Friday, September 3

Postmodern Protagonist Anxiety

Though we may not talk about it, I believe we all secretly long for an antagonist.

We pine for a force directed against us. A foe. An enemy. A nemesis. Possible of the arch variety. I had an arch-nemesis once... or at least I convinced myself I did...

We feel this way because, simply, if there is someone (or something) violently pitted against our own nature or our own values, our own person, then we can set a clear and tangible goal for ourselves: Overcome. Triumph. In short, our struggles give us the purpose we so desperately desire. So we set out from our doorsteps in the morning unconsciously yearning to be waylaid by some terrible conflict that will give meaning to our day. The morning commute is a battle, a race. Then, at work we fight the good fight. We probe our coworker's comments for hints of offense that can be blown out of proportion, or better yet, used against them at a later time to prove our point. We scavenge for opportunities to steer conversations towards our own opinions and enlighten minds. Eventually at 5 o’clock we declare 'Victory!' and head home, already pondering  the best strategy to get an advantage over dinner. And at night, we go to sleep dreaming of the things in our lives we wish were different, fantasizing about getting ripped, tax refunds, and private islands. Then we start fresh the next day, another war against the world.

Sometimes I am aware of it, and sometimes I am not, but I realize that this is how I live.

What if I (we)(you) woke up in the morning and couldn’t wait for that hot cup of coffee (in an appreciative manner, not so much escapist). What if we hopped in the car (or on the bike!) giddy at the thought of listening to some good music and the cool morning air rushing in the windows. We can’t wait to vehemently agree with our coworkers opinion on the cuteness of that dog. We are constantly on alert to seize on opportunities to encourage our neighbor in whatever it is that they are doing. We can’t wait to get home and hear about how everyone else’s day went. And we go to bed grateful for the opportunity to do it all again tomorrow.

Now, granted, that all may sound like rainbows and unicorn farts to most, but the core issue is the point. Do you wake up ready to be afflicted? Do you feel boring if you don’t have any big news to share when someone calls to check in on you. I mean, what are you supposed to talk about other than how shitty your boss has been lately? Life? Pshaw! Engage with those around us? May it never be!

Why? Because it’s hard. It sucks not being angry. It’s not as instantly rewarding as sarcasm. If I can’t be passive aggressive... then my incredible wit will atrophy from lack of use. And then people will forget how awesome I am, and, maybe, I will have to stop focusing on myself all of the time... that sounds unpleasant for me.

Honestly, I need to feel like someone out there is dumber than I am. I need to find new music so I can uphold my snobbish reputation which I value so much. I need vices to make myself feel cool. I need rest cuz' I work so damn hard. I need to cuss so that I seem rebellious. I need to keep in touch with old friends, so that they don’t forget about me. I need to be liked, so desperately want to be loved. I need some strife so I can justify my anxiety. If I don’t get these things that I need, I’ll be pissed. And I will take that out on everyone around me, because it’s mostly their fault anyways. I need to be the center of my own story, and my story needs conflict in order to be interesting.

My story.

You know, like that Navy recruiting commercial from so many years ago...  In that one black guys voice that isn't Morgan Freeman... “If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?” To which my immediate reaction is always “Oh no! That’s embarrassing!!! How much do they know? I better get my act together and be better than most people.”

But... what if I don’t care? How awesome would that be right?

Then again, I think all of my not caring might just be an attempt to care in a subversive way.


Elaine said...

Think how much it would suck to be the protagonist of most books out there.

My goal is to lead a life too boring to write a book about.

Teysha said...

This is pretty honest. Pretty dang honest.

But I'm pretty opposite. There's not a fiber in my body that wants to triumph over anything in a day. I would say I'm more of the unicorn in the third paragraph. Give me someone else's joke to laugh at and some nice light dancing on the walls and I'll have a good day. But I do like talking about myself a whole lot. Hence this paragraph. So maybe I am competitive.

I always do this circular explanation thing and it gets me nowhere. Piss.

yngorillas said...

I find it funny that you ended things with a Navy Recruiting Commercial mostly because I was in the Navy and

I am that person who cant wait for a cup of coffee in the morning and I am appreciative because it helps me poop.

I may not be giddy but I do love every day I am alive and I do look for opportunities to encourage someone else and stick up for someone when nobody else does.

I think I seek this every day because I feel it takes all that I am to do it and I generally can't sleep at night unless I feel I have given my all.

I guess the way I see things is that my story will be read no matter if I want or not, what I do care about is if they see the real me in my story or someone lie that I created

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