Chapter 18 – The Van Gogh Of The Art Of Self-Hatred

Chapter 18 – The Van Gogh Of The Art Of Self-Hatred

A Chapter by Oscar Blomqvist

Mixing puberty and mental health problems usually end in a lot of blood being spilled. Either from shaving newly found body hair or… other activities.


I recently looked at a picture of myself from a long time ago. I must’ve been around five or six. I’m naked in the picture. If that picture was found in the wrong drawer someone could go to prison. The picture surprised me, shocked is a bit too strong of a word, but it was almost applicable to the situation. It was the first time in my life I looked at myself and didn’t dislike anything about what I saw. 

Sure, my dick was a bit small, but I was six, my balls hadn’t f*****g dropped. But my stomach didn’t stretch my skin, it didn’t sag from my waist, there was no overhang. For as long as I can remember, a belly has been hanging over the belt of my jeans. For the life of me, I cannot remember not being at least a little bit chubby. Despite the endless hours of basketball, hockey, soccer, and everything else, I’ve always had a bit of a gut. I’ve always felt bad about it. But here it was, proof of the complete opposite. 

I always thought that I had been born this way, that it was about genetics. To some extent it is. When my dad was at his skinniest as an adult, bordering on underweight, he still had a little bit of a gut. Or at least he said he did. When I look at pictures of him from his early twenties, I can’t really see it. Growing up, I would step into the bathroom and have a look at myself. I was never happy with what I saw. 

The stretch marks on my sides and back were the evidence of a quick weight gain, but I didn’t think my appearance had changed all that much and I sometimes were rather fond of them. They added character. And made me look like I was about to give birth, or just had given birth, but still for some reason they didn’t bug me that much. Or at least this is what I told myself to make myself feel better. 

I love food so much that when I go to bed at night, I look forward to breakfast. The stretchmarks were there for a reason. When I stepped out of the bathroom, I was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Suicide cover of Dream Baby Dream so I couldn’t really hear what she said but it sounded like my name. 

I took out one of my earphones.

“Are you talking to me?” I asked.

“No. Were you hoping I was talking to you?” Mom answered. Who says something like that?

“No,” I said. She laughed and reached up to hug me. I hugged her back but she was so short that it didn’t really feel like a hug, more like an awkward embrace with a relative you never see. She had the leash for the dog in her hand and her jacket on over her fleece sweater.

“Now I’m going out.”


She took it as a continuation of the jargon and laughed again. She laughed so much she eventually had tears in her eyes. Whether they were there only because she thought I was funny or because she was sad that our relationship was digging its own grave I don’t know. Probably a little bit of both. I wasn’t happy with myself, I wasn’t happy with my family, I wasn’t happy with anything.

Group dynamics are interesting in the sense that everyone becomes about twice as much of a c**t when they’re in a group compared to what they are usually like. This especially goes for young men or at least that’s where my expertise lies. You can’t be a young man without experiencing some kind of teenage homophobia fueled by the insecurity of those who initiate the abuse. They’re sometimes gay themselves or have an abusive father who uses homophobic epithets as a strand in their traumatizing abuse. 

When the only closeness I got was wrestling teammates to the ground because they were annoying, it’s not that weird that I lacked the typical teenage guy homophobia. Not that my masculinity wasn’t fragile, it was. I think the teenage assholery wasn’t helped by the fact that there were people of the same age of the opposite sex around with very distracting jiggly bits. The fact that there weren’t any girls around to impress made it possible to grow different kinds of relationships with teammates rather than classmates. 

You weren’t competing for p***y, but at the same time, most of my classmates, including myself, were too much of a bunch of p*****s to ever chase after any actual p***y. The relationship to girls of course also involved looking at yourself and what you brought to the table. Since I didn’t see much more than a land-whale when looking at myself, and every other bloke looking like a goddamn Adonis in comparison, I didn’t make much of an effort to try to get in someone’s pants. 

As such, when a girl in my high school class actually seemed to show some kind of interest, I had no idea what to do. I think she might have used me to help her with her homework since that was what most of the questions she asked me were about. The messages always ended with a ridiculous amount of pre-emoji era hearts, as in <3. A ludicrous practice that thankfully I never had to take part in more than for a short period of time. 

I learned from the few friends I had who had something going on with a girl, that it was incredibly important to fill the end of a text message with hearts until you reached the limit for the length of a text message. Yes, there were limits. Pre-smartphone, this slowed texting considerably and made no sense to me whatsoever. 

Another problem was of course that texting had still not reached the conversation layout. A text you received could be in response to anything if you didn’t specifically remember what you had sent to the person before. The iPhone existed, but it was still way too expensive for me to get my hands on. 

I also didn’t have my own laptop, not one that worked very well anyway, which made it all the more difficult to watch porn, meaning you had to rely on mental images of female classmates from the last time swimming was on the schedule during PE. This worked fairly well since they did look spectacular, and some of them even made the questionable decision of wearing white bikini bottoms and you all know what that means, you creeps. It sounds like I’m describing the Stone Age, but this is what we had to deal with, growing up at the cusp of the smartphone revolution. 

The levels of sexual frustration were high, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that the fashion trends during this time consisted mostly of deep-necked tank tops and skin-tight jeans. I skipped an entire school year at the peak of puberty. After Christmas break in 6th grade, I started 7th grade, which is like skipping a few decades in adult years. The tits became bigger, the cleavages deeper and the jeans tighter. School from 7th grade on was a minefield of b***s and butts, a desperate hunt for bathrooms to lock yourself in and rub one out to take the pressure off, and maybe survive another afternoon and maybe being able to focus on the tasks at hand set by whatever sorry teacher had to deal with us that particular day.

One day in my last year of high school, I was sitting alone at my table in English class and we were discussing different kinds of discourse. The teacher asked me what I thought discourse meant. I had no clue, so I said: “Discourse is the opposite of intercourse, discourse is when you’re not getting any.” André the Greek, a former basketball teammate, laughed at the other end of the classroom where he was sitting among his other jocky friends. 

He also studied a year above his own age and was in the sports program at Domsdal, something I considered but didn’t end up doing because it was too easy and not really my thing. We both studied with people a year older than ourselves but played sports with people our own age. People struggled to understand that one. It’s usually the other way around. 

Sadly, it’s much more common to be athletically able, rather than academically able, which is why society is going to the dogs. Numerous times people have assumed that I’m older than I am because of my height. When I was around 18, people actually said: “I thought you were much older, your height fooled me.” Really? Most people stop growing before they turn 17, I’ve only been growing sideways since I was eighteen. Are you just stupid or do you not know how the human body works?

Mixing puberty and mental health problems usually end in a lot of blood being spilled. Either from shaving newly found body hair or… other activities (sideways for attention, longways for results, you know the drill people). I thought I knew how to shave. My face disagreed with vigor. 

In addition to the scars on my face, I also managed to get the razor stuck between my eyebrows as I was trying to get rid of my growing unibrow, each razor digging into my skin, leaving three small, narrow scars in between my eyes. Shortly afterward, I grudgingly sat down to dinner. Clara looked at me and said: “You look like a retard.”

“Well good f*****g evening to you too.”

Being the Van Gogh of the art of self-hatred, it was quite hard to figure out why I should’ve even put myself out there. First of all, there’s no such thing as the friend zone, the truth is that people just don’t want to f**k you, that’s all it is. If two friends both want to f**k each other, they will. They won’t refrain from doing so because they’re afraid of what it might do to their friendship. They might not go for it because they’re afraid of what the other person might say, but if both know that they both wanna f**k, there will be f*****g. 

I’ve never been friend zoned because the girls who didn’t want to f**k me also didn’t want to be friends with me. I didn’t really want to be friends with them either, but that’s beside the point. The friendzone is just an excuse made by the person that suddenly needs a reason to think they’re still fuckable. 

I’ve had a lot of girls not wanting to f**k me because I’m creepily tall, a bit tubby tub tubs, and all in all, slightly horrifying. Also, I would define my personality as questionable. Back when I used such things, I never knew how much cologne to put on. Do I shower in it? Do I walk through a cloud of it? Or do have a small child drink it and then let it pee in my face? I’ll never figure that out entirely. Then again, in my case, using cologne is like polishing a t**d.

Nowadays, people talk about being comfortable in your own skin is something you should be to feel good about yourself. That’s bullshit. Nobody feels good in their own skin unless you’re a model or trying to become the fattest man on the planet. But if you can manage to look at yourself in a mirror and go: “Meh, could be worse,” then it’s all good. 

I love myself probably a bit too much, but I look like s**t with my shirt off. What I’m trying to say is that you can hate the way you look and still love yourself. Case in point, me. I think I look like a sack of s**t, but I also suffer from hubris so badly that I think that the only reason this book wouldn’t be a bestseller is the stupidity of the public and/or the prudeness of book publishers who’ll probably remove all the best bits, a.k.a. the nasty s**t, or reject it because I don’t have a John Green-esque tone to my endless paragraphs on anxiety.

I didn’t really have any friends growing up because I’m a weird a*s person. But I played a lot of sports which meant that I wasn’t home a lot, which meant it kind of looked like I had a life when I really didn’t. I don’t think any of my teammates would have chosen to hang out with me had we been regular classmates. Having no friends also meant that I didn’t get drunk for the first time behind a supermarket when I was twelve. 

It was when I was 17 and I don’t remember it like it was yesterday. It was Christmas, it was about a week till I turned 18, the legal drinking age in our grand kingdom, but me drinking still annoyed mom somehow. She used to smoke and shoplift as a child, how she became so stuck-up I don’t know. But I remember my dad, looking at my grandmother, his mother-in-law, then at my mother, and then at the beer in his hand. 

And I saw him thinking This is how I’ve gotten through the last thirty years of Christmases isn’t it? And then he looked at me. “Here you go, I’ll see you on the other side,” he seemed to say, if only with his eyes, and handed it to me. The other side being when we would go out to the forest on the hill right next to our house in the middle of the night and go sledding. This was the first time we did it while both of us were drunk, which was preferable. 

In years past, dad was drunk but I wasn’t, and I would notice so many things that were weird about him when he was drunk. It more often than not made me kind of uncomfortable. But when I was drunk too, I saw all of that stuff again but it didn’t really bother me in the same way because I was a lot more relaxed. Alcohol really dealt with the constant tension I felt within myself, and getting rid of it was incredibly freeing. This of course made me a prime candidate for alcoholism.

While we rarely expressed any emotional appreciation for each other, the few times my father did express any kind of emotion at all, it often bothered me. For example, while watching Forrest Gump, when the film became overly sentimental, he would give away half a laugh or just an agreeing incoherent mumble. 

He appreciated that emotional stuff, he liked seeing other people happy, even though he couldn’t quite articulate it. It could be watching people getting money from Tom Bergeron on America’s funniest home videos (YouTube before YouTube) or a house from Ty Pennington (ADHD Home Makeover). My dad is a man who refused to get married because he thought it was a waste of money and because he hates being the center of attention, he never tells anyone he loves them or anything close to that. 

The closest he comes to that is telling you not to change the channel before Ty says “Move that bus!” That agreeing, approving, minuscule chuckle is the only window into his emotional being, and it seems like there’s quite a lot there that’s never going to be seen, like an iceberg bobbing around below the surface, barely in view above the water. They always bothered me, the chuckles, the agreeing noises. 

At the end of season 13 of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson is driving an Aston Martin Vantage through the countryside set to Brian Eno’s “An Ending.” It’s at least the third time we see it. Jeremy ends the package by saying “I just can’t help thinking that thanks to all sorts of things, the environment, the economy, problems in the Middle East, the relentless war on speed, cars like this will soon be consigned to the history books. I just have this horrible, dreadful feeling that what I’m driving here, is an ending.” 

Dad makes the exact same sad, agreeing noise he made the previous two times he saw it as if it was the first time he saw it because to him it probably was. He forgets. Yet another maddening trait. It drives me nuts, but I say nothing because the last time when I noted that he had seen it before when he made that exact sound, I felt like I probably made him feel stupid. But also, since when does he care about stuff like this? He’s part of the war on speed, he buys ethanol cars, and if it wasn’t so ugly, he’d get a f*****g Prius.

The first time I let drops of beer slide out of the side of my mouth and down my neck, making my skin sticky, but not bothering to stop the drops from getting soaked up by my T-shirt, was with my dad in a mountain cabin. This was also the first time he told me a detail that he had previously left out of one of the stories he had told me of the landlady he had had in his early 20s. She would just walk into his apartment without knocking and once walked in on my dad sitting naked on the toilet. What he didn’t tell me until this moment was that after that little incident, he wrote “Old c**t” in the dust on the TV screen. It took 19 years and some Jägermeister for him to tell me that.

I was watching this girl on YouTube talking about how looks don’t matter, and that you can do anything you want, no matter what you look like. It was basically a nine-minute cheesy pep talk for fat girls. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on the side of the fat girls. I’m a bit chubby and my teeth make me look like a vampire who drinks too much coffee and doesn’t brush his teeth, which could help me pull some Twilight girls, but the rest of me isn’t exactly Robert Pattinson. This YouTube girl was being very inspiring, but I just sat there thinking You’re so wrong. And I was also thinking Why the f**k am I watching this, this is for fat girls. 

Of course, looks f*****g matter, you say not to judge a book by its cover, but that’s precisely what all of us do, all of the time, because we’re horrible, horrible people. If you’re good-looking, you can get a guy or a girl who’s much better than you, if you’re stupid but good-looking, you basically don’t have to work at all. That’s why model agencies wait outside anorexia clinics to chase down their next cover girl because we’re all horrible, horrible people. 

If you’re famous and somewhat good-looking, you’ll be photoshopped, they’ll physically move your bones until you are good enough, why? Because we’re horrible, horrible people. If you’re good-looking but a bit dim, then guys might not get into a relationship with you, but they will definitely bang you, at least forever and ever. If you’re stupid but good-looking, you can get a great job just because the boss is a horny m**********r who thinks about you when he masturbates.

He won’t necessarily rape you, but he will think about you when he masturbates. If he pictures you liking it, he’s delusional, he might picture himself raping you, but that just means he’s a bit fucked in the head. And pragmatic, because it’s not like you’re gonna have sex with him any other way. So yeah, looks matter if you’re shallow, which all of us are, which means we’re all fucked. The fairly large girl was talking about an online community that had helped her love herself and the first thought I had was Yeah, I bet that took a while. Because I’m a horrible, horrible person. Just like you.

One day in the summer of 2013, I went into the city to buy some clothes and to see if I could find any of those skinnier jeans with stretch in them that I could force my massive legs into. The mainstream chains don’t usually carry my size, but I’m just on the edge of the scale, almost tipping over to the size that’s not economically reasonable to manufacture because “normal people” aren’t that large. 

I’m not that big really, people don’t turn their heads when I walk down the street. Or maybe they do, just discreetly. But I’m large enough for the clothing lines to see that guys my size rarely walks into their stores which makes it unreasonable to make any clothes my size because they won’t make a profit on them. I made my way to the most clichéd place, Drottninggatan, the Queen street, which is always full of tourists in the summertime. I labored under the conviction If you find something that actually somewhat, nearly, fits, grab it and run you fat b*****d, which resulted in three pairs of jeans, two button-down shirts, and a t-shirt. 

At H&M it was packed with prepubescent teenagers spending their parents’ money and poor left-wing students who for the fifteenth time this year chose to ignore the fact that every thong they bought had probably resulted in a four-year-old’s death in Bangladesh, for which they hated all the big clothing companies categorically, but shopped there anyway because it’s so god damn cheap that it’s hard not to. 

I was one of the poor students but didn’t hate the clothing companies as much. I knew what they were doing and how they were doing it, but it’s so cheap and I really needed some new pants, no matter how many kids died because of it. Okay, that sounds horrible, let me rephrase that. They’re gonna make a huge profit whether I shop there or not so what does it matter? Okay, no, that’s like saying why is it wrong to murder people, they’re gonna die at some point anyway. I seem to have painted myself into a corner. 

So, let’s just step on the paint and say that I’m a horrible, horrible person. That, surprisingly, is a solution. I think I’m gonna use it more often. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway, on my way home, I sat on the train, and Peter, one of the dyslectic kids from elementary school, got on at Domsdal, obviously on his way home from school. 

He was basically my version of Rocky’s cold-storage-upside-down-pig-boxing-sack during those early elementary school years. Nothing too horrible, I didn’t go after him, I never did that with anyone, they came to me, and with Peter, it was more like get-out-of-my-way-you-retarded-slutfuck-pushing. That sort of thing. 

We probably almost seemed like friends, we played Legend of Zelda �" The Wind Waker, Super Smash Brothers, and ping pong in the basement at his house, but there were always other guys there. I can’t remember a single conversation we had, just me yelling at him to use his brain when we were forced to sit next to each other in class, and he asked me what one times two was. It was excruciating. Since I was clever, I often helped the other kids in class with their work, mostly in math class, but when their questions were too stupid, I just lost my s**t. I wouldn’t have made a great teacher. The train was quite full so he leaned against the wall by the doors. I think he saw me but ignored me, which was the right call. 

We had seen each other before since I left my class at the end of middle school, we both knew the drill, you don’t acknowledge each other’s existence, it’s just easier that way. He didn’t look at me, but luckily, I was wearing sunglasses so that I could look his way without giving myself away. But what caused me to look up from my phone wasn’t Peter, but the girl he had with him. 

Yes, Peter, the dyslectic little snotbag, had got himself a girlfriend at an age where romantic relationships were legitimate, i.e. not elementary school, before me. Fan-f*****g-tastic. She had red hair and she was wearing a black hoodie, leaning against the glass wall by the doors facing the rest of the carriage, her back towards me so I couldn’t see if she was hot or not, which, when it comes down to it, is a what really matters when little snotbags from your elementary school class gets laid before you do. 

Sure, I didn’t know that they were having sex, he didn’t pick her up and hump her against the glass, but at this age, what was the point of having a girlfriend or a boyfriend if you weren’t letting your hormones fly as you fucked each other’s brains out. Emotional closeness? Someone to talk to and share your feelings and problems with? Give me a break, that’s bullshit. A late teenage relationship without awkward, bad sex is pointless. 

It seemed like he was way more excited to be with her than she was to be with him. He was the one bending down to give her a peck on the lips every other minute, she took it, but didn’t come to him. He didn’t seem to mind, he was probably just happy to have someone who let him do that. He had been with Jodie in like fourth grade or something, and they had gotten to a stage where at least Jodie had gotten something for Peter for Valentine’s Day. 

But I don’t think they knew what they were doing, they just did it because they were supposed to do something like that. When the train pulled in to Nybacka Kyrkby, (Nybacka church village, they had a church and at some point, the place had been a village, not a suburb, it made sense. Sort of.) they made their way to jump off the train and the girl turned around so that I could see her face in profile. It was a draw. 

She wasn’t extremely hot or pretty, but she wasn’t ugly either. She was wearing a black V-neck t-shirt, which was good because let’s be honest here, it would’ve been worse if she had had a tank top on with a pair of starable tits out. That would not have been good. In any case, it was clear that she was gonna break up with him and not the other way around. But then again, what the hell do I know, maybe they’re still together? Oh, who am I kidding, of course, I’m right, she will definitely have ended it by now unless she’s got humongous daddy issues and her dad just happened to be slow and generally confused by everything.

© 2021 Oscar Blomqvist

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Added on March 2, 2021
Last Updated on March 2, 2021
Tags: humor, comedy, self improvement, self love, self hate, life story, coming of age, growing up, young adult, new adult


Oscar Blomqvist
Oscar Blomqvist

Charlottesville, VA

I wrote a story. I think it's actually rather good, or at least okay. I thought I would post it here. Let me know what you think - [email protected] more..


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