When did ‘looks depressed’ become the defining characteristic of what I present to the world? I’m listening to Gillian (something)’s Gone Girl via Audible - my new preferred method of literary input save for podcasts and the incessant, metronomic ‘click-click’ from differently-colored pixels colliding together in RuneScape. In the female protagonist’s description of the male protagonist, she explains that he ‘wears his cockiness like an ironic t-shirt.’ Let’s get this out of the way: good one. I, as I’m often wont to do, sat back and thought “yeah, that’s kind of like me.” It was a thought hatched from the mind of the person I used to be. It was the inner monologue equivalent of trying to take a bite out of the food that was just torn out from under my fork as the half-competent tableside magician pulls on the tablecloth. Do people have tableside magicians anymore? Do we live in the 1940s? Idiot. Moron. Fool. Stop writing. You’re not good. You’re garbage.
Something inside me stopped dead in its tracks at that thought. No, that’s not like me at all, I thought to myself. It used to be, but it isn’t anymore. I no longer wear a cockiness on my sleeve. A sort of self-assured confidence. What has replaced it is a frown I can feel on my mouth even right now as I write this. Sofia will tell me that people don’t think about me as much as I think they do. I know at least some people do, and I think those people can tell how much pain I’ve been feeling lately. Not everyone is a Target Cashier Shaman, or a Coffee Shop Psychotherapist. But some people, I think, can tell. At the very least, they don’t see the marginally-sexy confidence and austerity and enigma that I think I used to exude. I don’t feel that anymore. I feel lazy. I feel like I’m running in place. I feel bad. I just feel fucking bad. Not all of the time - he said, backspacing over ‘All of’ - but a lot of the time.
Cockiness carries a weight that it doesn’t deserve. It’s an embittered, distasteful weight sewn by a society who view self-confidence as being inherently dismissive of others. Or that it speaks of an assumed inferiority complex. If it’s actually ‘superiority,’ and not inferiority, DM me on Twitter. Call me at 904 397 4292 and tell me I’m wrong. But I think that cockiness can be tempered by those with the emotional intelligence to wield it. It’s not that those actualized few can be self-confident without cockiness, but rather that they can parse the inclination toward cockiness into something tasteful. In practice, it’s probably no different. Maybe this entire tangent about cockiness is cocky. The bad kind. The gross kind. The kind that makes you think “what the fuck is wrong with this guy? Who gives a fuck about his inner monologue. What a narcissist. What is he even getting out of this blog shit? Does he think it’s making him a better writer? LOL. Idiot.”
I pressed ‘pause’ on my audiobook specifically to write into this white text box. I wanted to snapshot the feeling of loss. I needed to capture the emotional blow that I took in realizing that depression has forceably modified my person. The guy in this novel might turn out to be a killer. Or a con man. Or a complex character that I wouldn’t condescend to attempt at riffing on the spot. People who are cut out to make a living off of the written word are the ones capable of doing that kind of thing. Maybe if I’m lucky, depression can forceably modify me into that person. In the meanwhile, all of the existing interpersonal connections I have will wilt and die. Fia will leave me. My friends will continue to distance themselves from their rapidly-imploding friend-of-a-friend. The cats will go with their more competent keeper. Can’t say I blame them.
I hope she doesn’t, though. I hope I can build up more scar tissue before that happens, though. I hope the cats continue to exist near me, though. I hope my friends come back.
I’ll be better, world. I swear. Just give me a chance.
Fuck. Why did I open this notepad?