Archive for December, 2012

Inside My Head – Part 2

Arrogance. I am an arrogant person. I’ve never tried to hide that. Most of the time, high self-confidence is what it comes off as, I think. But I can’t conceal the fact that most of the time, I think I’m better than most people, and people sometimes pick up on that. Maybe it hasn’t come across as clearly to the people on the internet. It’s a lot easier to appear humble on here. Especially since most people would just assume you were lying if you started bragging about something. Or maybe that’s just me.

To be clear, I don’t think I’m the nicest or most knowledgeable person in the world. I don’t think I’m the best writer, or the best at any given thing. But I do believe I could be better at any given thing than any given person. And I can’t not believe that. It’s automatic, a part of me. For instance, I can have a conversation with somebody on a topic that they clearly know more about than me. I would have no issue in admitting that they are more the expert than I am. But a big part of me knows—or believes—that given enough time, I would be better than them.

It’s not conscious. I don’t look at everybody and automatically think they’re an idiot or that what they do is easy or that the knowledge they possess was easy to obtain. I look at them, or listen to them, and a part of me just says “Yeah, I could do better. I could know more”.

Self-confidence isn’t a bad thing. Arrogance cannot, by definition, be a good thing. The line between them is razor thin. I like to think most of the time I’m just a really confident person. But I’ve offended people in the past with my words and actions, and that’s what pushes me out of one category and into the other.

I think what makes my high opinion of myself all the worse is that it’s not entirely devoid of a factual base. I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide everybody sucked but me. I am an intelligent person. I find learning new things incredibly easy. I’ve never scored lower than 170 on an IQ test, and routinely score much higher. I’ve never had the slightest issue when attempting to learn new material. School was so easy for me, it was laughable. I don’t think any of that is a good excuse for being an arrogant fuck, but it is an excuse. Or a reason. Take your pick.

There are some positives to it. Like I said, the difference between self-confidence and arrogance is tiny. Both have pushed me to put myself and my work out there in many situations and have absolutely no fear about what sort of reception I’m going to get. I’ve never thought twice about posting some of my writing. I am one hundred percent aware of what I’m capable of in that field, and self-doubt is just not something that ever creeps in.

Even that is a double-edged sword though. It’s difficult to accept criticism when you think you’re better than the people giving it. I think I’ve often been logical enough to realize when it would be in my best interest to accept that I was wrong. But not always. And I’ve probably suffered for it. I struggle often to see thing from other people’s perspective. It’s not like somebody criticizing me or offering advice makes me angry. I just have a hard time seeing how their way would be better than which way I originally chose. But I try to see their way, and if doing that allows me to see that they’re right, I’m willing to make changes. It’s just that initial aversion that’s a bitch to get past.

And to be clear, there are people who I respect and like whose opinion I will always take into consideration. It’s not as though I believe all people aside from myself are idiots. Just because you value your own opinions and ideas above those of others, doesn’t mean you think those people are stupid. Just not as good as you, in simple terms.

I mention this in another part of this series, but I always place a much higher value on the personalities and intelligence level of the people I consider my friends. I don’t know if it’s conscious or subconscious, but I try to surround myself with people I see to be a better class. Not necessarily smarter, but possessing qualities that, in my eyes, make them worth more or simply better than other people. It would be easy, I think, to surround myself with people I see as inferior, but I’ve never needed the confidence boost some people seem to crave. If a friend makes a suggestion to me, I’m much more likely to consider it than if it came from somebody I don’t know or am only casually acquainted with. My subconscious automatically accepts the suggestion as something at least worth considering because it came from somebody I deemed to be worth listening to. The same goes for the family members I’m closest to, and the women I’m attracted to. Through some mixture of conscious thought and subconscious awareness, I find you better than everybody else, in at least one way and almost certainly multiple ways.

I’m not sure how much of a surprise what I just wrote would be to the people I interact with daily/almost daily on the internet. Like I said, it’s a lot easier to conceal aspects of yourself on here. And I’m not even talking on purpose. I’ve never been one who needs other people’s acknowledgment to reinforce my opinion of myself. So I don’t say a lot of things I could say, the kind of shit that would make it very obvious how I think of myself and how I see others. It sounds bad, but I don’t really give a fuck what the majority of people think of me, so I don’t feel the need to say the things that would make me seem truly arrogant.

A great example of that is a person’s IQ. I don’t like to bring mine up in almost every situation, for several reasons. For one, it is not nearly as simple a matter as most people seem to think. Two, it’s very easy to lie. You can just pick a number, and nobody is going to be able to prove you’re lying. And three, just dropping your IQ into a conversation is a fucking dick move. It’s like that guy who prefaces every argument or debate by saying you should just stop right now because he knows more on the subject than you do. Go fuck yourself, shithead. You see it more often than you should if you frequent any kind of internet forum or site where people interact. There’s always that one jerk-off who likes to throw a high IQ around because he—or she—thinks it’ll impress everybody.

It doesn’t impress anybody who matters. You just end up looking like a fucking douche. Back up your words, motherfucker. Say something intelligent. Make me believe you. A fucking monkey can pick a number out of a book and throw it in people’s faces. That’s all you’re doing. Stop.

Touchy subject for me. I loathe false intellectuals and people who like to brag to every single person they meet about how fucking smart they are. If you’re truly intelligent, you shouldn’t need acknowledgement. You should know it, you should believe it. You shouldn’t need to have random fucking people telling you how great you are every second of every day.

That’s all I got today.

Later.

P.S. Thanks for commenting on Part 1, Fang. I appreciate it.

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Inside My Head – Part 1

A few days ago, I wrote a piece about some of the aspects of my personality that make significant contributions to who I am as a person. I’ve decided to go a little deeper into each of the traits I mentioned (and a few I didn’t). But instead of lumping them all together, I’m going to try going one at a time. The following paragraphs are a mixture of what I originally wrote on the subject of fears and some new stuff.

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Fear of death. I’m not going to say I have no other fears, but if there was a test and I was asked what one thing I feared the most, the answer would be death. It’s not an uncommon fear, I think. People fear the unknown, and it doesn’t get much more unknown than death. I’ve never met anybody who’s truly comfortable discussing how bad their fear of death is, but for me, it was and still is extremely intense. I used to have mini panic attacks whenever I thought about it. It was mostly at night, but wasn’t exactly rare during the day either. I’d have to get up, regardless of the time, and distract myself with a book or TV or something until my heart rate went back to normal. It still happens from time to time, though I’ve definitely gotten a lot better over the last five years or so.

I don’t like thinking about death. It’s sort of ironic, actually, given the content of the majority of the fiction I write. People, I think, are fascinated by the things that frighten them. It’s why horror movies make money and monsters are such a huge part of many cultures. But I’ve noticed something very important in regards to death, through my own writing and society in general.

Death in and of itself doesn’t scare me. People die all the time, in peaceful and horrible ways. It’s essentially impossible to have any sort of exposure to a source of information and not get bombarded by the countless reports of people dying all over the world.

What scares me isn’t the broad concept of death. It’s the much more specific concept of my death. I don’t fear the unknown. I know there’s nothing waiting for me. When it comes down to it, what scares me is the idea of a world without me in it. One day, I’ll be gone, and regardless of how much I fight it, it’s inevitable. I’ll be dead, my body will decay, and I will be no more. I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife. I have no religious beliefs. One day, my body will simply shut down and everything I ever was will just be gone. That’s what scares me. That I can sit on my couch, watching a movie or playing a game, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that no matter how healthy I am and no matter what I do with my life, fifty or sixty years from now, I’ll be gone. And the only way it goes down any different is if I die earlier. I don’t fear aging. I don’t fear pain. Whether I pass away in my sleep, get lung cancer, or get hit by a car when I’m twenty-five doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ll die and there isn’t a fucking thing I can do to stop it.

I don’t think it’s hard to see the root cause of my biggest fear. Power. I don’t want to be powerless. Under the right circumstances, I have no problem allowing somebody else to have the power. Relationships, social interactions, group settings: I don’t have a problem stepping back and letting other people take charge. But that’s my choice. I don’t mind freely giving up power, but having it taken away from me is another story. I don’t like feeling powerless. And when it comes to death, it’s pretty much the definition of powerless. In the end, you lose, no matter what.

I’ve heard people talking about assisted suicide, or just suicide in general, as a way of taking back the power. The whole “If I have to go out, I’m going out on my own terms” thing. They think that swings the ball back into their court. They’re fucking idiots. Whether you die of old age, accident, disease, or your own design, you’re just as dead. You lose. You have no power.

That’s why I feel the way I do about suicide: I can never respect or feel anything but disgust towards anybody who kills themselves. It is weakness in its purest form, and no part of me can ever accept that. That’s why I never share my views on suicide. I know too many people who’ve considered it. While the logical part of my brain can see and even partially understand their reasoning, every other part of me loathes them for it. I’m not a hippie, or an optimist. I don’t look at the world and go “But how could you? Life is a gift. It’s so beautiful”. The world is a terrible, depressing pit of evil and bullshit. But in my view, suicide should not be a way to deal with that. It’s nothing but an admittance of personal failure and weakness on the grandest scale, and every fibre of my being refuses to accept it.

Interestingly enough, with the realization of the whole fear of being powerless came some insight into my writing. Anybody who’s read my work can already see where this is going. I write powerful characters because I can’t stand the thought of weakness. I don’t think it’s really wish fulfillment either. I don’t picture myself as these characters. I think it’s more a case of my aversion to weakness colouring everything I write. It’s not so much me wishing I could be in their shoes as me just being unwilling, whether consciously or subconsciously, to put them into mine.

Or maybe it is wish fulfillment. It doesn’t fucking matter. The point is still valid.

I guess the whole point of this delving into my fear of death revealed I don’t really fear death after all. I fear what it represents. Not an end, necessarily, but rather an inevitability. I don’t like the idea that I can struggle and fight all I want, but in the end, it’s not going to make a bit of difference.

From there, it’s fairly simple to look into other aspects of my life and see how that basic aversion to being powerless or weak has impacted them. I avoid almost all situations that could result in the power being taken out of my hands. I’m a control freak. I detest change, and by extension, the potential unknown that it brings. Obviously, awareness of those things makes it slightly easier to repress them, but still.

And that’s it. My greatest fear and how it has shaped me. Will I ever get over it? Probably not. Unless some kind of immortality pill shows up in the next fifty years, I’ll almost certainly have some fear of death. And the fear of being powerless will never go away.

I accept it. Nothing I can do about it anyways. And isn’t that just another kick in the fucking nuts?

Later.

Top 5 Albums of 2012

When I decided to choose what I felt were the best five album released this past year, I thought it would be difficult. I thought I’d have to comb through a shitload of music and narrow it down repeatedly until I found the five best. But I was wrong. It was easy. I had bit of a struggle with number five (my final choice only narrowly edged out two other pretty awesome albums), but other than that, it was simple. In my opinion, the albums I’ve chosen blew away the competition. And not by a small margin.

Obviously, I realize people have different musical taste. Honestly, it would surprise me if many (or any) of you saw things the way I do. But for my money, the following five albums were the best releases of 2012.
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5. Adrenaline Mob – Omertà

Excellent first release for Adrenaline Mob. There aren’t any tracks on this album that I skip over when I’m listening to it. I think it got a bit of a bad turn because it was more rock than metal, but I didn’t find it to be an issue. I don’t really give a shit what genre music is considered to be. If it’s good, it’s good, and this album is good.

Top three tracks: Indifferent, All on the Line, and Angel Sky.

4. Overkill – The Electric Age

Not much to say here. Awesome thrash album. Overkill is a brutal band. They’ve been killing it for over thirty years and this is just another great example of that.

Top three tracks: Wish You Were Dead, All Over but the Shouting, and Black Daze.

3. Three Days Grace – Transit of Venus

At first, I wasn’t a big fan of this album. It wasn’t what I was expecting from them, and that sort of put me off it. But I came around pretty quickly. This is their best album. They tried some new shit, and in my opinion, it worked well. It’s a really solid effort, and just like with Adrenaline Mob’s Omertà there aren’t any songs I skip over.

Top three tracks: Operate, The High Road, and Expectations.

2. Testament – Dark Roots of Earth

This was by far the best thrash album of the year. It really reminded me of their earliest efforts, but bigger. It’s just a really solid thrash metal album. You can look at a metric shit-ton of other bands from the 80s that have changed their sound with the time, and arguably suffered for it. Testament hasn’t, and their shit just keeps getting better and better. Buy this album.

Top three tracks: Rise Up, True American Hate, and Throne of Thorns.

1. Stone Sour – House of Gold & Bones – Part 1

Stone Sour is one of the best bands out there, and this album is another piece of evidence that supports that. There are style shifts with nearly every song, but it’s not jarring at all. The whole album is a masterpiece, and you should listen to it. That’s really all I can say. Buy this album, and listen to it on repeat. It’s fucking awesome. And there will be another one next year.

Top three tracks: Last of the Real, Absolute Zero, and Tired.
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Honourable mention goes to Soundgarden’s King Animal and Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist.