The Asshole Years

Chrissy Teigen told a story on Twitter this weekend about how she lost it and got angry at a video shoot of her husband’s (John Legend) when she was in her early 20s. It’s a very real story and I love that she shares so many of her vulnerable truths, but the part that hit me was when she was wrapping it up and she said, “I was just a jealous, angry 22 year old. I’m better now.”

Spending so much time in Knoxville lately has me flashing back to so many times from my asshole years. I really feel like from age 14 to about at 24, I was about every variation of asshole you can imagine. I was the, “Ditch her friends for a stupid boy” Asshole. (Honestly. I was that version of Asshole a LOT. Like…with every single boyfriend.) I was the, “Make out with a friend’s significant other” Asshole. I was a “Make out with significant other’s friend” Asshole. I was “Ghost a boyfriend” Asshole. I was the “I made new friends so I’m ditching the old friends” Asshole. I was the “Dressing weird and smoking cigarettes now so I’m too cool for you” Asshole.

I WAS ALL OF THE ASSHOLES.

And keep in mind, I became a Mom in the middle of the Asshole Decade and I was STILL AN ASSHOLE which means that I was just…THE WORST.

I say all of this with deep love and affection for the Kim of those years. She had some mental health issues she was struggling with that she did not know how to articulate so she was coping the best way she knew. She also had a deep and desperate desire to BE BETTER. That is why that decade also overlaps the, “Kim Tries All The Religions” years. I went to my first “different” church when I was 16 and tried about 10 different religions over the course of the Asshole years. I joined everything from a Church of Christ to a Buddhist Sangha. At one point I even answered an alter call at a Southern Baptist Revival. I was probably 21? 22? I was still married to my first husband and really just self-destructing in 100 different ways and the preacher at the Revival offered me salvation and I was wallowing in such deep self-hatred that I answered the call. 3 days later I was being dunked in front of one of those giant Southern Baptist congregations. I was waiting for everything inside of me to change. It did not.

It took another 2-3 years for me to really hit rock bottom when all of my demons came back to haunt me and everyone saw me for the fraud that I was and I was very alone and had to start piecing myself together in a different way. I made new friends as a much more vulnerable and honest version of myself. I basically kept the closet door with all of the skeletons open so that everyone who befriended me knew they were there instead of hiding the Kim of the Asshole Years. And I learned a valuable lesson: PEOPLE CAN LOVE ASSHOLES.

But man, I left a giant trail of detritus from ruined relationships along the way from age 14 to age 24. And being in Knoxville reminds me a lot of the first few years of that terrible asshole decade. Sometimes I say a silent prayer that my kids don’t go through what I went through. The years where you feel kinda shitty about yourself so you shit on everyone around you. I look at Crissy Teigen’s tweet and imagine mine from those years would say, “I was just an insecure, self-loathing [insert age here] year old. I’m better now.” And I really want my kids to skip over the bad years.

But I guess the truth is, I might not be the person I love today without those years. So if they suffer through them, I hope they come out the other side loving who they are and using their mistakes as a way to be vulnerable to create better relationships in the future.

And to anyone from the Asshole Decade who still talks to me? Thank you for letting me move past that and eventually show you the friendship and love you deserved.

One Comment

  • Alex

    I relate so hard to this. I, too, have many Asshole years from days of yore, and I cringe sometimes (ok, all the time) when I think back to what a jerk I was, to so many people, in so many different ways, for so many different reasons. And I, too, am better now.