What did you just say? (April 13, 2022)

“Bitch” is defined by Gary John Bishop in chapter 4 of, Assholes: A Theory, as someone who uses their status in interpersonal relations, soaked in entitlement of course, to stab you in the back. While simultaneously giving society a voice to scrutinize them for their actions. The “Bitch” will listen to these voices and may even show the slightest reaction to the context. The “Bitch” reaps the benefit of your ignorance until they are caught and move on to the next person. While the “Asshole” is all out in the open, blunt with no respect. 

“Assholes” will go out of their way to be rude regardless of moral equals. Their entitlement, social expectations, social construct and gendered socialization is what causes men to be more likely “Assholes” than women. Bishop goes on to state that,

“It could be, in theory, that some people are born with characteristics (e.g., high testosterone levels or a propensity to aggression or to social insensitivity) that predispose us, by nature, to become assholes later in life” 

(Bishop, G., 2014, Assholes: A Theory. Page 95. First Anchor Books)

The question this week is “who’s to blame for the “Asshole” or “Bitch” in your life? The person that takes initiative to ruin your day. Complaining about your worth ethic to superiors no matter your proven worth. Down right bullying from someone who never seemed happy with their own existence. You know, what are called “Karen or Kevin,” these days. 

Now we could dig deep and say that some external circumstances, like our community or the nuture from our family’s view of gender socialization, are to blame and define both an “Asshole” or a “Bitch.” As a child, we are all needy and left with a meltdown when having to be patient. As adults, we bitch about relationships to acquaintances and or co-workers. What discerning factors are involved in placing blame on the asshole; the man or the society in which the man is influenced by? 

“Not only do some societies, such as the United States or Italy or Brazil, seem to produce many more assholes than other societies, but each seems to have more assholes than it used to … One could argue that asshole production proceeds at a uniform and steady rate and that there has merely been an increase in asshole reporting, with increasing media scrutiny of public figures and profit-driven exposure of assholes on TV, in print, and on the Web.”

(Bishop, G. 2014. Assholes: A Theory. Page 97. First Anchor Books.)

Here we will confront our Asshole or Bitch, or both, and find what it is that gives them that power over us. How we can redirect that part of ourselves to give up on the argument before it even starts. How we can confront ourselves and dismantle the growing asshole tendencies that society has on certain populations in rural communities. 

The asshole is grayed when it comes to cross-cultural variations from an East to West perspective. When Bishop explains the difference between an asshole in Asian cultures and those in the United States. Mutual respect is definitely lower here than there but we consider them morally blind for their choices in entertainment TV. When discussing political power, gender doesn’t play a role in who becomes the asshole or bitch. We are not diving into this topic AT ALL but worth mentioning based on how Bishop’s examples give descriptive insight into the way our society chooses to label those willfully smearing their faces on late night TV. He even goes into the concept that a culture can create an asshole that would not otherwise exist if it wasn’t for their circumstances.

Can it be that a culture can inflame the ego of a man to push the new highest levels on what the definition of asshole really is? This is where we find out if you can look deep inside yourself and find those memories of being the bully in the situation. Can you be rectified now for your actions? Could the person pushing you to the limit of being the “self respecting back stabbing bitch” or the “disrespectfully blunt asshole”? If you can admit you’ve dug that deep, then answer this last question, Would you do it again?

Let’s dive in …

What Emotions Come to Mind?

Shame and Guilt

Given the child I was, I was angry and confused about the world around me. This caused resentment from my parents, teachers, aides and adults in general. I was smart enough to follow the kid in front of me, but I was dense enough to follow the kid in front of me. I have always been the smartest kid when it comes to the things I know and “playing dumb” was what they called the other half of the persona that made me, me. I fought the world around me to figure things out for myself because by the age of 6, only a few adult figures could stand to teach me something; why? was a given during the whole experience.

By the age of 12 I was doing things no one else that age was doing, like sewing my own clothes. I knew things about life by then no 12 year old should. I saw death by overdose, drug deals, underage drinking, sex, gun violence and not just from the movies. I also attended church and Sunday school, attended gang affiliated bbq’s with my parents as ambassadors within our church community and sang hymns and Hawaiian gospel music 3 times a week until I was unmanageable on stage. I saw the world from many different angles as the majority of the teenagers showing me the bad stuff at least explained things to me when they had the time; my parents did not.

Yall know in the first year of high school we have to do Health class and talk about all the harmful drugs in our country. Man did that teacher keep me after school and ask me questions about how I knew so much about drugs. That is when the shame and guilt set in, 14. I finally knew too much and got plenty of people scared my talking all the time would get them in trouble. That is the first time I was told to my face explicitly, “You need to leave. These guys are doing stupid stuff that is going to get you in trouble. It’s time for you to leave,” confused, I got up, smiled and left.

The next day my best friend called me at home. He told me they were doing drugs and he knew if he left the room they’d ask me if I wanted some and like a dumbass I would have probably said yes. He saved me from an early drug addiction. He’s been my longest best friend to date, love you C. He loved the innocence I had even though I could spout facts on facts about what they were, I couldn’t tell you what I was seeing until someone else told me, “it was right in front of you!”

I started to just dissociate when I would go into large groups. All the background noises of eating, drinking, whispers, etc. The walls would start to close in and I would slowly make my way to the outer wall and then the door. Always outside playing on kids equipment or petting an animal. I couldn’t even keep C from the wrath of “Don’t tell me what to do anymore!”

My shame and guilt took me to Grass Valley where it grew exponentially. I didn’t know anyone. I could mask like a pro by 13. At 16, I could sit and take mini naps with my eyes open; dreaming of a life that was my own. Where I worked for the clothes on my back, food in my belly and I held all the power to make the decision to continue as I was content or change my ways. 

No need for shame and guilt for leaving my family and friends behind. After just a few years they’d all moved away and “home” didn’t feel like home anymore. Happy Camp became my peace. It became where I found my lowest self and built back up to someone I could be proud to be, me again. I believe the burnout from this fight, flight or freeze is what has brought out more of the asshole within me. 

Which brings us to the next emotion …

Anger and Resentment

I fought for years to protect myself from my asshole. Seen as entertainment as a baby and toddler, I was subject to what can only a simi-recall as a 3 to 4 year old and the scars to prove they happened. Nothing like being gaslit based on the size of a scar for the rest of your life. I have about 10 scars on my face that will never fade and she’s always been proud of that. Which brings me to a boiling point of 14. I got in my first fight in the last few months of my 8th grade with a dude and used that resentment towards him to make it through my freshman year until my second fight with a dude.

My asshole always had more sway as our culture gives responsibility based on age. More home responsibilities to the youngest. More financial responsibilities on the oldest; we learned this the hard way, my roommates and I. “Oh, didn’t I tell you that?” was said a lot by that time. This caused more anger and resentment towards the type of man my father was and even more led me to question what kind of examples my father had growing up; this caused my father pain so I don’t remember getting him to open about it much more than what I had already learned first hand.

My asshole got a job, got good grades all the time, was considered part of the popular clique, and knew how to socialize with people. I barely made eye contact let alone knew how to be confronted by unhappy people. So I got jobs that required me to put my head down and work and I loved them but also taught me a trade. I can manage any sort of office or run just about any type of equipment in a coffee shop cause those were both my jam. Even my summer jobs reassured everyone around me I was not fit for anything considered as a social norm and I was content with it all.

I didn’t want to watch some lame TV show and I was tired of being taken for granted by my roommates. I grabbed at the remote and struggled for control. I remember I hit the ground hard and knocked the air out of me but not letting go of the remote. I struck her with my ankle in a downward kick on the same leg I had gashed prior with a broken bed spring. End of the story, I drank through a straw for 3 weeks with a dislocated jaw.

I proudly wore that dislocated jaw and took advantage of being non-verbal for almost 2 years after that. Half because of my depression and the other because I knew no one cared by then; CPS, Law enforcement, no one tried to change my circumstances even with evidence. By 16 I took it into my own hands. Ran away to my moms in Grass Valley, Ca.

I don’t think I fought a girl until like my 4th or 5th fight and that one was pay per view worthy. I was 19, 6 foot and 200 lbs. All my life I knew if I hit a “little” girl I am going to jail. So, I took out dudes that picked on girls. This time in my life I was a “hit for higher” without payment. I was tired of seeing women be beat on and made my face known around women I respected if I thought maybe they weren’t safe.

I used my anger and resentment from my father and the boys who had hurt me and took it out on the “bitch” I was beating on. I took this position seriously and never struck someone while they were already down or intoxicated. Never did I attack someone without giving them plenty of time to talk themselves out of me showing them what a woman their size could do. During these fits of emotion I was not worried about my safety but that of the impact I was trying to make in this weak excuse of a man. By my mid-20’s I could no longer stand on my own two feet and protect myself and started to heal from the pain I had and caused others.

How to Admit and Evolve

By this example, we are all “Assholes”, it’s when we come to realize this and free ourselves from the expectations society states is “our place” and fight off stereotypes like “boys will be boys,” can we all firmly live in a more carefree and “Asshole” free environment. 

I am no longer full of shame for the years I wasted on the wrong people or guilty they continue to do the same toxic and self-destructive things they did before. I am looking forward to the days when our grown children make the same types of relationships and do it right this time. When the whispers disappear and mutual respect is given. I am still waiting on a few to come around and there are plenty that will die before I give them a sprinkle of hope our relationship will change. That’s the difference between boundaries and self-respect; I don’t need it from you if it’s my job to fulfill that need within myself.

My asshole is content living the life they currently are, I bid adu to what is left of the shell of who they were when I was relevant and I am content just as well living peacefully on my side of the mountain range. Being neurodivergent has its perks. When I am not wanted or needed I am content to find my purpose somewhere else; not everyone can relate to that and it’s hard to understand. When being an “asshole” or a “bitch” suits my situation I might act on it.

Some people just don’t need my advice when they ask for it, “You’re a dumb bitch,” and others deserve to be ignored, “I didn’t ask you, asshole!”

On to the next one …

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