A couple years ago, I started dating this guy. When we went out one night, his ex approached me and said he was an awful person who had cheated on her and caused her a lot of grief. I told her I was thankful that she let me know that and went on my merry way, cautiously optimistic. Things didn’t work out between us, but I continue to see this girl around town. And every single time we are in the same room, she pulls her posse in and whispers while pointing in my direction. Seriously, it is basically a scene from Mean Girls. Every. Time.
This made a big impact on me because of how wronged I felt. Where is the girl power, first of all?! Secondly, I was so insanely bothered by how visibly cruel she was towards me. And third, I learned how much power I can give one person over my life and my happiness.
I have no idea what her opinion is of me. Maybe in her mind I’m the idiot who didn’t listen to her about dating her ex. Maybe he told her something about me that was so ridiculous that she can’t help but remind her friends how crazy I am (crazy cat lady? enjoys going to bed earlier than three year olds?). Who knows.
On a recent road trip, my friend pointed out in disgust that someone passing by was wearing a dust/flu-type mask over her mouth. I was instantly taken aback as another close friend of mine wore one while she grocery shopped as she was going through chemo for breast cancer. My response was direct and firm that she could be getting treated for cancer and we do not know what she is going through (!!!!).
Because we never really do, do we? Some of us are so tuned out from our own selves that we can’t figure out why we are experiencing our own emotions in the first place. And then we mock people, tear others down, and damage other people’s reputation by questioning their motives and placing blame.
It makes me sick to my stomach. And yet, I still do it.
This post and this blog isn’t my place to “help people” and write about all the ways I’m doing things right and how you should join me on that journey. I don’t write to be praised and I don’t spend an hour or so on a post to get attention. In fact, I am ridiculed at times for my transparency online and the fact that sometimes I have no idea what I’m doing and how much I suck (feelings, so many feelings). It bothers me and then it doesn’t. I care and then I shrug my shoulders. I write honestly because I have to. It flows out of my fingertips and I have to be real, even when it’s shitty writing or it makes no sense or it doesn’t align with what other people think of me or who people have labeled me as. The world needs real people, so I keep trying and removing layers to get to the vulnerable places.
And something I will struggle to swallow for now (but hopefully not forever) is my one of Jen Sincero’s quotes that says…
“You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it.”
So let’s continue trying, creating, saying things, doing things and doing our stinkin’ best. If I was constantly worried about the old boyfriend’s ex and her hateful glares or if I wouldn’t participate in something because I was unsure if I fit in, I would totally miss out and basically live in a hole. And I would miss out on this super short and beautiful thing that we only get one shot at called life. And I want a full life, not a life that is dictated by what others say or want for me. I hope you feel the same.