Your Real Self Is Not You At Your Worst
“You’re a dumb fucking bitch,” I replied.
Or did I? I don’t actually remember the exact words that were said but I remember the way I felt, which was abysmally awful.
A friend of a friend had posted some absolute nonsense on my friends Facebook status, so obviously I felt obligated to show her proof she was wrong. That was a mistake.
She totally rejected what was right in front of her eyes. Her statement wasn’t true at all, but she repeated it over and over again as if it were the ineffable word of God. It wasn’t even close.
That’s when I swore at her, my temper already short from seeing her “laugh react” at anything sensible anyone else had said. Surely I should have taken that as a red flag, but nope.
And boy oh boy when those mean words slipped out of my mouth she ate them up so fast. It’s almost like that’s exactly what she wanted to happen. She went off on a reply spree asking me “do you talk to your wife like that?” and telling me multiple times how tiny my penis is.
I don't know about you, but I’m not sure strangers on the internet are deserving of the same level of respect that I have for my spouse. Feel free to let me know if I’m wrong about that.
Also, the size of my penis is largely irrelevant these days considering I’m married, with children. Literally nobody cares about my penis, or needs to, except for Facebook lady I guess.
But anyway, I saw how upset she was and I recognized my shitty knee jerk reaction, so I apologized for being overly harsh, but not for telling the truth.
That’s when she said (paraphrased) “I don’t want your fake apology. I’ve already seen ‘the real you’ and I don’t want anything to do with you,” which was obviously followed up with more “your penis is tiny” replies.
I sighed and decided to play the role she handed me. “Fuck you, be ignorant,” I replied, and then I blocked her.
So, to tally things up, over a random encounter on social media, I was angry, upset at myself, and thinking “maybe I do have a tiny penis.”
While all of the things I did wrong were playing on a loop in my head, I kept hearing a few specific words she said over and over again, but louder than the rest: “I’ve already seen ‘the real you.’”
Out of all of the issues related to this incident that I could address, this one seemed like the most profound.
Was “the real me” the awful person I was in that single moment of unbridled assholery?
Am I an awful person?
Is the real version of everyone whoever they are in their worst moments?
Should we all be defined by our misdeeds?
Isn’t this the crux of cancel culture?
Honestly, I don’t have anything against the woman I got into an altercation with on Facebook. If I had taken a moment to think before I responded none of it would’ve even happened, but it did happen, and all things considered we both acted pretty poorly.
Maybe we’re both terrible people, and that’s “the real us.”
Or maybe this sort of binary thinking is flawed.
Maybe people aren’t just good or bad. Maybe we’re all complex beings capable of a range of actions varying from amazing to terrifying at any given moment under the right circumstances.
I’d like to think “the real you” is the person you strive to be day after day. The person you are most of the time through your daily actions, not the person you are in your worst, or best, moments. (Unless all of your moments are the worst, yikes.)
Because if “the real you” is who you are when you’ve done your worst, then there’s no reason for you to ever try to be any better than that.
That’s why we reward people when they show up in their best moments and punish people when they show up in their worst moments, because we want them to strive to be better.
But telling someone they’ll never be better than their worst, because their worst is “the real them,” is cruel and sends the message that they should just give up and accept who they are. And if you do that to them, they will.
That’s why I believe “the real you” is NOT you at your worst. As a society, we can’t afford to believe that it is.
“The real you” isn’t even static; it’s always changing. It’s like an ever-shifting gauge pointing somewhere between your best and worst self, and the part that matters most is that you always strive to push it as far to the best side as you can.