• Ana Del Castillo

If You’re Being Cast As A Villain, Be A Memorable Villain

Photo by Mor ShanionUnsplash

I live in community and this quarantine has brought up a lot of feelings to the surface that clearly needed to be expressed.

Case in point: last night I got into an argument with my roommate and punched walls, took doors off their hinges, and yelled so loud and for so long that I lost my voice. I actually tasted blood from all my screaming. That’s never happened to me before.

Sometimes we are seen as the villain no matter what we do or say. Sometimes who we are brings up people’s inner demons and then we who trigger those inner demons are then seen as the demons themselves.

So last night I got tired of avoiding the role. I said ‘fuck it’ and yelled and cursed and stopped apologizing for being me. In this instance, the “me” I stopped squashing down or apologizing for anymore expressed itself loudly.

Here’s the thing: I’m a woman… a full-bodied and embodied Latina woman… I speak up; I laugh loudly; I curse; I love to fuck; I look people in the eye; I’m confident; I’m smart and smart aleck-y; I challenge people’s opinions and ideas; I break rules. Simply put, I am one of those “too much women”. But that’s not the issue here. I am not the issue…

I live with people who “support and love the feminine.” Ironically one of my roommates who supposedly “loves and supports the feminine” the most can’t have art up on the walls because it feels traumatizing to her; this appreciator of connection moves and hides our belongings without telling us because she believes it’s violating to see our things in the space. This lover of the embodiment of chaos and nature lives with a toddler and five other adults on purpose but can’t tolerate noise or smells or traffic or people. And while she justifies her behavior by villainizing us all for being the reminder of her ongoing lack of control, I am the face of villainy she feels victimized by the most.

It makes sense… To be around me is to be around Kali Ma and minx and peals of laughter and loud talk and fucking and listening and chaos and compassion and courage and heart and beauty and freedom and authenticity and out of control and love and backing and silliness and irony and straightforwardness and edginess and stillness and emotions and being met and being seen and anger and expression and music and rage and shit and human and pettiness and hopelessness and cunning and and and and and and and and and and and and and…

I am her out of control and I am also out of her control. She once told me about a dream she had where “I” came into some room and was too big and expressive for her so she killed me.

How we’d been managing the scenario before was that I used to meet her in her trauma and get her; I used to take care of her and “save” her from her fear of me. Essentially, I was co-dependent. But one day, well before the Covid-19 quarantine, I got tired and simply stopped doing that. And when I stopped rescuing her victim, she turned me into her villain.

For awhile, when she was in shared space, she would put ear plugs in her ears and blast music as loud as possible while pouring out anger and contempt. She would ignore texts and stay up in her room for hours except when absolutely necessary, all while posting pictures on her social media with hashtags about community. She’d ignore any requests for being responsible for her behavior and how it was affecting everyone if it didn’t align with her desires. She is in “recovery” and this is what her recovery looks like. Like a narcissistic toddler working out her power from a place of punishing powerlessness.

This was all easier to avoid when we could do life on the outside with activities and jobs and things to do. But now that we are quarantined in close quarters, the simmering shit blew. And last night, instead of not speaking up for fear of playing into my villain role, I slammed doors and cursed and screamed like a banshee until I blew out my voice and tasted blood in my own throat. I owned my “villain” role. And in so doing, finally freed myself from the vice grip of that role.

Sometimes people need us to be their villain to justify their fear, discomfort and terror of not having any control. So be it. If I can’t avoid it, I’ll own it. I’ll be a memorable, blood spewing, spectacular villain. And while I may not be able to speak today, I now have the freedom to scream.


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