Tag Archives: self-loathing

I Could Never Love Anyone More Than I Hate Myself

"I Could Never Love Anyone More Than i Hate Myself ." 4/30/15. Acrylic paint. 36x36".
“I Could Never Love Anyone More Than i Hate Myself .” 4/30/15. Acrylic paint. 36×36″.

For as much as I talk and write about Wallis, I’ve never really shared the full story of how we first came together. I’ll save the cute elements of the story for later and just give you the important part that hasn’t seemed relevant until now.

When I met Wallis, she was actively addicted to heroin. She was trying to not be on heroin but (like most addicts) she was finding that to be a little tougher than she could handle. We hit it off really quickly but I told her on our very first night together that I couldn’t be around that sort of thing. I told her that if she wanted to continue spending time with me, she couldn’t be using drugs. (I’m way too fucking fragile to not relapse if a pretty girl has a needle and a bag of dope to share with me). She told me she didn’t wanna use. I invited her to go with me on a road trip for a week – up to Illinois and back. In the course of that trip, we fell in love. Which was a problem because it meant we needed to figure out what we were gonna do to keep her from going back to heroin once we got back to Jacksonville. We decided that she’d need to quit the strip club and get another job (nobody can stay off drugs in that environment – no addict anyway). I told her I’d cover her ’til she got a new job and then – when it was time for me to leave Jacksonville – she’d quit her new job and come with me. Sound familiar? I did for Wallis the same thing I had done for my best friend, Chris, a year prior. I brought her out on the road with me to keep her off drugs. To show her another kind of life. Like Chris had done, in exchange for “all expenses paid” she’d just help me with my set-up, selling art, whatever. (And like Chris, it pretty much worked. She never used once; not while traveling with me anyway).

When we left Jacksonville, it was for Minneapolis, where I was to be featured in a gallery exhibit. Halfway through the exhibition’s run, we returned to Jacksonville for a week, so I could bank at One Spark. On the drive down, Wallis started talking about going to see old friends – friends that she had, historically, used drugs with. I told her that this was a terrible idea. She argued that I needed to have faith in her. I responded that I’d heard that same exact sentence and had this same exact conversation many, many times in the past (with another girl) and that I knew perfectly well how this was gonna end. I told her that if she wasn’t willing to forego the reunion (and the inevitable relapse that’d come with it) that I couldn’t be her boyfriend anymore. One Spark was going to be an incredibly important week for me financially and I didn’t wanna fuck it up by spending the whole time worried about whether Wallis was safe. She said okay (as in okay, then you don’t need to be my boyfriend anymore). There was no hostility or drama beyond that but when we got to Jacksonville, we went our separate ways. Wallis relapsed that very first night (thought she wouldn’t tell me until later), but called me the next morning and spent the rest of the week by my side like a lost puppy. On the night before I was to return to Minneapolis, she broke down crying, told me she had fucked up, and that she still wanted to be with me.

And I took her back.

I first had the thought years and years ago, upon hearing Rivethead’s “In My Heart a Warehouse Burns For You.” The last lyric in the song is “I love you just as much as I hate the man.” I’m not exactly the biggest fan of cops or authority figures of any kind but when I’m really fired up and full of hate, there’s only one target it’s ever directed at: me. I still listen to that record (The Cheap Wine of Youth) all the time so the idea of captioning a painting with “I love you just as much as I hate myself” had occurred to me on a couple occasions but I didn’t wanna be derivative. Then, when I bought Pretty Boy Thorson’s An Uneasy Peace (the final song of which is called “I Love You Even More Than I Hate Myself”) I had a bit of a god dammit moment. That should’ve been mine! The song’s awesome and it doesn’t matter that the lyric is similar to another. I started thinking about it though – that line – and whether or not it was actually true (for me). I was dating Wallis and I absolutely loved her but did I love her more than I hated myself? I wasn’t really sure. I decided that sometimes I’m afraid that I could never love anyone more than I hate myself. After all, we had weathered the storm of her relapse but I was sabotaging our relationship bit by bit with my low self-esteem. I wrote about some of that anxiety in the bottom-right corner of the painting:

It’s so much harder to travel with a second person. Staying with friends feels like a much bigger imposition and I can’t stay with girls I meet. That’s probably the hardest part. But I love Wallis. (And I really like fucking her). And I think she needs me. I tried to leave her in Jacksonville but it didn’t work out. I hope she’s with me because she really loves me and not just ‘cause she’s scared to go back to “real life.” It if doesn’t work out, it’s probably gonna be because I can’t stop thinking about fucking other girls, which I know hurts her (and is really so selfish and dumb - and even mean - on my part) but really has nothing to do with her. (She’s so fucking hot and sexy and cute and beautiful). It’s just my insecurity and my compulsion to fuck every pretty girl, to prove to the world (and myself) just how fucking wonderful and desirable I am. It’s not helping that girls are throwing themselves at me these days. But I know (or think) that shit won’t make me happy. And in the end, I’m just gonna want someone to love me and I love Wallis.

There’s another, shorter string of text higher up in the painting, similarly inspired by punk rock: “I was listening to that Gateway District song where they sing, ‘I’m always falling way behind and you go on and on and on.’ If only I knew someone like that. Maybe I’d have someone to look to. Everybody I know is struggling. Everyone I know is as hopeless as I am. (Or worse).”

There’s a brighter, happier pair of sentences in the top-left corner – the product of a moment when everything was right in the world. Amazing sex with Wallis and I’m driving to the gallery showcasing my art while listening to “Another Way Out of Here” by The Murderburgers. The thought occurred to me that “nothing in this world makes me happier than an energetic, upbeat song about suicide.” I gave it a second thought. Is that true?  I concluded, “Except (maybe) hitting girls in the face during sex.” I smiled. That’s pretty funny. I’m pretty fucked up. The things that I enjoy are – well – a little odd. This was all well and good at the time. I posted a close-up of that part of the painting online and it was met with positive feedback and just a little bit of “Oh, Sam…” But before I even got the chance to write the statement for this painting (as I am now), that photograph – that caption – would make the rounds on the internet elsewhere and garner a very different kind of response. You see, when I wrote that, it was about sex with Wallis. Sex which includes light consensual fake-violence (or whatever the fuck you wanna call it). Wallis likes getting slapped in the face during sex. And I like doing it. Win-win, right? Well, yeah – until you get accused of a violent rape and the media picks up on the story and uses your art to support the idea that you’re the kind of person capable of violently raping a nineteen year-old girl you just met. Sitting in jail, I wondered how I was going to break the news to my friends and fans that I had been accused of this horrible fucking crime. I bailed out, Chris Spillane picked me up, and after ten minutes of discussion he tells me, “There’s one more thing we’ve gotta talk about, Sam. The publicity on this story is not good right now.” Publicity? This story? “What the fuck are you talking about?” I googled my name and discovered that I didn’t need to worry about breaking this news to anyone. Some reporter knew or figured out who I was, wrote an article about me complete with images of my art (like the “hitting girls in the face” one) and everyone else picked it up and ran with it. Suddenly, strangers on the internet were talking about how I was the kind of person who PUNCHES girls in the face. I was a scumbag and I was definitely guilty. What the fuck? I’ve never punched a girl in the face! I slap! Playfully! And only with girls that WANT me to! But none of that mattered. What mattered was that it was incredibly easy to paint me as some kind of violent sexual deviant who had finally gone off the rails and just started violently raping people. Freedom of expression has its fucking consequences apparently. The charges against me have since been dismissed by a judge who (after hearing all of the prosecution’s evidence and the girl’s testimony) ruled that there was no probable cause to believe that any crime had been committed but the evidence in the case isn’t all public yet and I’m still having to deal with (well-meaning) assholes who think I deserve to be castrated for something I never did. At the time of this writing, this is all still incredibly recent so I’m still working out exactly how a person does deal with something like that. (I’ll let you know when I figure it out).

Flashback to five months before that nightmare though – back to when I was still working on this painting (that’d later incriminate me in the court of public opinion). I wrote that I was feeling “stuck in a rut. This spot [on the street] isn’t super profitable [for selling prints]. I don’t even wanna write about what else is going on. I don’t want to muddle up this painting that I’m not even happy with. My little sister is killing herself and today I blocked her phone number because I’m tired of her asking for help, not taking my advice, and then texting me updates on her self-destruction that she knows will just upset me. I really need the validation of some sales to cheer me up today. If I make less than $100 today, I’m gonna feel super depressed.” And then – to remind myself what a dipshit I am for worrying about how much I make in one particular day, I added: “I’ve made $7,000 this month.” True as it was, it didn’t really help me feel any better in that moment. I continued writing – about an interaction I had with a guy who stopped to watch me paint: “Someone asked me yesterday if I really hate myself and why. I had a hard time articulating it [the way that I feel sometimes]. He said he thinks I’m not as unhappy as I let on. I’d do a much better job explaining it to him today: I’M UGLY, PALE, OUTTA SHAPE, MEAN, SHITTY, POOR, FEARFUL, AND IN A CONSTANT STATE OF STARVATION FOR VALIDATION.”

Reading that now, remembering that day – it’s kinda scary. Everything in my life was going so well and I still had this monster inside me, gnawing at my insides, telling me that everything was awful. That I was awful. I’m really grateful that I don’t feel that way about myself all the time. Arguably, my life is way more fucked up now (on account of the VIOLENT RAPE ACCUSATION) but – I don’t know – I feel better today. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to fight this awful thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to become stronger. Maybe it’s because enough other people hate me now that I can take a break on the self-loathing. I don’t know. I’m not sure. But after separating in late-June and spending two months mostly apart, Wallis and I are back together full-time. We’re living together in an apartment in Chicago and it’s been really great. And you know what? I love her WAY more than I hate myself. Not just ‘cause I’m not hating myself so much right now but… This girl… After all we’ve been through. After all I’ve done for her and all she’s done for me… Words are insufficient to express my gratitude, affection, and love for her. I’m probably gonna marry her.

And you know what? When it comes to “falling way behind” versus “going on and on and on,” maybe I do a little more of the latter than I allow myself to recognize sometimes. Maybe I do a lot more of it.


“I Love You Even More” by Pretty Boy Thorson & The Falling Angels

“Another Way Out of Here” by The Murderburgers

“Waves and Cars” by The Gateway District

“In My Heart a Warehouse Burns For You” by Rivethead

Unspecified Selection From “The Worst Kinds of People: An Omnibus of Terrible”

"Unspecified Selection From 'The Worst Kinds of People: An Omnibus of Terrible.'" 12/7/12. Oil pastel. 12x17½.
“Unspecified Selection From ‘The Worst Kinds of People: An Omnibus of Terrible.'” 12/7/12. Oil pastel. 12×17½.

Unspecified Selection From "The Worst Kinds of People: An Omnibus of Terrible" #2 [image]There’s not much I can say that I haven’t already, in my statements for the other 12.13.14 pieces and others relating to codependency (like “Girls Are Not Pokemon“). As indicated in the graphic, this is a diagram of Figure 12.13.14 or (in reality) it’s a diagram of how I was feeling one day in December 2012 – like an interchangeable asshole, with a life not worth living.

However, as I mentioned on Thursday,  sometimes there really are fruits of being a contemptuous bag of dicks. In this case, it was my friend David asking me to adapt this drawing for use as a t-shirt for his label, John Wilkes Booth Records. They came out really great and you can pick ’em up in the JWB webstore for a measly $10.

TSt-017: Like Bats s/t cassetteAnd so long as you’re already throwing your money away, allow me to present the first release from Traffic Street in more than two years. Technically, it’s a reissue of the Like Bats EP we put out back in 2009 but this time around it’s on cassette and it includes something we’re choosing to keep secret because… well – there are only 100 copies so they’re going to sell whether we tell you or not and secrets are just more fun.

Buy cassettes here. Buy prints of (either version of) “Unspecified Selection” here.

For wholesale orders: United States / International.

This Might Be Bullshit

"This Might Be Bullshit." 1/11/13. Pen. 8½x11".
“This Might Be Bullshit.” 1/11/13. Pen. 8½x11″.

I was still inpatient when I made this. It was the product of the my first episode after “No Accident.” A full month had passed since then, which was longer than I could remember having gone without an emotional breakdown of one kind or another but I was still pretty disappointed with myself. If December 12th (the day I made “No Accident”) was my “emotional sobriety date,” this was most definitely my emotional relapse. I picked right back up with the kind of negative self-talk that had ruled my brain for most of my life. The body of the text reads:

I thought I found a place where I belonged. I wasn’t wrong. At the time. But time has passed and I don’t fit in here anymore. I can’t stall. I can’t adapt. I have to move on. Ready or not.

I’m already dead.

I don’t measure up. It’s who I am. It’s not sad. It just is. Nothing lasts forever and we can’t all be astronauts.

I’m not exactly sure what I meant with that last word. I’m sure it was an allusion to something I had heard (or something that had happened) recently. The rest of the text in the piece appears in bits and pieces, scattered throughout.

  • Outsider art.
  • It’s time for me to go home. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  • Please break my hands and kick my fucking teeth in.
  • [I’m] tired of me taking up space and time.
  • Fuck my stupid fucking life.
  • No amount of any anything from me could ever be enough.


Tonight was the opening reception for my first art show. My emotional reaction to it was very much in tune with the painting I’m working on right now, so I’ll probably work it into that and share more about it once the painting is done.

In a few words though, the response tonight was such that it could very easily be interpreted as having implications that are either wildly positive and encouraging or terribly crushing and depressing. I’m working to get to a place of strictly gratitude though (and I’m almost there). To the people that did come out, I can’t thank you enough. Not just for showing up, but for really showing up. It means a lot to me. It’s keeping me going.

I Am Impossible

"First Day of My Life (Story)." 11/28/12. Colored pencil. 6x8½".
“I Am Impossible.” 11/28/12. Colored pencil. 6×8½”.

Jesse coined out and went on vacation with friends of her parents. She’ll be back, in two weeks, as an outpatient, and she’ll be living on property again. That makes me really, really happy. I don’t know what I would do if she left for good. She’s the source of all that’s good in my life. She’s what makes my life worth living. You know… since I had met her a couple weeks ago anyway.

We talk every day while she’s gone. I tell her about the note I got from Hal. She has something to tell me but won’t say what. I’ll get it out of her when I have her in person. I don’t think for a second that she’s relapsed. But she has. And that’s not fair.

Jesse got back two days ago and, yesterday, started to really push. She wants to get high. “That’s a terrible idea,” I tell her. But then something MONUMENTAL happens. This morning, she went off-property to go do something other than hang out with me. Naturally, I’m feeling rejected and depressed and  am in a really dark place again [unreasonable as that may be]. As she always does when I get this way, she’s distanced herself, which is – of course – making me feel even more rejected. But I know how I can feel better and win her back.

I call Stacy. She’s at the hospital because her sister is giving birth but – if I can meet her there – she’s got some thirtys on her that she’ll sell me. [Florida. It’s always pills with these kids.] Close enough. I set it up and look for Jesse. When I see her, I creep up with a grin that tells her everything she needs to know: “Go sign out and park your car at the strip mall. Soon as the coast is clear, I’ll sneak off property and meet you. We’ve got an errand to run.”


That was part two of the story I started to tell yesterday.

I’m pretty sure anyone reading this already knows but just in case… A “thirty” is a 30mg oxycodone pill. More commonly known as “blues,” but I’ve always hated that name. It’s too cute. If you had asked me about it back in the day, I’d probably have said something like… “I shoot heroin and – absent that – synthetic heroin. But never blues. There’s nothing colorful or fun about this.”

Really, I think I was just upset that my SUPER COOL DRUG HABIT had been co-opted by half the dorks in Florida and I didn’t wanna use the same terminology as them. I was dangerous; they were cuttin’ loose! … Fuck that.

[Check it out, guys! You can be a douchey elitist when it comes to just about anything!]

The drawing I chose for this entry was drawn on the day that I shared the first half of my life story in group at Tranquil Shores. It was also a day on which I was similarly upset because I felt similarly rejected by a girl that I was similarly in treatment with.

The tombstone behind me reads: “Sickle Cell: November 4, 1985 to Any Day Now.” The original drawing was damaged before I ever got a good picture or scan of it, so this image is the best I can do.



"Evil." 11/1/12. Pen. 8½x11".“Evil.” 11/1/12. Pen. 8½x11″.

I didn’t like Spirituality Group because I didn’t have any spirituality. But it was Thursday afternoon at Tranquil Shores so that’s what was happening. I was especially miserable on this particular day and it got worse as group went on. Toward the end, we were given an assignment: Write a letter of forgiveness (to yourself) and share it with the group. I wouldn’t share but I kind of wrote the letter.

Dear Sam,
You are a total fucking shithead. You gave up on everything a long time ago. Though you sometimes have brief moments of optimism, they’re few, far between, and extremely short-lived. Everything you say is calculated and contrived. You may be the most dishonest asshole to ever walk the earth.
I’d like to forgive you on the grounds that you’re doing the best you can – that you can’t help but be a miserable little prick – but even that’s not true. If you wanted to be a better person, you would be.
And you’re not even nice to look at! How have you not been choked out yet? People can’t stand the fucking sight of you. Even your voice is outrageously obnoxious. Every day that you continue to live is either a slight against God or proof that he doesn’t exist – or at least doesn’t care about anything anymore. Or maybe you’re the new plague for the twenty-first century! Sent down to punish this wretched world gone awry. Only YOU are deluded enough to (even jokingly) attribute that kind of significance to your stupid presence.
All I know is that people, and the planet, would be better off without you around. Please kill yourself now.
Unfortunately, time has shown that you’re too weak to even bust that move. Seeing as you’re too pathetic to even express in words (given the limitations of human languages) I’ll forgive you. It’s a pity thing. It must be hard to be so worthless and rotten. Besides, I’m not one to hold grudges. I just hope that you’re somehow miraculously transformed or that – somewhere out there – there is some kind of hell for you to burn in one day.
Love, Sam

As a kid, I’d always said that I didn’t believe in God. Sometime in my early twenties, my position went even further. I wasn’t willing to identify with atheism because I didn’t want to stake any claim — and because I didn’t want to identify with atheists (who often seemed as righteous and fanatical as the worst evangelicals). And agnosticism was just dopey (or agnostics were anyway). They were to spirituality what undecided voters are to politics. I wasn’t undecided – I didn’t give a shit. I was a non-voter, a total non-participant. If anyone asked if I believed in God, I’d tell them it wasn’t a relevant question – that it meant nothing to me.

In trying to not be a heroin addict anymore it had become necessary to let some of that antipathy slip away. I had taken to talking about God as if I believed.

But this was Spirituality Group and I hated it. I looked at the letter I had just written and I hated that too. It was like I was trying to be clever with my self-loathing. It made me hate myself even more. I flipped over the letter and started scratching an upside-down cross onto the page, around which I wrote I FUCKING HATE GOD for making me this fucking stupid.

This was on November 1, 2012 – before I learned to use art for emotional regulation. If this is art though, then this is the first time I did it (even if by accident). After scratching down the last of my authentic expression [the words I HATE EVERYTHING] I wasn’t done but I didn’t know what to do. “What else do people consider evil?” I thought.

From that point on, each thing I wrote was sillier than the next. I wasn’t miserable anymore, I was actually having fun.

My favorite part / the coup de grace came when I snuck the least evil thing that I could think of onto the page.




I’m in the middle of a silent temper tantrum, by which I mean I’m not talking and have dedicated myself to staying miserable until I exhaust myself. I used to do this almost every day, but they’ve been pretty few and far between since the day that I consider my “emotional sobriety date.” So – of course – I’m angry and now I’m even angrier with myself for this than I am about the stupid incident that sparked this episode.

Here’s the other of my two 9×12″ learning to draw with charcoal sketches from January.

"Pulp." 1/17/13. Charcoal. 9x12".
“Pulp.” 1/17/13. Charcoal. 9×12″.

In February 2012, I was kicked out of my second rehab in as many months. I found myself running around Delray Beach with the girl I had been kicked out with. I’m not going to try and diagnose her state back then but – if I did something that bothered her – she could flip a switch and go from being totally in love with me to telling me what an ugly, worthless, pathetic, despicable piece of shit I was. On one occasion in our first week out on our own, we were staying in some little shitbox motel. (If you’re familiar with Delray, I’m sure you know it). I don’t remember exactly what went wrong, but it had something to do with heroin or getting more heroin. And – in case I didn’t already hate myself enough (I did) – she was really piling on as much hatred and vitriol as she could manage, to ensure that there wasn’t so much as a shred of self-esteem left in me.

I went into the bathroom. I was crying. I looked at myself in the mirror and couldn’t fucking stand the sight. It made me angry that I was the person looking back at me. So I started punching myself in the face. I don’t remember how many times. Enough that, for a good while after, I looked like someone had kicked the shit out of me pretty well.

Which I’ve always been good at. I’ve always been good at beating myself up. But that was the one time when it was most literal.


I’ve had thoughts like these today. I have had these impulses today.

This seems appropriate.

Perfect Love / Exit Bag

"Perfect Love / Exit Bag." 10/31/12. Tempera, colored pencil, oil pastel. 12x18".
“Perfect Love / Exit Bag.” 10/31/12. Tempera, colored pencil, oil pastel. 12×18″.

“Perfect love” (to me) isn’t just unconditional love; it’s bigger than that and it’s greater (or wider) than any kind of romantic love. It’s a total respect for the entirety of another human being. It doesn’t have any room for jealousy or anything like that.

I really like the word “cupidity.” Technically, it’s an excessive desire to possess something (like money or materials things). Given the connotations of “cupid” though, I like to think of it as more of an excessive desire to possess someone. It’s sort of the opposite of perfect love. When I meet a girl, I have a tendency to go from one extreme to the other. One minute, I might be totally enamored or infatuated with her and then – the second I fear that she might not reciprocate (if she’s paying more attention to someone else, for example) – I’ll totally shut off absolutely all feeling and cease to care about her in any way at all. And then – the moment my fear is somehow allayed – a switch flips and I’m one-hundred percent invested in her again.

I’ve never been what you’d call a jealous or possessive boyfriend. I’m not bothered by my girlfriend going out without me, having male friends, or anything like that, but I think that’s because – once she’s “officially” my girlfriend – my cupidity is sated. That’s all the “possession” I need to feel okay, but that’s still a problem. It’s still not okay with me that I (feel like I) need that at all.

Last October, I was in treatment and I liked a girl but I knew it was a bad idea for me to get involved. So I was trying to have a genuine friendship with her. I was trying to practice this concept of “perfect love” that I had in my head. I was trying to be real and authentic and honest, and to value and respect her as an independent human being. It was a totally different dynamic (and experience) than my usual approach of (still trying to be honest but primarily) trying to get her to like me (or want to be my girlfriend or want to sleep with me). I wanted my behavior to reflect perfect love, which meant acting without any expectation, desire, or even hope of receiving anything in return.

On Halloween, she was having a problem and – after coming to me for help – she went to someone else. “What – I’m not enough? My help wasn’t good enough? What’s happening!?”–I thought. I didn’t show any of this outwardly, but the switch flipped and I immediately ceased to have any interest in this girl. My feelings were hurt so I was going to stop caring. …Because I wasn’t the only person that she shared her problem with…

And it’s worse than that even. In these situations, I don’t usually stop caring about the girl alone – more often than not, I also stop caring about myself. Suddenly, I’m a worthless unlovable piece of shit and there’s no reason for me to be alive. (My attempt at perfect love was an abysmal failure).

This all happened just before expressive art therapy group. An “exit bag” is a homemade suicide device. To make one, you need a helium tank, an oven bag, a piece of string, some tape, and a tube. I felt like I wanted to die, but I knew that I didn’t really and I wasn’t ready to talk about my feelings because I probably wasn’t ready to feel better. I needed to punish myself by stewing in misery for a little bit longer. Writing “helium, bag, string, tape, and tube” here was my way of saying “I WANT TO DIE” without having to deal with anyone’s response to a statement like that.

Because so much of what I was experiencing as I made this piece so perfectly exemplifies (/is symptomatic of) borderline personality disorder, I came to see the ghost that I drew here as sort of a stand-in for BPD. He’s in at least five of my pieces (including a tattoo). Once I have more of those online, I’ll probably do a special post just to feature him in all his different forms. (That sounds like fun to me). : )