I had a “debate”, so to speak, with a Christian today. When he asked me why I no longer believed in the existence of God, I replied, “Because it’s bullshit.” I suppose it was a bit callously delivered, but I had planned to follow the remark with reasons. However, before I was even given a chance to explain myself, my acquaintance (we will call him John), red-faced and irate, nearly yelled, “If you consider yourself so well-read [note: I do not], if you’ve read,” and he listed a bunch of thinkers whom I was supposedly familiar with [note: I was familiar with many of them], “why do you find the need to swear and show disrespect?”
My rejoinder: “I may have inherited their legacies, but certainly not their eloquence, or temperament.”
It was a good conversation, overall. He rose to the occasion of anger numerous times, and I raised only my voice. Nevertheless, it was exhausting. Arguments are always fun during, but afterwards, they can make you feel drained, especially arguments of the religious type (for which there are none, but that won’t stop them from trying anyway). So draining that often I feel discouraged to know that only my voice makes me important and not even that much. Sometimes I get into such impassioned debate that I simply shut the fuck up afterward.
I’ve gotten into a very annoying habit lately where I have to dissect every conversation I have, after-the-fact, and try to figure out what I did “right” or “wrong”. What could I have said in place of that? Should I have said this? Should I have said anything at all? I rarely had that problem before, but recently, meeting new people on a constant basis has caused me to become judgmental. It sounds pretty sick. And it is. But I cannot help myself. I don’t know why I do it.
I am under the impression that I am a very difficult person to talk to a lot of times, even in ordinary conversations. I don’t even think my friends want to talk to me. These are only my impressions, of course. I am not really ready to ask people if I am difficult to talk to. I am aware that sometimes I can be a bit abrasive. I am aware that I tend to swear more often than not. I am aware that sometimes my sarcastic remarks, even those during “serious” debates, can be off-putting. And I am fully aware that my passion can be mistaken for anger. And I know that to some people, only because they have told me, I come across as flat-out condescending. Some kind of a know-it-all jackass out to “win” every conversation. This displeases me. In fact, I’m insecure and I don’t think I am intelligent or better than anyone else (edit: well, not better than most people).
However, I can certainly be very prideful and boastful, though I’m not always serious about it. It’s a trait I inherited from movies (especially action movies) and great orators and writers, alike. For instance, during this conversation with John (which I had actually desperately attempted to avoid; though everyone else’ insistence to continue it eventually had me taking part), I sarcastically remarked several times that I was the antichrist. I proudly declared that if there ever was judgment, and I was sentenced to an eternity in hell, I could appeal, have the decision overturned, and walk into the gates of heaven. For not even God could beat me in an argument, and I was so great I could convince the almighty to let me into eternal paradise. My exuberant boasts were so much my friends feared that people seated at other tables would soon be looking, though I felt John’s increased anger was more the source of their amusement. Such remarks only incensed him more. How could I be so proud? How could I be so sinful?
Not all of my remarks were like that, of course. I still tried to bring in reason, of which he would have none. In fact, so irate was he that I was convinced that he would soon try to take the argument physical, and I waited for the first punch to be thrown. I hoped he wouldn’t because, knowing myself, I probably would have thrown back, or worse. People who really know me know when I am truly angry. Just because I raise my voice or barrage someone with words doesn’t mean I am.
But despite trying to take humorous routes and all that, I still feel bad afterwards. This is not because I feel I have offended John. It is because I am afraid that my voice is all I have and, because of the nature of my voice and my temperament and my sarcasm and my often abrasive attitude, I fear nobody wants to listen to it. Shall I change, I ask myself? Should I? If everything I have just listed should change, would it be for the better or the worse? I do not know. And I should not care. But I do.