WHEN GROWN ASS WOMEN ARE MEAN GIRLS
By the time you’ve been married, have C-section scars, been divorced, lost friends to breast cancer, have tattoos removed, and are not wearing the latest trend because you wore it the last time it was a trend, shouldn’t you be exempt from basic bitches?
I am, let’s say, 40-something. And I recently experienced a two-month-long episode, that, until it was over, did not realize it was (DUH DUH DUH) adult bullying.
I’ve been through this twice in my life. Once when I was 11, then again when I was 23. At first, I didn’t recognize what was happening because I enjoyed a long break from this gross brand of mind f*ckery.
The resultant feelings were familiar, but I honestly figured all the confusion, self-doubt, sadness, and defensiveness might be “the change.” So I dosed up on B vitamins and progesterone cream…to no avail.
Then I reverted back to an old habit of biting my nails, I was craving ice cream all the time, and I couldn’t sleep. After a few weeks of this I remembered that acronym, H.A.L.T. Experts say if you are feeling “off”, ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?” I was. I had been. At least one, or a combination of those things, for weeks. I just wasn’t my confident, happy, hilarious, self. But if it wasn’t peri-menopause, what was it?
And, one day, it hit me.
OH MY GOD! THOSE WOMEN I’VE BEEN SPENDING SO MUCH TIME WITH DON’T LIKE ME! THEY NEVER HAVE! I’M SO EMBARRASSED. I’M SO INSULTED. I’M SO MAD. I’M SO OLD. WTF!
I didn’t know what to do. In the past there were probably pretty good reasons for people not to like me. (Even though bullies are responsible for their own behavior.) At 11 I was kind of a know-it-all. And at 23 I was trying way too hard to please my new boss at the expense of my relationships with the other people at the office. But why now?
I’m so healthy, so evolved, so self-aware, so centered, so wise, so completely and totally being gossiped about behind my back. F*ck! And that is if they are talking about me at all. I wasn’t sure which was worse, disgust or indifference, but I was sure about one thing. I felt terrible. And by the time I understood what was happening, I was Carrie. At the prom. Drenched in blood. Standing on a stage. With crazy-eyes.
After I calmed down, I decided it would be best to blame one person. I identified a ringleader. A mob boss. The others were too young, or too nice, or too self-involved to bother trying to take me down. The one I pegged as the Regina George of the gang seemed to take pleasure in politely stabbing me straight in the face. She would dismiss me with the sweetest smile. She was the most unlike me so I figured it had to be her. Y’know, an uptight C-word with no sense of humor? It was easy to despise my polar opposite. In contrast, I could define my loud, profane, high energy personality as “fun” and her quiet, gentle, delicate personality as “boring”. Done and done.
I was happily sipping my Hatorade and telling my fiancé all about Phony Soprano when he made the most bizarre suggestion.
“Why don’t you try to like her?”
CHOKE. Say what now?
“I’ve always been a big believer in fake-it-‘til-you-make-it. And people like people who like them. Besides, if you’re honest, Lynda, you probably don’t really like her either.”
MIND SWIRLING. VERTIGO EYES. HATORADE THROUGH NOSE. STOP.
It didn’t take me long to realize the brilliance of that statement. (And it’s reason #487 why I am marrying this man in a handful of months). It gave me my power back by allowing me to take action from a higher ground. Because, please note, he did not say, “Disrespect yourself.” “Kiss her ass.” Or “Be a doormat.” He said “try to LIKE her.” As in, seek out the good. Look for something to like. Find positives among what you now perceive to be negatives, then come to FEEL differently. I’m not sure if I didn’t like her before she showed me her second head, or after, but he was right, I definitely didn’t like her now. Which meant, I had work to do.
Because just like bullies are responsible for their behavior, the bullied are also responsible for theirs. (And maybe, just maybe, I have been an irritating little B the last couple of months.)
I have only gotten as far as writing this post. So, I’ll give this counterintuitive (lovely) method a try.
And if it doesn’t work, I’ll just punch her in the vagina.