In my last post Why Immorality Feels Good, I briefly mentioned the idea of ‘immorality as self-reward’.
Now ‘immorality’ is perhaps a slightly inaccurate word to use, so I prefer to use the term ‘vice’ instead. My working definition of this word is basically anything that brings you pleasure, including the safe, benign, socially-acceptable stuff like food, shopping, coffee, sinful desserts or what have you, but I also include in this definition the less-than-socially acceptable stuff. The stuff you would not tell your mother about.
I’ll let your imagination run with that idea for a second.
See, somewhere in my early 20’s and with ever-increasing conviction ever since then, I have started viewing my personal vices as my way of rewarding myself. Feeling good was the reward, so all the whens, wheres and hows of my indulgences essentially became my self-reward mechanism, and my self-support system as well.
See, I’m in a position in life where I have lots of responsibilities despite being single and in my 20s. To me that seems somewhat incongruent; maybe I always had this mental blueprint of my 20s supposedly being my carefree years, but sadly those were not the cards I was dealt.
Luckily for me (and those who benefit from it), I take my responsibilities very seriously. I was raised to take them seriously, and to deliver on them, all of them. I am a self-proclaimed ‘good man’, a ‘responsible man’; its a pretentious thing to say out loud, I know, but at the very least, I have the credentials to back it up.
I do everything a ‘good man’ should be doing.
Problem is, I’ve always known what the fate of ‘good men’ like myself is meant to be. See, a ‘good man’ will keep his face down, work his ass off to keep his world (and the world of everyone under his care) turning efficiently with little or no interruptions. He puts out fires quickly, so quickly that none’s the wiser.
It is what a good man does.
It’s what he does even though he knows he will not receive a proportionate reward, he does it when he is unappreciated, and he does it even if his hand gets bitten repeatedly by the very people he is reaching out to help.
But a good man rarely, if ever, receives the recognition he deserves, not while he’s still in that position. The only time a good man’s impact is truly felt, valued and appreciated, is when he is removed from the equation entirely, and the system that he supports falls to the ground.
Only then will they finally say ad nauseam “Oh, what a good man he was”, but they would be saying it one day too late and six feet too high up for him to hear it himself.
Knowing that this was the fate promised to me, I decided to take a few liberties.
I made a covenant with myself.
I decided that I would fulfil all of my responsibilities as if I was delivering on the promise of God himself; with conviction, with ruthless efficiency and efficacy.
I would also grant myself full permission, I would give myself carte blanche, to indulge in whatever the fuck made me feel good; no matter how decadent, how hedonistic, how deviant, with zero guilt and with full delight, so long as it does not happen at the cost of another human being.
I try my best to keep my responsibilities and my self-rewards proportionate, especially when my life’s responsibilities start feeling overwhelming and start causing me exceptional levels of anxiety. I purposefully seek out more intense
vices self-rewards in those situations.
Indulging in good food at nice restaurants (sometimes more often than I probably should) while in the company of attractive and interesting companions, smoking good cigars, drinking vodka sodas (my preferred beverage); these are some of the more acceptable vices that I make use of. My regular friends just see me as someone ‘living the life’; but only my closest ones know my true motivations.
Only the people in my inner-circle understand that when I take my phone out and craft my next Instagram post, that when I’m out at ‘another one of my dinners’, or when I have my hand wrapped around the neck of someone lost in subspace; all of it is because I am rewarding myself for all the good that I do which almost no one will ever hear about, for the things that I will never be thanked for; they know that I do it all to give myself
what I deserve.
But this way of living does come at a cost, to the wallet of course but mostly to my personal branding. Based on my own observation, I seem to be known for my vices more than anything else; the drinking, the food, the women whose faces I usually keep hidden in my pictures (at first as a way to reduce blowback from overly-protective fathers, jealous boyfriends, and occupiers of the woman’s friendzone; but then it just became a ‘thing’ I do with my pictures).
I know that I will forever be known for my vices and rarely, if ever, for my virtues. I understand this. I have for the most part accepted this.
I mean, what would be the alternative? Live ‘clean’, keep my vices and indulgences a secret just because I let my self be affected by the opinions of others?
Fuck no. This system of ‘vices as self-reward’ was something I built, something I created by myself and just for myself, and as I mentioned in Why Immorality Feels Good, it is a system that I NEED for more reasons than the ones I have mentioned in this post.
As I stand today, I have grown into a man who does not believe in waiting for others to give me what I deserve. Gratitude, no matter how well-deserved, will rarely come from the outside.
I am the only person who is in a position to give myself everything I deserve, and more importantly, every thing my dark little heart desires.
p.s. As part of my 2018 resolutions, I have started documenting my indulgences on my Instagram account at instagram.com/misterrasyad. Join me.