Last night I watched Seven Psychopaths. It was fantastic. I laughed a lot. It was silly and weird and dark. Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell were both terrific. I won’t spoil anything, but it hit upon something I’ve been thinking about for a little while now and pushed me to put it out there. Well, here.
I’ve long believed that a person can change himself, that I can change myself. That I can precisely excise certain parts of my personality that I do not like or that are socially unacceptable and replace them with charming perfection. It’s actually funny that I ever believed this because despite constant repetition of behaviors I was hoping to model, I’m more the same than ever (to quote Bart Simpson when talking about Sideshow Bob). I have tried to remind myself not to worry about thing X, or not to comment on thing Y, or not to, whatever I do, act like Z. And yet. I do. Over and over and over I do. Probably at least 30% of my thoughts are some version of “just leave it alone!”. But I won’t. I can’t.
This is not to say that I don’t think that a person can change behaviors, or get better at controlling himself; I do. But I think it’s extremely different to change a fundamental part of who you are. I think that it takes more than acting, more than faking it, even if that’s the solution I’ve been holding onto for a long time.
And probably, I should acknowledge that there should also be some amount of acceptance of yourself (ok, myself). I’m pretty good at accepting the parts about myself that are relatively normal quirks: Oh! I really like it when people are on time! And I like it when things are clean! And I would prefer it if you’d let me clean the house because only I can do it right! But. There are other parts that are darker and harder to control and they are unruly. It’s hard for me to admit that my inner-self has a problem with organization or follow-through or logic or authority. It’s hard to admit my actual feelings instead of the ones I’ve crafted and reviewed and approved for scrutiny.
But that’s got to be everybody to some extent, I think.