Selfish & Spoiled...
I think growing up as an only child the worst thing I could ever be called was selfish, or spoiled. And the truth is I really am both. But I couldn’t accept either one of those things so I created this persona, this outward person I showed all of you and her main job was to refute any and all claims of being selfish or spoiled. Only problem is that she wasn’t really me. She was just my front person. The person who I showed you and she was changeable. I could make this front woman be whoever I needed her to be. If I needed her to be hard, she was fucking nails. If I needed her to be soft, she was like a tender shoot in spring. If I needed her to be badass, wow, could she bring that home. If I needed her to be loving, my God, the love you would experience.
And there was only one tiny, slight, minor problem...she wasn’t really me. I mean, she was because she was an outward projection of me but she was really just a showpiece. She was in charge of making you believe things were true, of convincing you I was not selfish or spoiled. And all of that was to ensure that you never got close enough to really know much at all.
I do not mean that this front woman was a fabrication. She wasn’t. She exemplified varied, many parts of me. But she was not me completely because she was there to hide all the stuff I didn’t want you to see...like the fact that I am selfish and spoiled sometimes.
I am not sure why I decided these two things were indictable offenses. Or why I worked so hard to avoid them. Today it feels almost good to just own them. I am selfish and spoiled at times. So are a great many other people on the planet. And I am likely to fall somewhere in the middle for both, moderately selfish and spoiled.
Here is what I didn’t know for a very long time, when you just pretend or lie to yourself about yourself, you really aren’t able to make very much progress in dealing with your grosser handicaps. Working to be less selfish and spoiled because everyone could likely use some work in those departments!
As a kid, I heard all the time that because I was an only then I must be selfish and spoiled and I decided that I would not let that be the case. Except I was, because everyone is to some greater or lesser degree. So two fundamental human conditions I decided I would eradicate and never, ever be. Except that isn’t possible because it is in our nature to be selfish and spoiled every once in awhile. Or in some people’s cases, often and with rhythmic regularity.
I don’t think the point is to deny you are ever selfish or spoiled. I think the better suited purpose might be to accept that sometimes you are going to be both and perhaps all that can be done about it is to notice it, accept it and then decide if you want to make any changes or adjustments to it. Instead of wholesale working your life into a place where there is no time or reason to ever be selfish or spoiled.
For me, I have learned to spoil myself. This obviates being called spoiled because if I am doing it to myself, well, then it really isn’t an indictment that matters to me. I am not being cared for by someone else, showered with gifts and accolades, I am just me, doing what I do, spoiling myself which has really come to look more like caring than spoiling.
Selfishness is something that has been a lot harder to find stasis with...I feel, and I understand my feelings do not likely match with reality, that I am sometimes incredibly selfish but often about the wrong things and in the wrong way. Somehow in my wholesale abandonment of ever allowing selfishness to land, I created a backdoor of sorts. Like I couldn’t walk through the selfishness front door, but created a back door that was just as useful and selfish as the one in the front.
Today I am working on accepting and calling myself out in my grosser actions that reek of selfishness and self-centeredness...instead of pretending that I am immune to selfish acts, I try to see where I am being selfish and then doing the work to see if that is something that I want to change. I mean, I can be selfish if I want. I can actually make a decision to be selfish, and then I can decide if I like that and I am happy with who I am while I am taking those “selfish” actions.
Running from the words or descriptors “selfish” or “spoiled” didn’t really serve me all that well. Instead of learning to assimilate and accept that all of us are at times spoiled and selfish in our conduct, I created this elaborate house of cards that really ever only fooled me. I am sure everyone else has always been able to see my selfishness and spoiledness behind the facade. The facade only worked to imprison me and keep me from being able to accept, assimilate, and allow for those human frailties to have honest expression.
Now I am doing this differently, I can be different. I can allow myself to be who I am without the indictments and smoke and mirrors. I realize now that only person I ever really fooled, was me. And it is time, to stop that.
I am at times, selfish and spoiled. So be it.