The Herd

Allow Me to Indulge

A Final Thought

Nathan Watts, Staff Writer

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As I lay here on my death bed as a Rampage writer, blasting Dust in the Wind, it occurs to me that I have no plan for this situation. It’s too late for the Christ-istory article that I told myself I’d get around to, and there’s no news that I’m particularly fired up about. It then occurs to me that a goodbye article would be an appropriate sendoff for myself, but it seems far too self-indulgent. Like throwing yourself a party, inviting everyone, and telling them to either celebrate you or move on. What have I done to deserve a grand viking funeral? I wrote some silly articles, put my thoughts out for the public to hear, but isn’t that what people want? To be heard? There are 7 billion people on the planet, so how could I have the audacity to think that I deserve celebration for simply fulfilling my own desires? It would be entirely too self indulgent.

But then I ask “why does that matter?” Why has self indulgence been branded as a sin, something to be shameful of? Would it not be virtuous to accept and care for oneself? To pursue happiness? And now I find myself looking at a page full of letters, mostly comprised of M, E, and I, and it feels dirty, like there’s no possible way that anyone could care about my personal issues. But it’s not just a personal issue, is it? In a society plagued by mental illness related to depression, anxiety, a lack of identity, and a dissonance between the social self and the personal self, couldn’t self indulgence be the cure?

The root of the issue is shame, and the fear thereof. I’ve written and deleted three different paragraphs trying to explain how self indulgence became shameful, but I honestly can’t think of a way to describe it. It’s a task better assigned to greater minds than my own. Let’s just say that our society changed, thanks in large to Christianity, especially Puritanism, and now it’s frowned upon to reveal one’s true self to strangers in public. So then, when someone does indulge themselves in public, everyone else sees it and hates to see someone having fun in a way that they are too afraid to, and so shames them. This is especially hurtful to the indulger because it’s become quite scary to display like that, and takes a lot of bravery. Some can simply shrug off this shame, but it is a large minority according to my experience. Even in a room with 100 people, if one speaks against someone’s indulgence and 99 speaks for it, the indulger will remember the one against more than the majority for.

This issue is one that has been very important to me for quite a while now, as my own shyness, which I call modesty, actively interferes in my relationships with family and classmates. My interests aren’t what most would consider normal, and are only recently entering the mainstream, so it makes it difficult to even say aloud what they are. It creates a situation in which I can only feel comfortable in two polar opposite environments; either a room full of trusted friends, a safe space, or on some metaphorical or physical stage in which I am expected to perform, in which case my indulgence becomes beneficial to the onlooker and so it is validated.

This has evolved over time to mean that anywhere outside of a safe space has become akin to a stage in my mind. If I’m not performing, then I’m dead to the world. But this isn’t a bad thing to me, because it is who I am, and if you can’t love yourself then there’s no reason to love at all. So I do love myself, but my feeling is that no one else should because they have no reason to. It wouldn’t be beneficial to love me, and so the feeling shouldn’t exist. To me, everything needs a logical reason, and all human activities benefit the catalyst in some way. To me, love needs to be earned, and I never feel like I have.

I feel that I’ve gone on long enough about myself. It’s been a swell year and a half, and it’s a shame that it has to end, but so is life. My only wish is that my articles have made you laugh, or at least think. I may not have earned my place in the hall of fame, and perhaps these words won’t be around in a year or so. I’d ask you to forgive my indulgence, but you got what was advertised. Love me or hate me, but hey, that’s just what I’m thinking.

 

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