Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Killing the inner child

During my teens and twenties, I had some very obnoxious behaviour that, while intensely amusing for me, provoked animosity among others. I had plenty of annoying and obnoxious habits, and today I'll tell you about one that I killed. One of the tricks my body was good at then was regurgitating. I'd eat a meal and then hours later I'd burp up a chunk of something I had previously eaten. I'm sure this has happened to you, and you might flinch or groan, but probably swallow it right back, no one for the wiser. But me, no, I wanted to share this special burp with others. So I took to displaying the contents of whatever had been regurgitated to whomever I was with. I found that this nearly always produced a visceral and severe reaction, which caused me to be helplessly amused. By far the best reaction I could cause was the gag reflex. One time in particular, I had drunk a coke pretty quickly and then I had one of those "foam" burps (very tame in the scope of the regurgitation years) and showed it to Brian, my roommate at the time. He was some kind of sissy, boy, and he immediately started gagging, and finished by throwing up right there on the floor, just from having seen coke foam! Ah, I cried laughing, but after that, he was rather wary of me.

Over the years I learned that people did not like to see the regurgitated contents of my stomach. (Luckily for them, I stopped drinking milk somewhere around 25 and this diminished the frequency of regurgitations greatly.) I still liked doing it, producing a reaction, but I started to care more for my circle of loved ones and started to ask myself why I found so much pleasure from their displeasure. And I turned it over in my mind, and looked at it and pretty much came up with the following. It is sadistic to derive pleasure from the pain of others, and I don't want to act on my sadistic impulses because I don't want my life to be about causing others discomfort, in fact, I don't want the impulses at all, but I know I can only control my behaviour. And I worked on it. And I stopped. And you know what, slowly but surely the impulses faded, and now it's just not a part of "me" anymore. Hooray! (And let me just go on record and say that I'm sorry to all of those whose minds I scarred by doing this to them. Really, I'm truly sorry. You know who you are.)

I share this with you because I think this was a great growing experience for me, and I have applied it to other parts of my life with some success. It helped me when I thought of it this way: What am I here for, is this regurgitating thing "me", part of my "purpose" here on earth? Of course I had to believe that no, this wasn't my purpose. I wanted to be a contributor, not a detractor, a builder, not a destroyer, and finally a nice guy, not an arrogant asshole.

It takes work, probably one's whole life, but it can be done. What thing that gives you pleasure causes others discomfort? If I asked you to come up with the thing that someone would say bothered them the most about you, what would that be? (You know what it is even if you've never been called out on it.) And that's where you should start. Because, and I'm trying to speak from experience when I say, you end up a better person.

Do I sound pompous? I hope not, because I don't mean any of this that way at all.

9 comments:

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

I just worry too much in general about things when I don't need to, needing reassurance as well from loved ones, I should grow up more and get on with things.

Like your projectile stories-what can you do with peanuts? ;-)
ha ha ha ha

Lyvvie said...

Hooray! someone else who is milk free and proud!!

Thanks for giving up that bad habit. I'm glad to have been spared it.

I had a pal who had another friend that was allergic to salt. So anytime she ate salt she threw up. This friend had a love for McDonlads french fries. Needless to say they weren't friends after so many post fries vomits. She would just walk down the street and in mid conversation, turn her head and vom and then carry on like nothing had happened.

I always felt bad for her boyfriend. Imagine kissing her. Ew!!!

_Psycho said...

Usually: I never do anything to someone that I wouldn't want to get to myself. Following that general idea, I never had bad reactions really. Of course I can be annoying sometime, but hey, nobody is perfect (I'm not yet but, I'm getting there ;)

St. Dickeybird said...

I have an annoying habit of dancing anywhere I hear music. Even if it's inappropriate, I still do a little shuffle, usually unconciously.
During business meetings can get a bit... embarassing.
Then again, I've never cared enough to set my mind to stopping.
lol

Em said...

Well, which is it? I analyze everyone I love, causing resentment and embarassment.

And I don't handle it well when people depend on me. I'll suddenly be like the mystical sage or a ninja, there then not.

Probably the analysis.

t said...

There was once a kid in my school would vomit within 10 seconds of SEEING a piece of cheese!
I'm not making this up and I'm not exaggerating!
Luckily he always knew where the closest trash barrel was in the lunchroom so he could puke in it!

I think I annoy some people I know and/or work with, but I can't get anyone to tell me why. I think I'm generally cheery and a lot of people don't like that.
I know what bothers my wife:
there's about 4 stories that I forget I've told her and when I start to tell one of them, she says "OH, DAMN!...PLEASE don't tell me about that again! Do you know how many times you've told me that story???"

_Psycho said...

st.dickeybird, funny I also have that habit to dance on some song, doing little moves ;) By i have good control =P

farmboyz said...

OK. Confession time. Although our friends have never complained, on long road trips (like the ones we used to make to Montreal), I almost always insist on playing my compilations, and I sing out loud to each song because each song is my favorite song. C drives and grits his teeth waiting for his chance to swop in his own compilation. Others in the car turn to the back seat and say what a lovely voice I have. In reality, I can do a dead-on Dionne Warwick. When she and I do "Walk On By", you'd swear she was in the car with us, rolling a joint on her way to the Miami airport.
Anyway, I will not stop this perhaps-annoying habit unless someone really steps forward and tells me to shut up. Until then, I'll assume that everyone is being as blissfully transported as am I.

Rebekah said...

I talk too much...

But, I have wonderful friends who don't seem to mind, and they are the people I care about. The people that don't like it, aren't my friends.

It's not that I do it intentionallyl to bother people, it's just part of me.

I can also be blunt-honest about things. It's what makes me comfortable.

So I guess that's a new question. Where does our comfort level become less important than someone else's? I think I may go blog about that.