The Morning Debrief #2 – On Having a Huge Ego

‘Like see to be honest guys I think we are like reaaaaally good looking… like I think we’re the best looking people in the room… in any room’

It’s the early morning of a morning after in Dublin. The room’s our (exceptionally overpriced) AirBnB kitchen. Yesterday was spent in the Museum of Literature. I bought a James Joyce tote bag. Yoga God bought a second-hand fur hat. We lost Ginger Cat because she was too busy attributing our likeness to a painting of a tarot deck in the National Gallery. The Hob Culprit kissed a boy with long hair and a moustache in a questionably quiet pub. We’re at peak annoyance.

‘We’re also like really clever,’ I chime in.

It’s Big Ego Daddy breakfast. But the swollen head will have evaporated by lunch.

By the pre-dinner-pre-pres-get-ready-asap-hurry-the-fuck-up-in-the-bathroom session it’s back to: ‘Do you think this looks right?’. ‘I am a grotesque hideous monster and no one will ever love me’. ‘Do you think this sounds annoying’. ‘Do you think this is actually good?’ ‘Oh God I think I’ve developed stupidity’.

It’s a relentless cycle.

And an even more interesting affliction, this obsession with ego. Ginger Cat recently wrote a poem about holding hands with her ego down the street. I, (though Ginger Cat would claim I ripped her off) (I didn’t) (I swear), have always been concerned with my own fragile ego.

I’ve always found myself drawn to people who like art/ make art/ look like art (I’m so kind). Which is testament to the 2 poets, 1 prose actor and one very pink-haired-Psychology-Student- -turned-professional-crochet-artist I’ve ended up at this table with. They would all, in their own way, protest my attributing titles such as ‘The Poet’ to them. Even though that’s what they are. But I get it. It makes me innately uncomfortable too.

If you know me in any capacity, or perhaps if you’ve passed me in the street (I like to walk about with my “Zadie Smith is GOD” t-shirt on University Avenue) (absolutely 0 irony), then you will know that I will take absolutely every opportunity to bring up my literary idol, one miss Zadie Smith. Anyway, my best friend Zadie, who it often feels is sitting at the table with us (she’s here in Dublin) (I am relentless), wrote an essay that I read on the plane on how you have to be some form of a narcissist to be a writer, to partake in the act of writing, to have had a childhood disposition to write. And I agree. With writing comes self-promotion and with self-promotion comes a certain uncomfortable feeling in the stomach which, we all agree, is not unlike this hangover. A certain self-assuredness that what you’re writing should be written and, in turn, should be read. You can imagine how meta writing this column feels then (safe to say I won’t read it back) (too much self-ick).

When I find the inner strength to stop harping on about Zadie Smith (unusual), a parallel ego discourse we have been enjoying engaging with is ‘What the Boy Versions of Ourselves Would be Like’. We generally agree we would be much MUCH more annoying. Why? Because we might have the Big Daddy Ego of the Big Ego’d Artistic man. For illustrative purposes, this is the very specific breed of artistic person, whose rather protruding ego leers over you in a seminar, talking over everyone, including his distinguished professor, about his own works’ parallel to Shakespeare. It’s delusional but at least he’s talking.

Like a big narcissistic literary version of One Direction, our Big Ego’d male counterparts include; Yoga God, who would have a moustache and plague you about his holistic lifestyle and homemade granola. Ginger Cat would force you to listen to his obscure interests for way longer than you would have liked. Hob Culprit would be the singer songwriter type who’d tell you that you’ve definitely never ever heard of this obscure artist before (and it would be Bob Dylan). Crochet Artist would cook you meals and then ghost. I fear I’d be Matty Healy on steroids. That fundamental part that stops us having the ability to say here I am! Look at me! This is good! I am talented! Is gained with a dose of the Big Ego Artistic man. The table ‘At their Very Best’.

But to not be a Big Ego’d Man in art is to be clinically insecure(?) Which isn’t always a bad thing. It’s certainly stopped us from creating a new dimension of hell. It’s a fragile pendulum of being the hottest person in a pub in Dublin and simultaneously harbouring the kind of self-loathing that makes us archive poems on an Instagram account that we literally made for fun. It’s particularly insanity-inducing as of late, when Yoga God and I have to spend every day inside our own consciousness, exercising our writing ability to create a poetry collection for our dissertations that deal with our own egos. If I have to promote anymore writing, I’ll be sick. The ego’s teetering off the edge of the table.

You see, the irony of my James Joyce tote bag purchase is that I would definitely 100 percent have many qualms with James Joyce if I met him in a bar. However, I’d probably secretly harbour a huge crush on him and a not-so-secret jealousy of his ability to have such an unabashed ego. James Joyce wouldn’t feel physically repulsed at the idea that other people think that he thinks he’s good at what he does.

So, we agree it’s time to start acting a bit more like the male versions of ourselves who don’t have this fundamental qualm with needing to apologise for being secure in themselves.  As my good ol’ friend Zadie says, ‘Everyone deserves clean water but not everyone deserves praise all the time’. Our Big Ego Daddy Male versions disagree. Praise is water. Good for them?

Leah Sinforiani

(The Morning Debrief is a monthly lifestyle column by Leah Sinforiani, exclusive to the Stay tuned for more installments!)


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