I used to tell myself as a teenager that I was tough and respected by my peers. It was a protracted youthful lie. Listen to Pantera and ACDC and Guns n’ Roses – yeah, I was tough, I like to drink and do drugs I’ve never had the opportunity to take.
I feared confrontation. I kept quiet. Kids in high school sold ecstasy and were getting drunk on weeknights. I played football and had a curfew. I wanted to be the kid who re-broke his hand punching a locker after an argument with his suspension-prone girlfriend. I’d never had a girlfriend and didn’t know there was a correct way to throw a punch. But Highway To Hell lyrics gave me substance.
I was a tough, bad-thread kid.
I didn’t ever stick up for myself because I feared what others would do in return. Let things go instead of creating tension.
What I wanted, what the self-illusion was, was that I wanted more than anything to be able to handle myself, to confidently deal with other people. I identified these traits with the aloof, hard-to-handle archetype. And I had to lie to myself about it, though at that age I wasn’t aware of it, but if I hadn’t maintained the lie I would’ve had to acknowledge that I was a coward who couldn’t ever muster to voice an opinion to his peers. I was more yellow than Holden Caufield.
Without the tough-guy illusion, I would’ve had to accept my own impotence, and that I was mostly helpless and exposed to the wills of my peers. I was a push-over.
Nobody can live with the idea they are useless (helpless, will-less) because this removes your purpose for living and for suffering: You can do nothing, what is your point for going on? In immaturity, I had to bolster myself – of course people would listen to you, of course they respect you, of course girls like you and yes, of course, nobody gonna mess me around!