#TBT: Four Confessions of a Former "Savage"
I HONESTLY DETEST THE WORD SAVAGE NOW.
IF I HAD TO SUM UP ALL OF THE PARTS OF ME IN NEED OF RE-EVALUATION, THEY COULD ALL FALL UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF SAVAGERY, AT LEAST IN THE WAYS THE TERM IS USED IN MAINSTREAM MEDIA TODAY.
HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT I MEAN WHEN I SAY I WAS A SO-CALLED SAVAGE:
I wasn't taking anyone seriously romantically: i knew anything i was engaging in was temporary
(because in reality, I wasn't taking myself seriously; I had such a low opinion of myself that I purposely engaged in relationships that could not be sustainable because I knew I wasn't nearly living up to my potential)
I would purposely talk to people who i knew would hurt me because I wanted so badly to believe i was invincible
(instead of paying attention to the plethora of red flags, listening to my heart and accepting that I'm a very sensitive person, I would try (and fail) over and over again to be the "tough" girl who could handle the guy who was rough around the edges, who was too broken to give me the love that I clearly needed to be giving myself)
when they inevitably hurt me, I would do anything and everything in my power to ensure they had no clue
(even when this level of emotional suppression guaranteed that I was hurting myself even more than they ever could; I lost count of the times when I would put a brave face on, even if I had wiped my tears just seconds before)
I would talk to several people at once because i was scared of getting played first
(going completely against my extremely loyal nature and ignoring my obvious need for 110% commitment and monogamy, I allowed myself to stay engaged in "situationships" that lacked commitment. my way of "coping" with my fear of getting played and the overall lack of security I felt was to have a few options available at all times)
in conflict, I would rather jump off a bridge than break the silence or show them i cared
(this one might be the most unlike me. I hate conflict. somehow, being a "savage" required that I stay silent, even when I was stressing and crying every day about this lack of resolution)
as you can see, being a "savage" meant that I was being everything I'm not; my savage days required a version of myself that could not be more far removed from who I truly am. in getting over the toxicity from my past, it took an extra few months to also get over the person I turned into in the process.
I think this is the case for anyone who claims they're a savage. it's just not human nature to be so careless, impulsive and self-destructive. I see this inconsistency in so many people around me: this pressure to feign a colder, crueler, less compassionate version of who we truly are. this urgency to Harden our hearts. to close them off.
the irony is that we believe we are protecting them, when we are really cutting off their blood supply.
I'm not here to suggest that we should all go back and edit our "didn't they tell you that I was a savage?" ig captions (no shade to RiRi), but I'm just here to offer another perspective around what it might mean when some of us identify this way.
AS A FORMER SAVAGE, THESE ARE MY CONFESSIONS:
1- MY MOST savage moments were [not coincidentally] my most fearful ones
you know how cats hiss and arch their backs when they feel threatened or cornered? that's legit how I was feeling inside any time I was in savage-mode [read: survival-mode]. when we're in survival mode, we're really not thinking very consciously about our decisions. we're experiencing fight or flight responses to moments that incite a lot of fear in us, and so we end up hurting others, and honestly, we end up hurting ourselves in the long run, even if we thought our savagery was protecting us. what's so cool about that? why do we glorify behaviors that are so deeply rooted in fear and insecurity? why do we deny ourselves our humanity by settling for such animalistic tendencies? when I look back on the moments when others called me a savage, I knew deep inside that I was really just a fearful girl in full self-preservation mode. taking pride in my savage-like behavior denied me so many opportunities to actually sit with the pain and the fear and truly get to the root of it. when we're so stuck on fitting this "savage" persona, we don't take a step back and reflect on why we feel so afraid to begin with. there is honestly no power in that at all; my days as a savage were certainly my weakest ones.
2- pride and ego are one in the same, and pride is not synonymous with dignity
🗣 I am so happy I finally figured this one out! I have been grappling with this whole "pride" thing for my entire life. I come from a family of extremely prideful and dignified people, so this trait Is practically hereditary for me. as I got older, I realized that pride and ego (and fear) are actually the same thing, and I decided I no longer wanted to operate from a place of fear. as I mentioned above, regularly operating out of fear (and ego and pride) means we feel less powerful, and this is not a sustainable way to live. instead, I decided that I deeply value operating out of self respect and dignity - much more powerful modes of operation - but unfortunately, there is an insanely fine line between acting out of pride and acting out of dignity (at least from where I'm standing). it is still hard for me to navigate this, but what I will say is that all of my above savage moments were 110% stemming from pride/ego/fear. this obviously builds off of #1. looking back on my past behavior, there was nothing dignified about the ways I was acting. while my pride may have protected me from pain inflicted upon me by others, this lack of dignity and maturity ensured I was experiencing excruciating levels of self-inflicted pain. I'm willing to bet that your savagery is doing the same to you.
3- I was experiencing a lot of toxicity because I was attracting what/who I was
we all attract who and what we are. it's true. so I'm sure we can all put two and two together. if we are savages, just who and what do we expect to attract? if we are acting out of a place of pride and ego, how do we expect others to behave in our presence? if we have trust issues, do we really expect others to trust us? personally, I was experiencing the most toxicity during my years spent trying to be a savage, and that is certainly no coincidence. all of the people around me - from my friends to the guys I would get to know - were constant reinforcers of these self-destructive behaviors. the worst part is that we don't realize we are the ones who are attracting this negativity into our lives. what's worse is that we believe our savagery is necessary to help us navigate our toxic circles. we don't stop and ask why our circles are so toxic. we don't take a step back and recognize that broken people attract other broken people, that we are all working to perpetuate and justify one another in our self-destruction. if we only knew this, we would realize that, in order to change our lived experiences, we needed to first mend our hearts.
4- hurt people hurt people
this might be the most painful confession yet. hurt people hurt people. this builds off #3 because broken people attract and perpetuate more brokenness. so naturally, what happens is that two broken people get together. and regardless how pure we think our intentions are, broken people simply cannot participate in healthy relationships. period. when two broken people enter into a relationship, wholeness becomes literally impossible while those people are continuing to engage with one another. wholeness is not something we can depend on someone else for. so what happens is that both parties are simultaneously starving for something that the other person could not possibly give them. this mismatch leads to so much hurt and judgment, as we begin to take things personally and blame the other person for not being able to give us something (self-love, security, trust, peace of mind, etc.) that, in reality, we could only ever give to ourselves. so we become savages. hurting one another because we feel like we are at war. we are so bent on protecting ourselves, that we fail to empathize with the other person properly. surely, if we weren't in savage [read: survival] mode, we would be able to see this person for who they really are: broken wings, broken heart, broken soul and all.
a month or so ago, I was hanging out with a friend who saw that I had someone saved under "don't answer #4" in my phone. my friend immediately cracked up and said "you've always been such a savage, meme."
I was honestly so embarrassed and frustrated with the misunderstanding that I created in pretending to be someone I wasn't for so long.
especially because, a year ago, I probably would have taken his comment as a compliment. I explained to him that I'm not at all proud of those days, because they were so riddled in insecurity, fear and lack of self worth. I told him that, admittedly, in college, I took pride in this reputation, when in reality, I just needed to give myself all the things I was looking for in these meaningless interactions, because none of these men saw me for who I could be or wanted me for the right reasons (I was attracting who I was, after all).
my heart extends to anyone who feels as broken as I did. I empathize with anyone who believes that their validation and worth comes from the number of people who lust for them, whose opinions of self are so underdeveloped that they would settle on such cheap forms of desirability.
YOU ARE SO MUCH STRONGER THAN BEING IN SAVAGE [READ: SURVIVAL] MODE, AND YOU ARE WORTHY OF A LIFE THAT ENCOURAGES YOUR HEART TO STAY SOFT.