Discover more from My Daily Dose of WTF
I thought I Was Better Than Everyone
Turned out I was just jealous. Surprise!
Anxiety and existential depression are my big battles and have always been. Since I quit my anxiety medication last December, things have gotten a little out of hand, and the most banal situation can take me very deep into the abyss of distress. This happens daily.
For me, going to get my son at school daily is not a happy walk in the village where I’ll hear the birds and breathe fresh air, it’s a series of situations that pull me into darker and darker places. People in their running car, scrolling on their phone, parents who are close from the school but who still take their car and let it run idle while waiting for their spoiled kid, tens of dog turds on the sidewalk, young teenagers vaping, trash cans full of either compostable stuff or recyclable products, fat parents with fat kids eating candies (and dropping their trash), little girls dressed as women with fake nails and lashes (elementary school here)…
When I told my therapist I had a hard time not freaking out in general, he told me to focus on what was real and there, to be present. All the above are examples of real things I have seen during my short walks. I may focus on the American Robins singing their existence and the leaves about to sprout from the trees, but I cannot help to see the fast decline of our very existence and the general denial about it. This American Robin reminds me of the poor crow with a broken leg I see sometimes, that will probably die soon, and I can do absolutely nothing about it.
A few days ago, I happened to make an online test, or a questionnaire, about the Big Five Personality traits, and one surprising question came a few times: “Do you see yourself as better than other people”. Normally, I would have answered either “No” or one step before the closest to “Strongly disagree” on the scale (because putting in writing or saying out loud that one considers themselves as “better” is a call for social death). However, I went all-in with honesty and said yes, because it’s the truth (that I consider myself better, not necessarily that I am). What a terrible thing to say. Ugh. But better in what, exactly?
Before answering though, it’s crucial to define what better means. If it’s about self-preservation, happiness and freedom, looking fabulous and being liked, I am worse than most, let’s admit it and move on. If it’s better in reasoning, being consequential, seeing the truth, taking one for the team, being aware: point taken. Not only do I dare saying it, but I will add that I am very judgmental of people whom I consider unfit for my own definition of “better”. Because I seem to have an incredible amount of power over myself, in form of self-control, I think highly of myself in areas that require said control and think less of people who don’t. My food intake is the best example of this, and it will be worth its own post later. One’s relationship with the environment and the way they
don’t care for it is another one. I am no activist, but I am definitely better crazier than most.
Last Friday, while fighting a very intense anxiety peak and being in very unmaterial pain, I finally understood something important, I think. As simple as it may look, and obvious maybe, I realized I am deeply jealous of everyone else. Life would be a lot easier for me if I was less conscious, either environmentally or intellectually, because I would just have to exist and liberally live my life, free of mental and social constraints, instead of constantly knowing. I am jealous of people who have absolutely no control over themselves and who could eat themselves to death and never exercise a minute in their life, or of those who change their wardrobe twice a year without blinking, while I spend hours (yeah, hours, sometimes tens of them) online to find socks that are ethically made with organic fibres, until I fall into a rabbit hole and finally let go because I panicked and got sleep-deprived, physically hurt (tummy ache, back pain) over fucking socks I could have bought at Costco, like everyone else, yet didn’t.
Fun fact, I had a fight with my boyfriend today because I consider he buys more t-shirts than he needs, and he doesn’t buy ones that have any reduced impact, and told him so while hanging eleven of them, next to many more. He said I was passive-aggressive with him, to which I argued I was direct and honest, and I ended up saying I was jealous of his capacity of letting go and then we were good and cooked lunch. The whole thing lasted around 20 minutes before reconciliation.
If you are interested in the Big Five Personality traits, just Google it and pick one. I ended up searching for this while reading Louise Perry’s book : The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, to know my level of agreeableness, a typically female trait that could explain abuse in women, or forced conscent. There are many free tests without a subscription that are available online. I did two in a row, from different sources and both were very different. The first one said I was an introvert and my highest trait was agreeableness, which I am not, so I couldn’t trust the results because I am definitely the most disagreeable person with a brain I know…
The second one was more realistic, I ended up with Openness at 90 %, Conscientiousness at 73 %, Extraversion at 67 %, Agreeableness at 42 % and Neuroticism at 83 %.
To conclude, I probably do think I am better, but not in a fun way, more in an asking-to-many-question and spending-too-much-time-on-unimportant-issues ways. Even if I often consider I understand things that most people don’t, those things don’t bring me any good in the long run. As they say: Better isn’t always better (they probably don’t say that, whoever they might be).