Just to make it clear : I don’t sympathise with Elliot Rodger. But while this incident has sparked off discussions and debates on mental health issues (if he had any, because there are conflicting reports), misogyny and the like, I can’t help but return to the idea that he never received attention from girls, which he thought he was entitled to.
& somehow I find his sentiments eerily similar to mine (EXCEPT WAY WAY MORE EXTREME. PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND AND PEG ME AS A MAN-HATING VIRGIN KILLER-TO-BE THANK YOU). He could have paid for sex, sure, some argue. But what he wanted was to experience loving a girl and being loved back – he focused a lot on sex, because what do you expect from a regular hot-blooded young male – and I can relate to that.
You see, movies make it look so easy. People make it look so easy. Classmates start coupling up. You know, it all seems so effortless for a lot of people. & so you grow up thinking that’s the way it is for everyone. Of course, it isn’t. I did suffer from a bit of a fairytale complex – I thought that I would get my first boyfriend in junior college, at the age of 17 – but like Janis Ian’s song goes, ‘ I learned the truth at seventeen’ (also, I ended up going to poly). I realised then that life wasn’t like the movies. I wasn’t getting the attention I thought I was supposed to be getting. In fact, I was being told by guys that I wasn’t pretty, and I practically had (still do) a lifetime pass to the Friendzone.
& maybe that’s as close as I get to understanding where Elliot Rodger came from. A lot of people don’t get it. They sneer at the triviality of it all and assume it can be fixed easily – in his case, a trip to a brothel…in mine, perhaps making myself ‘easier’ . But by offering such suggestions, we’re ignoring the real problem – the totally normal, human desire for companionship. Maybe it’s been hard-wired into us and we think it’s necessary for survival – and so the fact that it isn’t happening for us, but for so many others …that’s a little hard to take.
Elliot blamed others for his situation, & took it too far. Perhaps he was aware of how dangerous his thoughts had become; perhaps not. As for me, these thoughts consumed my life for a long time, and they still remain my biggest demons. However, as many women are wont to do (which they really shouldn’t), I wonder if there’s something wrong with me instead. Some think that my constant talking about love scares guys away because it screams neediness – but I have been working on leading my own full life. I just want someone to share it with – is that so wrong?
I was reading ‘This Star Won’t Go Out’ by Esther Earl and even she longed to like someone and be liked back. Would you call her desperate? I wouldn’t. I would understand that this is a typical human sentiment, one we shouldn’t have to be ashamed of.
I don’t really know what my point is . I guess it’s that maybe we shouldn’t blame people for feeling lonely. Yes, he did seek help, and no, it didn’t save him from his demons in the end and people died because of that. But let’s not paint him as an absolute monster. Loneliness can drive people to suicide or harming others in a bid to exact revenge – or in his case, both. It’s just sad that he couldn’t see the meaning of life beyond boy-girl relationships and sex, and decided to kill people to prove a point about how wretched and unjust society was. Don’t worry about me, though. I intend to give my love to people who need it more than I do – and if I can stop someone from feeling lonely and unwanted then that’s great…it’s good enough for me.