Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Can't Help But Hate

I was having lunch with my colleague/confidant/social adversary, Blythe*, recently when she casually announced she was moving to Chicago to work for Oprah.

“Oh my God- Congratulations!” I squealed nearly choking on a french fry as I gawked at her in amazement.

Unable to further conceal her excitement, Blythe gushed on about the details of her big break, oblivious to the fact that although I seemed genuinely enthralled by her nauseating salary and one degree of separation from Barack, I couldn’t really hear her over the tiny, red-horned version of myself perched on my shoulder flooding my ears with all kinds of despicableness.

“She’s not even qualified and she doesn’t need any more money,” the imp snarled. “This bitch better hook me up for O’s ‘Favorite Things’ show.“

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” I inquired wondering why she allowed a full round of drinks and an appetizer to pass before revealing such groundbreaking news.

“Well,” Blythe hesitated before continuing, “I know how you can get sometimes.”

I pretended to take offense to her statement, but I knew she had a valid point. I felt guilty for thinking such awful thoughts about Blythe because I truly wanted to be ecstatic for her. She worked hard, put up with a lot of crap and survived a twelve-hour interview in a dungeon with Oprah’s evil minions to earn her position. I only display such acts of perseverance when trying to maintain dysfunctional relationships with my boyfriends. But I just couldn’t curb the venomous emotions I bore towards Blythe. I have a disease. It’s not really a disease in the terminal, go to the hospital, take some meds sense- it’s more of a mental condition. I am a HATER.

Why would I admit that? Well, because it is a problem and the first step to conquering any issue is to confess. Though I am pretty sure everyone drinks his or her share of HATERade, I’m concerned that my consumption of the bitter beverage is about three gallons more than average. No one is immune to my askance glares, heavy sighs and silent verbal attacks. I hate on everybody- friends, enemies, men, women, babies, married people, rich folks, educated people, stupid people who are doing “better” than me, superheroes, aliens - need I go on?

Most of the time, my adverse emotions aren’t even intentional or rational. I will see or hear about something at random and suddenly SNAP, like that time I went all ballistic when I overheard an executive at my job bragging about her newly adopted Asperger Syndrome baby and went on a ten minute tirade about how rich that kid would be for the rest of its life. Meanwhile I’m destitute and living paycheck to paycheck because nobody wants to buy me. I’m in desperate need of an intervention.

While researching my condition I learned that “hating” manifests itself in a variety of ways. As a matter of fact, has approximately seventy-three definitions for the word “hater.” With a term this broad, I am definitely not the only person suffering from this disorder. I pinpointed the strain of “hate” that plagues me most as:

“A person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success… they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.”

Sometimes my hate is justified. I refuse to give props where none is due. For example, as hateful as it might sound, I think most reality stars are untalented media whores who are not worthy of the attention, money or dates with Z-list celebrities they attract. That’s clearly a casual observation, but it could easily be misconstrued as “hate.” I have a tendency to say what’s on my mind- negative or positive. I do not know or care about reality stars anyway. The simple cure for that form of hateration would be to heed to the old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”…even when it needs to be said and it’s true and everybody agrees with you.

What really troubles me is when I go all Kanye on my friends and loved ones. A situation this dire requires a professional’s diagnosis; therefore, I turned to my BFF, Renee for a more in-depth analysis of my disorder. Not only has she known me for over a quarter of a century, but she also has a Ph.D in clinical psychology, a car, a house and a loving husband, who also happens to be a doctor. You’d think with a best friend like that, I would’ve performed hari-kari already, but I take solace in the fact that she’s plagued with a terrible case of IBS. Not to mention the ego boost I get when I tell people that my best friend is a “dawkta.”

According to Dr. Renee there is no concrete psychological definition for the contemporary condition of “hate.” In other words, she probably thinks I’m making stuff up.

“I think what you are referring to is jealousy or envy,” states Dr. Renee using her best clinical voice. I thought I was already quite knowledgeable about jealousy and envy; but to be sure, we checked and found their definitions pretty similar to my symptoms.

Jealousy can be used to describe feelings of “resentment or anger against a rival or another’s success.” Okay that sounds like my hate. Envy is a “feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.” Bingo. For further elucidation, Dr. Renee and I also looked up the word hate, and lo and behold- “to feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward” jumped right at me like a silicone booty on the cover of King magazine (I hate King too).

Apparently I suffer from a jealous-envy-hate cocktail of “Hate.” Those emotions are completely natural and fairly easy to cope with on an individual basis. However, the hybrid of them all- under the dark cloud of “Hate” is more potent than the eggnog at a Paula Abdul holiday party.

Dr. Renee assured me that although jealousy is a part of human nature, the amount of jealousy one possesses and the effect it has determines whether or not it is healthy or normal. “Small amounts of jealousy may serve as motivation to do better; however,” she continued sounding all smart, “if you are so jealous that you’re experiencing a significant level of distress, then that is a clear indication of how unhealthy jealousy can be.”

Gosh, all she needed was a pair of black plastic frames, a lab coat and a clipboard and I might’ve handed her my insurance card. It’s impossible to believe this was the same girl who was forced to spend her junior high school afternoons in Power Hour catching up on remedial literacy skills while the rest of us were free to go to the park and experiment with drugs and premature sex.

The envious feelings I direct towards strangers is usually superficial and fleeting. The malignity that usually lingers and affects me most is the “hating” I dole out to my peers. Dr. Renee cited some textbook mumbo-jumbo about the Appraisal Theories of Emotion- Frijda (1986), Lazarus (1991), which suggest “that emotions are a result of people’s interpretations and explanations of the events. Specifically, an individual’s emotions will be based on the good or bad implications that the event has for the individual, as well as how the individual explains the cause of the event.”

“When your friend announced her Oprah-tunity, right away you interpreted this situation as a threat to your success, which caused you to have negative emotions,” surmised Dr. Renee. She was right. Blythe and I work in the same industry and I sometimes feel that I could- or should be in her shoes- especially now that they’ll probably be O’s crimson soled Louboutins.
My professional circle is rather intimate, so I’m constantly hearing about somebody’s career gain. I get so frustrated because I tend to compare my status to theirs and project my shortcomings on them. Dr. Renee suggests that if my friends and I were in totally different fields, I would less likely have negative feelings about their success.

I explained to the doctor that sometimes my hate gets so severe, that I lose sleep due to my ruminating thoughts. One night after seeing one of my peers in a ad; witnessing another in a movie (the dude who dropped an air conditioner on Greg Kinnear in “Ghost Town”); and hearing about yet another’s twenty-pound weight loss, I actually broke out in hives! Dr. Renee confirmed that an excess of negative emotions could indeed cause both psychological and physical ailments. “Jealousy leads to stress and stress has been linked to a number of physical illnesses including severe headaches, common colds, heart attacks and strokes.”

The very thought of my hate causing serious damage to my overall health is quite unsettling. How tragic would it be for my cause of death to be a green-eyed monster as opposed to the moronic alcohol-related demise I often imagine? I definitely need to take immediate action.

Dr. Renee says that my self-awareness is already a good start. “If you become aware of your hater ways, then you are in a position to do something about it.” She recommends that haters try identifying the positive aspects of their lives and focusing on achieving their own goals instead of on someone else’s prosperity. Absolutely! I should definitely concentrate more on writing ineffectual humorous prose to share with my three blog followers and magazine editors who reject me.

In a case as severe as mine, Dr. Renee thinks speaking to a professional to help deal with underlying contributing factors would be a good idea. Duh, isn’t that what she’s here for?

Hating in excess is not healthy or beneficial to anyone- no matter how natural it may be. Although, I sometimes feel that my hating is uncontrollable, it would behoove me to get a handle on it to at least avoid hurting my loved ones. I definitely don’t want be forever labeled as a hateful, jealous person who can’t appreciate a friend’s accomplishments. I’d much rather be the supportive person who can ride the coattails of their friends’ success. Armed with my newfound understanding of “hate,” I am on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who Does He Think He Is?

By the time four o' clock rolls around I am pretty much through with work. I get paid to stay in the office for about another two hours, but I'm exhausted after six grueling hours of answering emails, checking purchase orders and perusing Besides, the outcome of any request or decision made so late in the day wouldn't matter until the following morning, so I find it perfectly acceptable to mentally check out. Most of my co-workers run to Starbucks or out for a cigarette break under the pretense of caffeine or nicotene actually helping them sealing that last minute deal or miraculously speeding up the clock. I prefer to use these precious hours for my personal endeavors - like cruising Craigslist for lucrative part-time gigs so I can pay off my Visa card. Most of the work that piques my interest either sounds kinda sketchy (Make $500 a day working from home...on the your panties); Or seems like way too much effort for the measly wages. When Craigslist fails me, I often fantasize about writing an edgy, inspirational memoir-ish novel about how I succeeded in completing a 350 page tour de force during my office downtime. Each page would be about whatever random thoughts were floating through my head at the moment - and I was off to a pretty good start until i proofed it and realized I'd gone from erratically talking about the joys of writing to wanting a new haircut to strengthening my Keigels in the first two paragraphs.

One afternoon activity where my lack of focus is not a problem is cyber-hunting. I get transfixed for hours online searching for a sale pair of over-the-knee boots, mentally masturbating over delicious online menus and keeping tabs on people from my past- mainly those people from my past who I slept with. Because I am single-handedly fighting the crusade for preserving traditional social skills, I refuse to join Facebook or any other "social" networking sites that would make my people search tremendously easier. Please forgive me for opting to periodically call or email the long lost friends (who I still care about) instead of posting, "Remember me from Mr. De Los Santos' Level B spanish class in 1988?" and expecting to rekindle some flimsy relationship I probably never had. I'm not too keen on the idea of someone cyber-hunting me either, which is why if they do they're gonna have to put in some work on Google like I do.

Yesterday I googled my most recent ex and surprisingly quite a few links popped up about him. I immediately hated on his seeming popularity. Sixteen out of 171,000 results with both first and last name matches?! But, upon closer inspection I realized the first page of results yielded websites created about himself by himself. I opened the first page, which bore his most recent namesake (but the same name he went by when we were dating), and that led to a page of other sites, each one using a different moniker. He considered himself either a chameleon or a spy, so he went by various names- much like the devil.

The first page I visited led to a free download of his debut album, "Remy Sundae." I refused to download the album because one of the ridiculous reasons he gave for dumping me was that our eight month relationship was too much of a distraction for him while he created his funky, hip-hop harmonious noise. That could've been a viable excuse had he not been concocting this musical masterpiece for the past twenty years. Besides, I didn't want to boost his ego by having him thinking he had supporters enjoying his music.

Next I was directed to his first single's video, which was a four minute montage of abstract views of the Brooklyn bridge, unflattering extreme close ups of his mug, and some random chick, who I'm assuming is his new girlfriend since the lead female role of his first video was once promised to me. After viewing the video seven more times, i really wanted to share it with my my girlfriends so that they too could enjoy a hearty laugh at his visual triumph. However, once again, I didn't want him getting the idea that he had actual fans when his video counter miraculously switched from three to ten (my extra hits didn't count since they were from the same computer).

I continued on to one of his many blogs, "Free From F," in which he warns readers through arbitrary pseudo-radical diatribes of the imminent dangers of things beginning with the letter "F," most notably faiths, fructose and fat chickens. He keeps the postings short since he thinks his terse musings are super potent and packed with ponderous data and nutrients.

When I could no longer stand reading about fatal fromage, I clicked on one last link to feed whatever sadistic part of my brain that was craving ex-BF updates, and my urethra leaked. He had the nerve to create an e-commerce site selling his own paraphernalia. To be clear, this was not an online garage sale or e-bay-type setup where he sold old sneakers or bongs. On this site, a customer could shop for graphically monogrammed tee-shirts and baseball caps with HIS initials. Initially, I was under the impression that this sort of thing was usually reserved for celebrities, but in retrospect, I can't even recall Britney hawking "B.S." shirts (though I'd get it if she did). Jay-Z at least has the brains to spell out his highly recognizable initials for those dying for an item with his name. And my ex's initials aren't nearly as profound as MLK or JFK- nor as interesting as XYZ. How narcissistic does one have to be to think that anybody other than his nana would spend $24.99 plus shipping on a shirt with some anonymous initials on it? Unless he's trying to add fashion designer to his repertoire, this behavior is unacceptable.

Then I thought about it and would not have been surprised in the least if he was trying to become a fashion designer. What was left? He's already dropped an album and a video. Might as well make like Beyonce and become a triple threat by adding apparel. One of the traits that first attracted me to him was his passion and "I can do anything" attitude. Ironically, that same quality ended up driving me nuts when every cockamaime idea either one of us thought had to come to fruition. "I hate the effing trains," I'd gripe after my half-hour trek to his house took a full hour due to mysterious smoke conditions on the tracks. "You need to stop whining and start a blog about what's wrong with the MTA," he'd defiantly retort.

"These fries are soggy," I'd casually observe while eating. "You should go to the supermarket, buy some potatoes and make your own fresh fries," then he'd persist, "You could package and sell those fries and make a shitload of money...You need to get on your grind, B."

I could definitely imagine him abhorring every song on the radio and taking action by making his own music. That would certainly explain his Itunes library filled with over 2000 of his own tunes. Maybe that CK shirt just didn't do it for him, hence designing a shirt with his own letters. Good for him. Perhaps if I had the same drive, ambition and free time (he was underemployed), my manuscript would be complete by now, or I'd be $8000 richer from that Craigslist egg donor posting. Who knows what I could achieve if I just up and did something and followed through with it?

I could've wrapped it up nice and sweet with that last paragraph, but I wouldn't be completely true to my HATER self. I would like to add that while my ex boyfriend's determination and demented visions of grandeur might be somewhat admirable, I still think he made music, videos and evil blogs to divert him from more pressing matters like working a "real" job and taking care of his woman (me). And if 2000 songs are made but nobody is around to hear them, then is it really music? Please refer to the tree falling in the woods scenario to make sense of that question. And there's nothing wrong with making items with your name on it in arts and crafts class for your own personal pleasure, but it is ostentatiously arrogant to try to sell them to a public who doesn't even know you exist.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Yellow Bag

When he walks in I’m going to act like I don’t even see him. No, I’ll make myself cry and periodically shoot him forlorn glances. He’ll see my tears and feel so guilty for what he did that he’ll stop me after the service and beg for my forgiveness. Actually, he’ll ask for my forgiveness and beg for me to take him back. I won’t take him back, but I will make out with him until his fiancé walks in on us, and throws the engagement ring back at him in a fit of rage. I was in deep thought re-playing my thirty-seventh hypothetical meeting with Trevor, my "Whaddya mean you didn't know I already had a girlfriend" ex-boyfriend who was supposed to be attending this funeral service along with his fiancé, Brandie.

This was the final stage in my post-relationship closure process. I’d already completed the steps where I left angry messages on his phone, stalked him at the supermarket and threatened to kill his kitten. I could finally get over him if I could just see the hussy for whom I was dumped and make him feel like a loser by looking insanely hotter than her.

The service was already about ten minutes late and there was still no sign of him. I’d even strategically attached myself to a group of mourners sitting near the entrance, so that I could keep an eye on who was entering and exiting the venue. It also detracted from fact that I was there solo. Wouldn’t want to look lonely and dateless in front of the happy couple. In between reading the obituary (Mr. Reed was a Mud Lick, Kentucky City Councilman) and passing Kleenex to the broken up woman next to me (definitely Mr. Reed’s mistress), I kept stealing glances to see if Trevor was anywhere to be found.

Fast growing impatient and tired of fake-consoling the “mistress,” I left for the bathroom to touch up my makeup one last time. What if Trevor walked in and my eyebrows had melted off?

“Eat your heart out, Trev,” I said as I strutted in front of the bathroom’s full-length mirror in a black stretch jersey tunic that fell flawlessly over my super-tight, liquid leggings, which threatened to burst open if I so much as looked at a Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. My high-heeled booties were definitely going to give me a bad case of bunions or scoliosis, but they were fierce. And the ensemble was topped off with a cute leather bomber and the accessory-du-jour, a yellow chain purse. My imaginary techno catwalk music was interrupted when a pretty young lady suddenly entered. I noticed, as she sashayed into the room, that she too, wore an outfit that was inappropriately tight for the occasion. Actually she was only wearing a simple black dress, but she had one of those curvy bodies where everything looked obscene on her.

I flashed her a phony smile and prepared to exit, when I heard the words, “Nice bag.” My ears and attitude immediately perked up at the compliment and I genuinely thanked her. I mean, if Trevor was going to be a no-show, then at least someone would’ve appreciated the effort I put in to this get-up. We immediately vibed on the catty girl equalizer- fashion- when she then showed me her own yellow bag which, being an authentic expensive label, put my Forever 21 knock-off to shame. But not one to be easily disgraced or outdone, I explained to her that I didn’t want to waste my money on flashy, frivolous things like bags, clothes and butt injections (which I’m sure she had) because I was saving up for my vacation to Boca Chica in a few weeks.

“I totally understand, “ she agreed, “which is why I’m lucky I got this bag for so cheap in Rome,” she added while caressing the supple leather on her fine Italian carryall. “My fiancé and I just got back,” she beamed.

I didn’t have time to play this game with her, mainly because I could already tell that she’d win, and I had other people to impress- Trevor. She went on about Rome as she hopped into the bathroom stall. Somewhere between the Panthenon and the Trevi Fountain, I interjected and told her I’d catch up with her after the service. She asked me to wait so that we could sit together. Was she serious? I was so not looking to make friends at this event and if Trevor saw the both of us together she might steal my shine with her “Dark and Lovely” tresses and video ho derriere.

I reluctantly waited for her to finish pissing Vueve Cliquot, or whatever comes out of a bourgeoise bitch's urethra, while frantically plotting a way to ditch her outside. After washing her hands, she politely smiled, extended a French-manicured palm out to me and said, “By the way, I’m Brandie.