About Me — Austin C. Harvey
When I was fourteen, I watched Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for the first time. It had everything I wanted: action, romance, comedy, a main character that was a dorky, awkward guy just like me. It’s my favorite movie, and it took me almost a decade to realize that Scott was an asshole.
I’m bringing this up because it was during a rewatch of Scott Pilgrim that I had a realization: I was an asshole.
I don’t mean that I was a bad person, or a mean person, or a malicious person, but simply that I was an asshole. I was a miserable, sad person obsessed with his own self-pity, refusing ever to make meaningful changes in his life because it was a lot easier to work a job he hated and get drunk after.
It was easier to tell myself every day that I was a failure, a loser, a person who would never amount to anything — because believing this means you don’t have to try at anything.
But living that way sucks. Feeling miserable all the time sucks. Hating yourself sucks. It’s a feeling that roots itself in your stomach like a tapeworm, slowly devouring you from the inside out until you wither into nothing.
I was withering when a friend made me go to a bouldering gym with him:
How to Stop Being an Asshole
First, you’ve got to admit that you are an asshole. You’ve got to wake up one day, hungover probably, and look at yourself in the mirror and say, “God, I’m an asshole.”
Then you stop being one.
It’s that easy. All those asshole-ish things you’re doing — drinking every night, weaponizing your depression, complaining about your situation without taking the steps to change it? Stop doing them.
This isn’t a self-help article, by the way. It’s just pretending I’m talking to someone else. In a way, I guess I am, it’s just that “someone else” is a past version of me. Imagine we’re having a conversation across time.
Me: I’m unlovable.
Me: No, you’re not. But since you think you are, you’re probably not going to find love.
Me: I don’t deserve happiness.
Me: Yes, you do. But you have to work towards something, anything.
Me: I’m a depressed, anxious, unmotivated, unfocused loser doing nothing with his life. I’ll never be great at anything I do. I’m incapable of learning new skills because I can’t focus. I hate my job, and I’m broke. Who would want to be around me?
Me: You are depressed and anxious. You also have ADHD, but you don’t know that yet. But if you take care of yourself, you’ll get better. A little bit, every day. And then you’ll realize you’re not so bad. But right now, you’re being an asshole.
And then I realized I was letting my mental health define me rather than accepting it for what it really was: a part of the greater whole that is me.
Who I am in April 2021
My name is Austin Harvey. I’m a bartender, musician, writer, rock climber, nerd, and overthinker. I’m a work in progress. I’m trying my best.
Right now, I’m drinking a glass of cabernet and eating a hash brown, doing laundry at my mom’s house because the company that owns the apartment complex I live in hasn’t fixed my washer and dryer. I’m reading Lord of the Rings for the first time, even though I’ve loved the films since I was a little kid. I wear the same brand of t-shirt every day because little decisions make my life more difficult. I really like The National.
I’m twenty-four years old, and I have no idea what I’m doing.
I’m ghostwriting a novel and editing for Invisible Illness, which I guess means I’m a writer and editor. I released a song on Spotify, so I guess that makes me a musician. I go to a rock climbing gym three days a week, so I guess I’m a rock climber. I serve drinks a few days a week, so I guess I’m a bartender.
I don’t know what I’ll be a year from now.
What I know is that over the past few years, I’ve been a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but I never knew what I was to myself. I never knew how to be happy or even where to begin. But for the first time in my life, right now, I can say, “I’m happy.”
Maybe this is a weird approach to an “about me” piece because it doesn’t really tell you much about who I am, but rather who I’m not anymore. I guess I’m still figuring it out.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. I hope you have a wonderful day.
If you like my writing, consider checking out my other projects. Here are my favorite pieces I’ve written:
I’m in a Toxic Relationship With the Restaurant Industry. Help.
I once had a woman ask me, as if these were the only two possible options:“So what’s your deal? Are you still in…
My Father’s Death Taught Me What “Family” Means
How do you love someone you never knew?