think I was flailing in the river Styx. I need to do something about this, and badly; merely failing to be a pugilistic jerk just isn't going to cut it, not if I want to be a decent person worth even a long shot at a middlin' decent life. Who likes to be around perpetually fuming people with chips on their shoulders and blinded by that pernicious delusion that the world owes them something? I don't.

1 comment:

  1. This post leaves me a little speechless...and deeply sad. :-(
    As always, amazingly well-written, gut-wrenching stuff. *hug*