If I am gonna fake anything, it’s a smile (March 9, 2022)

In Aaron James’ “Assholes, A Theory”, uses different philosophies to define what it is to be an asshole in three parts. Within an interpersonal or cooperative relationship an asshole will, 1) systematically thrives off of “special advantages”, 2) does so out of a deep-rooted sense of entitlement and 3) is ignorant to the grievances questioning their entitlement,  

“The asshole acts out of a firm sense that he is special, that the normal rules of conduct do not apply to him. He may not deliberately exploit interpersonal relations buyt simply remains willfully oblivious to normal expectations. Because the asshole sets himself apart from others, he feels entirely comfortable flouting accepted social conventions, almost as a way of life. Most important, he lives this way more or less out in the open. He stands unmoved when people indignantly glare or complain.” (page, 6, Assholes, A Theory.)

Assholes are the best at showing you both sides of the world. That we can struggle with even no matter your age. A boss, coworker, professor, spouse and of course a family member can demonize what this looks like as a child. To the naked eye, the first half sounds like a great way to get your needs met with little to no effort but pulling heartstrings. These people are assholes out of pure expectations that the world owes them these luxuries; ones that interfere with our joy to cause pain are like candy to a baby.

If you grew up in a small town like me; it’s a mentality that’s hard to break away from. Thankfully I had telenovelas and rich indigenous cultures around me to help my imagination run wild. That’s a story for another day. See I’m no artist — my words & weird body movements tell a play-by-play as my eidetic memory retells what I saw. It’s why I am the life of a gathering; also the target of many assholes. 

I can easily find the funny in just about anything rhetorically questioned out loud.  I bring solace to those who would receive it willingly during emotionally drenched conversations; bring commonality to the table by lighting the mood. Allowing for “hope of a better day” shining through. Those synics who smiled all the time were the worst to me because I did this from the bottom of my heart. I saw them act non-confrontational and never understood their body language or tone, so of course I mimicked them until “gross your tooth is too big.” 

Or during group clubs like girl scouts, the cool kid would say “Stop trying to be funny. Stop laughing at her, she’s not funny.” Oh but wait, my favorite — Only accept me into their sect after they see my test grades after smack talking about your mad nerd skills – did I get a “your parents don’t love you. That’s why they got divorced.” These assholes torchered me throughout school whenever they could; leaving many adults around to mutter the one saying I still can’t wrap my head around, “It’s a part of life.” Why does it have to be a part of life, bullying?

Let’s dig deep into those first & last life changing asshole experiences.

What Emotions Come to Mind?


I was surrounded by faces but none of them knew me. At this point I’m emotionally done with “friend” relationships but I did enjoy the time I got to spend hyper focused with my like minded nerd classmates at school. We’d go to lunch together & hang out during fair or other community events but never because they wanted to. I still mimicked them just to get by. Then I focused most of my energy on the adults in my life because if the saying was “It’s a part of life,” then I wanted as many already lived life lessons and positive responses on my list of “This works.”

Only after a few boys were told how much I really wasn’t “one of the dudes,” 90’s code for lesbian apparently & I was the center of some very awkward & illegal activities in my early teens. This developed my “Either we family – where everyone discusses the person when they aren’t around – but we get through it” to a toxic level I couldn’t stand to be around anymore. I begged those who “loved” me to help & they repeated “You got yourself here, get yourself out.” Abandonment wasn’t going to win, so I ran. In the end, before I left Coalinga, my stance on family by the end was — “Either we Family or – we don’t do that & in my heart, the you I trusted, just died.” 

I have grieved so many people I gave gallons of energy too & that pisses me off; how productive my future could have been putting that energy into something that would grow. I lost “family” these past 10 years who are still walking the earth. 1995 to 2017 was when I spiraled into a “wake up and chose violence” personality that put the final nail in my Fresno County days. Instead of using my words to educate them on how they are never going to break me again, I took all my energy back. I’m my biggest advocate now & I will openly admit my shortcomings & won’t stop until you tell me to shut up. 

This year a person I trusted with my kids betrayed my trust in their judgment for the last time. All because of the horrible position I put myself & my kids during 2017 & 2018. Saying no is okay no matter what age you are; it’s the “consequences of your actions” no one wants to avoid that’s my problem with other adults. Come on, we learn from group think & our society always has; why public shaming was so popular throughout our history. Also, adult conversations with hurt parents suck & if they aren’t growing it’s heart wrenching when you are the middle aged one. 

I also can’t care about people who intentionally harm others out of boredom or blame it on another person’s mental illness for not having the backbone to “take it on the chin.” Blood or not. Stepping on the necks of others to get ahead is a disgusting trait. Going out of your way to teach someone a life lesson, like a child is a character flaw.


I could not stop moving. Always ready to be useful to anyone because at my parents home, I could never get anything right; at least that’s what I heard as a response. I would always second guess myself & do the “wrong” thing. I ignored my gut based on the repetitive voices of my parents correcting everything I did “wrong” with condescending tones & that evil exhausted parent laugh after having to repeat how to complete the task their way. How harsh those words are still in my ears; how I beg myself not to repeat them to my children.

I didn’t talk to anyone until around the age of 4; nothing more than two words. I would hit, kick, stab, bite, claw or anything else while the adults weren’t looking for food. One day my foster mom said, “Just ask for more” & I cried myself to sleep for 3 days. All I had to do was talk — but for years I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions or make demands because they were just ignored. I was too much at a very young age and I knew it then just didn’t have the education to back it up like I do now. 

Teachers told me to ask questions & that etched a urning for direct communication being the only way to fix the problem inside myself. When I started using words out of anger towards those who hurt me intentionally, I was never any good at it. Assholes thrived on it because they too learned from masters like my parents. Why don’t we talk about the forms of manipulation that adults used in the 80’s and 90’s? The fear tactics had me running for my safety which hasn’t always worked out for me much in 38 years. “Please, stop allowing me to cross my own boundaries” is something I ask of my partners now, definitely not then.

It really doesn’t hurt my feelings to put my mental health above your event these days. I’m reminded everyday how then it was traumatizing but I acted as if it was funny. The stress & malnutrition that caused my brain to give up from the anxiety of being responsible for myself with no control but looked fabulous doing it. Thinking it’s funny and perpetuating any type of self harm is disgusting. Trying to use someone’s loss against them is sad. I mask with the best of them & trying to belittle me just shows your hand. AND YET I STILL DRAW MY MIND BACK TO THOSE FEELINGS OF DELUSION. 

Why was I delusional? I’m sure you didn’t ask for an answer but I’m going to tell you anyway. I thought by removing myself from them I would stop this cycle of pain. The one that goes “wait I need you to do this so here’s something that I love.” Followed by “Oh well you didn’t do it EXACTLY like I would so I will keep it and I want my love back.” Then finish you off with,”oh yeah I said that because I didn’t need ALL of that. Why did you waste my time bringing this back up? I just need you to do this one thing for me really quick.” 

It took learning from my emotions that red flags are my jam and I am so over PB&J’s. 

Anger & Internalized Misogyny

While still struggling daily to stop fisting my feelings back down based on society’s obsession with time; my frustration level would get the best of my emotions. Constantly fighting to hold my tongue because I don’t like waiting my turn when you talk. I still do it today because I don’t want to not like you because what you firmly stand on is wrong; a read a lot as a child and know textbook on recall in this brain. I am smarter than I look because of it. Since then my daily motivation was put on pause to evaluate what I had done wrong to force this person who loved me to describe me this way. 

I am rude, abrasive, distracted, annoying, etc. I accept these labels now, but I didn’t then. I started to internalize the hatred I got from the assholes in my life daily that my support system failed me. They lost faith I would ever be normal and I gained a large group of disloyal, dishonest, greedy smiling faces who “wanted nothing but the best for me, here do this?” People genuinely like me. Typing that makes me so uncomfortable; it should. Who do I care if they like me? 

How to Admit and Evolve 

I have found peace in being myself and no longer screaming my feelings from the rooftop when some narcissistic asshole decides it’s my day to deal with their snoody asshole comments or just pointing out my flaws for their amusement. Setting boundaries & letting go of my “five minutes to feel your feelings” rule allowed layers of self-loathing in the forms of other people’s voices to stay on the floor where I left them. My past lives were not always colorful and real. Letting go is not as scary as any one of my 4 parents made it feel. 

Reading this book was hard. Taking personal inventory of our positive and negative qualities is a deep dive not everyone is willing to do. It took me years to get to a place where I was tired of my own shit. Tired of complaining about how people treated me on a daily basis, why I was allowing it to continue, and how I was going to keep myself from running back out of peer pressure and shame of abandonment (them not me). This list seemed to get harder and harder to complete because society doesn’t see the world like I do. 

I don’t take an inventory of the times I have been screwed over, but I do. I remember and pray the whole time I am actively helping said person – the outcome is never what I wanted; I hate to say “I told you so.” Aaron James states,

“A person of good conscience might be aware of his own inner asshole and yet often successfully remind himself that his life is of no more importance than anyone else’s, that his own talents and accomplishments are largely a matter of luck, and that he is fortunate to live well and savor the sweetness of people in normal cooperative life. The asshole not only lacks such motivational correctives, his sense of entitlement is ‘entrenched,’ in the sense that he is persistently assured, even upon reflection, that he is quite unlike everyone else. When the world questions his special standing in it, it is a challenge rather than the standing that gives way.”

Dismissing and dodging the red flags stopped making me feel useful and giving me more reasons to resent the relationship. I had to step outside of my own self and decide that communication was not enough. I had to start protecting my mental health. Building a support system that would hold me accountable to my set personal boundaries that I helped them with so many times over.

By allowing others to force me into masking in my comfort zones, I lost trust in myself and my abilities to protect what was most important; my own damn self first. Safe comfort zones should always be places where we learn and grow as our raw emotional self. Builds free spaces to find out new and even annoying things about ourselves. We should never feel as if the floor is covered in egg shells. As James states, we all have an asshole within us. Recognizing our own shortcomings and progressively pushing through our selfish ego for the greater good of society. 

By reminding myself that my life is what I lived and what they recall, a small glimpse of what I packaged for them to see, is only what they witnessed. Point of view is critical when it comes to self-love and I think we forget that surrounded by instant access to simple mind numbing gratification. 


By accepting what has been done to you in correlation with the person who stifled those emotions in the first place as a child, the adult can process, heal & move forward in their purpose. Take the shame out of what happened, feel your repressed emotions & allow your adult life to evolve into your purpose. Pick a core memory that makes you feel like the wind being blown out of your sails or that mind blown emoji. An experience when someone showed you the dirty words in the disney films, for example. Taking a childhood & showing you the reality of the world we live in; breaking the Disney effect for many. 

This may sound like a ridiculous request, digging for trauma, but this part of my process is deep seeded in the journey. We are lost to this feeling because at those very fragile ages, we lost our reason to continue to search for that joy within similar experiences. That lack of luster and shine can cause a neuro spicy kid like me into a tailwind of adrenaline charged missions. I once claimed a 25 foot tree I couldn’t get out of; spend the whole damn day up there all on a dare. Many times in my life I have experienced a repeat of a traumatic core memory that transplants my brain back to that moment in time. 

These fears kept me from living a fulfilling life and leaping for new experiences with new people in new places. Even objects that once had all my attention & affection, like crystals. Everything I seemed to love disappeared into the black obese that was my brain. I was sabotaging my own happiness to fit in; Read that again. Chaining how I dressed and did my hair until I found what made me happy; the other kids hated it because it meant it isn’t cool anymore. 

I stopped trying to be them and started making my own clothes. I haven’t always fit in but at least I was comfortable again.


I knew how to fight & hurt people because of the militarized holds my father would use on me during punishment. Everything that broke me I used to fuel my anger which just had me mimicking the pain towards those who wanted to be my friend. The deep seeded depression by then had me hating who I was from my body to my mind for no other reason then I didn’t do what was asked of me to perfection; not their perfection, just mine. During this journey through self discovery I am still in this state of grief over the person I could have been, the people I could have avoided, the anger I could have avoided & the apologies that didn’t follow soon enough. By taking in account the things I did as an adult to cope with my anxiety or anger & placed myself at the age the reaction started. 

Here’s a timeline of my trauma which caused the most anxiety & anger response: By the age of 4 I was an asshole to everyone around me. My needs we’re not being met. I was abandoned by my parents. Between 5 & 11 I saw things no little kid should see in real life — but I soaked it all up like a sponge. I knew the hardships of being pregnant at 16 when I was 7. 

By the age of 11 I was spiraling because I just didn’t want to live the super secret double life — Me. I wasn’t allowed to be my raw self around any one person for too long by that age. I had an awkward, morbid sense of humor, could not keep my mouth shut, if you asked – I would have told you and had to fact check everything against scientific studies. No trust in the outside world telling me one thing and showing their hand with something completely different. 

Anger & Internalized Misogyny

This bitch hurt. Now my stance on family has this added to the end — or we don’t & in my heart you just died. I grieved so many people I gave gallons of energy too & that pissed me off. I lost “family” these past 10 years who are still walking the earth. 1995 to 2017 was when I chose violence as my final nail. 

Instead of using my words to educate them on how they are never going to break me again. I’m my biggest advocate now & I will openly admit my shortcomings & won’t stop until you tell me to shut up. This year a person I trusted with my kids betrayed my trust in their judgment for the last time. All because of the horrible position I put myself & my kids in during 2017 & 2018. Saying no is okay no matter what age you are; it’s the consequences of your actions no one wants to help you avoid that’s my problem with other adults. 

Come on, we learn from group think & our society always has. Also, adult conversations with hurt parents suck & if they aren’t growing it’s sadder this time around. I also can’t care about people who intentionally harm others for boredom or blame it on their mental illness. Blood or not.

On to the next one…

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