Your Selfies Make Me Hate You

I do this regular gig in concert with Dawn Taylor. This week again we were hard at the conversation and she mentioned that it is common for high schoolers in her world to take hundreds of selfies every day. Every day. If you are one of those who is prone to the lens, with pouting lips and that one leg in front of the other to prop up your boobs and make you look thinner, you may have issues. That’s right, I’m talking about you Steve. We all know you are beautiful and you don’t need to point it out. You have it going on, baby, you’re perfect just the way you are. Shine girl.

I have a couple of friends who post selfies about stages of their life, or every once in while when they feel like it. I’m not talking to you. Hundreds. Fake accounts to try out 350 selfies, a panacea of self-indulgent spam all designed to see which pouty face plays best with a test audience.

Psychology geeks tend to look at life through a particular lens, and if you ask for my professional opinion the selfie thing is far more telling than the average low-grade narcissist may realize. There definitely, absolutely positively is an insane relationship between people who constantly take selfies and words like narcissism and insecurity and trauma. Your incessant need to show other people how you look and love and live (gag) throws up huge red flags to the people around you who are, and I say this lovingly, sick of you posting selfies all the time in your unreal world of stunted happiness.

I’m coming on a little strong because we promised we would, and so the question for all of us is, in light of our addictions to our phones and our media, how self-absorbed do we want to become? Once the sex robots are sold on Amazon it’s going to be difficult to get anyone to listen for a decade, so we need to figure this out now. Our virtual existence allows us increasingly to confirm those neurotransmitters that are in the process of hardwiring humanities next phase of existence. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (who incidentally wouldn’t know a thing about this topic so why do you care about their opinion) to know that we are blindly marching into the i-Store, blissfully yet unaware of the effects of such catastrophic technological and cultural changes on our perceptions of reality, and that’s not even mentioning the effect of lassoing our wills to our technology (and that phone I panic over when I forget it at a restaurant).

If you are having a crippling struggle with insecurity please talk to someone. If you are feeling a little bit narcissisty it is important for you and the people you love to have an accurate barometer for your behaviour. Recognize you have a problem and deal with it. The real reason that many people do not move beyond their defining dysfunction is because it’s damn hard and takes years. Most people don’t change because it’s too much work with little interim reward. We’re all insecure but if it is affecting your life to such a degree that you need validation from anonymous stranger-friends in the virtual world than recognize you have an issue and do something about it. You’re better than that, at least for now, and you don’t need 120 pictures of your blowfish lips to prove it. Let’s just say it – you’re definitely getting uglier the older you get, so lets all just deal with it and agree to keep lying to each other until it doesn’t matter anymore.

Which brings us to the point of this rant – it is my absolute belief that the secret of life (for me) is caring less what people who don’t matter think about me. I’ve had people who alleged they were my friends say atrocious things to my face and behind my back, and Counsellor Scott has worked this through and screw you. I’m good. I remember the first time someone slammed me hard on the internet, before I understood about trolls. It hurt my feelings. I’m a Canadian so I was looking for something much more passive-aggressive. My goal is to care less, not more, about the opinions of people who did not have my best interests at heart.

I’m fairly certain that someday that negative stuff sets in for good. Old people that complain all the time and middle-aged folks who are angry at the government and can find fault in any kind of happiness. Older adults that are still cripplingly anxious, talking about drivel that is mind-numbingly boring. Just kill me. Then again, some of us have grown up as entitled little prima donnas and honestly believe we are inherently better than other people. That stuff infects your soul. The beautiful people have other problems that I mostly don’t care about. You’re privileged, deal with it. Next.

Trauma is also on that list, to the surprise of some. People who are vapidly self-absorbed, who contort their body for 100 pictures at a time, have occasionally been through situations and realities that have scarred them and left them feeling hungry for approval and ultimately love. Terrible experiences can scar you in the most unusual ways. Maybe you were beaten or raped or violated in one of a hundred sick scenarios, anytime from a couple of months before you were born until you graduated from pre-school. Maybe your time came later. Broken hearts and bruised cheeks and someone telling you that you will always be a loser. The older I get the more ways I learn how we can hurt. Sleep issues, mood swings, panic attacks, problems with sustaining relationships of any kind, hyper-vigilence, difficulty with change or addiction to it, even attraction to the bad boy/girl can be an aftershock of getting the shit kicked out of you by your ex or hanging out with that creepy uncle. Some survivors have difficulty sticking with romantic relationships and are control freaks and obsess about how clean the kitchen counter is.

Reason #293 why psychology is cool.

Ask yourself, how often do I look at my body or obsess about a flaw or a judgment from someone whose opinion shouldn’t matter? How important are your looks, really really? I’m sorry I had to be the one to break it to you but no one cares this much about what your truck looks like when it’s dirty, it’s a truck. I’ve never dreamed about your truck. Stop posting pictures of the truck. Now you’ve done it, you have me in a loop. Truck.

No one cares if you are shopping. No one wants to see 24 pictures of you getting your stupid hair done. Give us one good picture of you and your bestie in front of the Great Wall of China and don’t stand in the way of the wall. You can post pictures from The Louvre or your skydiving adventure all day, but I can only absorb a limited number of pictures of you on a beach in the Caribbean before I begin to wish you ill will. One is nice, 50 pictures of you having fun makes me think you are rubbing my nose in it. And last, but certainly most gross, a few of you need to know that you’re making some of your friends horny and none of us wants to have to bring up that topic without tequila. Stop making us horny.

0f4fa15f1273f6ed4f2716479fc627f21463907373This is what I’m trying to learn – who cares what people think about me. If you are one of my chosen people than every concern you have is a valid one, but if I’m rarely or ever going to see that person again who the hell cares if they approve of me or not. You can’t be trolled on social media if you refuse to care about what anonymous idiots think of you or your work. Internet comments cannot hurt you unless you let them. I need to grow wise and kind and all that crap, I get it, but who really cares what a stranger thinks about me? Why oh why would I give a flying flip what some anonymous detractor or false friend thinks about my life or my behaviour? I have high quality friends who take delight in taking me down a peg, so why would I care what that person said about me on Facebook or to a friend of a friend of a friend of mine?

So think about this need to self-obsess. Some of us are spending way too much time getting our self esteem from our meat sack. Many of us are completely obsessed with our feelings and our hurts and our massive insecurities. I say this with no judgment, go get some help before its too late and you become that ugly version of yourself and die bitter.

I’m Weirder Than I Let On.

I’ve decided to change this site up a bit. I’m the last person most people want to hear say that I’m going to loosen up a bit, god forbid, but the truth is I’ve been playing it safe.

This blog is, undoubtedly, a little weird for most people who come across me as a clinical therapist talking about serious subjects. What I’m trying to say, and I often seek to hide it from myself, is that I am even weirder than the articles I write, and I tame it down because I may be a professional therapist but my friends will tell you I have a marginal personality, putting it kindly.

I like to make fun of pastors and teachers because they are such a type. Social workers are also a type. College profs are a meme. Don’t get me started about freaking hipsters and their stupid matching leather boots and rolled up pants. Seriously, get some self-awareness. If you wear socks with sandals I’m not even sure what to say to you.

I am not a typical counsellor, ask any of my clients. I fought it for years before it finally dawned on me that I was always going to be weird, and I could keep fighting an impossible battle or try to leverage that crazy for it’s limited worth. The vast majority of society can fit into the acceptable 60-80% of normative personality types but the rest of us are freaks, and nothing you can say will change the fact that some people don’t fit in and perhaps never will. You learn coping skills, you grow up, you contain the beast; that’s it. Some parts of my personality are hardwired, and even while employing my considerable mental health toolbox I will continue to remain Scott Williams, himself. Weirdo. I didn’t even know I had ADHD until that became a thing, even then the stigma around mental illness kept many of us from admitting it ourselves.

I had a bit of an epiphany in the past couple months. I have been listening to an unbelievable podcast – Last Podcast on the Left about serial killers and cult leaders and hitmen and it is Master Class level profane, politically incorrect, completely fearless conversation. Anyone with even a modicum of propriety cannot help but be offended. I do not, apparently, contain a modicum. They push every boundary and every rule of decent, enlightened discourse, and if you can hack it, it’s mesmerizing. It is a podcast about serial killers and cult leaders and they will take absolutely every opening to say something inappropriate, as long as it’s funny.

Think how freeing that must feel. I can hardly imagine. Like most of us I have been bound by the social conventions and constraints I allowed myself to become enslaved to, and frankly I’m sick of it.

The podcast is hosted by three comedians and they are fearless. They will say whatever they want about whatever they want. It’s entirely offensive and I couldn’t stop laughing as I listened to them talk about The Iceman and Rasputin and Jim Jones. Entirely willing to demolish any social convention, eager to do anything for a laugh, they somehow manage to say the most vile things without glorifying the ugly or pandering to the whims of the politically correct emotional children who believe that taking offence is their entitled right. I am so jealous.

I’m working on an article right now called What Your Selfies Say About You. After thinking about it for a week I’m going to change it back to it’s original title – Why Your Selfies Make Me Hate You. It’s about the insane relationships between people who constantly take selfies of themselves and words like narcissism and insecurity and trauma. I have decided to let it be more in-your-face and rooted in where I am going in other areas of my life. My work-wife Dawn Taylor and I are doing a podcast this fall with Alouette Addictions and Douglas College where I virtually take on a Steve Colbert-ish personality and set of opinions about dangerous topics. It’s called Reality Therapy: Drugs. Culture. Life. The tagline is welcome to the argument. That Scott is very raw.

I do public speaking for a living and there are occasions when I put on my coat of mental health rage and say things that you won’t hear at your normal Parent’s Association Meeting. Dawn and I have been doing this for a decade together and if you ask us nicely we will do The Dawn and Scott Show. We’re going back there on the podcast and I can pretty much guarentee you won’t always agree with that Scott Williams. For the love of god we don’t want you to. You’re supposed to fall in love with Dawn and think of me as an opinionated and occasional asshole science geek who knows allot about bongs. When you were lost in the conversation we used our Jedi mind tricks to persuade you to release your warm and cuddly Best Friend Dawn pheromones.  People line up to talk to her. After most of our gigs there is a bit of a Q&A after-party and people come to me because I’m playing the role of the smart guy. I can talk your ear off about philosophy and edibles. People want to be in Dawn’s space.

People love Dawn. Literally thousands of people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows know who Dawn Taylor is, and they know that Dawn is a self-deprecating institution in those cities. We go for coffee on a regular basis on work-related issues, and when we walk into a coffee shop I cease to exist. Every public space has people who know and love Dawn. Every damn one, it’s nauseating. She’s the nice one, I’m the weird one. We will often do 30+ gigs a year. No one likes a hitter, Dawn.

It’s a role I play that lets me be more honest. Take away the convention and the fear of hurting your feelings, someone who will fearlessly tell you something that makes you ponder can really make a difference, or at least make you think. The tougher I can be on you the better it gets. That Scott will say what you are thinking but are too wise to actually say out loud. He’s controversial and talks with way more confidence than we Canadians are comfortable with. When I am playing myself during the Dawn And Scott Show I am prone to say outrageous things. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it in person. I’m hoping the podcast will allow you to tune in to that part of the floor show, it’s incredibly fun and comes with special guests.

So I’m going to take the gloves off. I have relatives and pastors and people who are temperamental who read this, and I love you but it’s way more fun when I get to be the weird Scott Williams. You’ll forgive me or you won’t. I may shrug on that coat for a while here, I have 58 drafts in my WordPress folder that I haven’t released for several reasons, but one of those reasons certainly was that they are a little racy for this forum. (Nathan – if I die there are 58 drafts in that folder)

And seriously, deal with your selfie issue. It makes you look like a douche.