On Being A Mean Girl

 I have been working on developing my World View (WV) and doing my best to make it coherent both in my head and to those I love, and naturally, to anyone who will listen such as the dude on the corner yelling at me asking me if I am a sinner who fornicates…and to whom I am considering giving my url.

This WV is a set of principles by which I try to live my life in the best way possible. Naturally, and as one would expect, it has been shaped mostly by the values instilled within Islam. I finally labelled it a WV sometime over the course of the last two or three years. This happened during a time of struggle when I was trying to make sense of something that was non-sensical; applying the principles to my own behaviour when forced to make my way through the maze of a foggy sense of betrayal.

Always, my primary concern was to ensure that my behaviour was not a reaction to the actions of another, but rather behaviour which was a reflection of my WV. Also, that I started from a position of trusting people and believing their intentions were good, no matter the outcome. Naive, yes, but gentler and softer and kinder than the alternative. I fought against the urge to react as a meanie, when dealing with a meanie; to react as an c0cksucker, when dealing with one; to react as a bully, when dealing with just that. Unfortunately, at a few days after the turn of the Year of (your) Lord 2009, I lost site of this.

Over the course of a couple of years, and in different circumstance, I had given too much; I had stretched myself so thin on several occasions that my snap-back, when it did finally happen, was severe and extreme. A precise moment in January 2009 was not the only catalyst, but rather the one which broke the camel’s back.

I reacted in kind to an action. In fact, it was not ‘in kind’, but rather ‘in extreme kind’.

Why did I do this? Because I had had enough. I had had enough of being kind and good and understanding and forgiving and gracious and trusting, and receiving nothing more than junk trash from some people around me. I did this because I was sick and tired of opening up my heart and making myself vulnerable and then being hurt. I was sick and tired of people recognising the goodness and the trust and taking advantage of it.

I did it because I was hurting and I needed to self-preserve. Because I believed then that sometimes, what people deserve isn’t a warm and fuzzy hug but rather a beat-down in order for them to wake the fk up.

More importantly, I did it because I had lost site of my WV and the fact that a huge part of who I am is someone who is in fact kind and good and understanding and forgiving and gracious because that is who I am proud to be, rather than someone who behaves in this way in order to receive the same in return. (Since the later is a fraud and frauds give me hives.)

When I lost site of my WV, I became a different creature, and it was in fact Mama who pointed this out to me. She told me that something about me had changed over the course of this last year – that I had become vicious in my response to people and suspicious of their intentions and that is not the way she raised me. I had lost my inclination to forgive and be understanding and Mama was disappointed in me. This conversation was with respect to a woman I love and admire and hold in the highest regard: Aalya.

In that moment, sitting across from my mother, something broke inside of me…and at the same time, something greater was solidified. What broke was the Mean Girl, and what was solidified, inshallah was the girl I have always fought to be. (And I will tell you honestly that writing this is making me extremely emotional.)

This was my wake-up call, and the hurt I inflicted on Aalya remains at the top of the list of My Three Worst Blowbacks from my ten month trip down C.nty Lane Blvd. I was cruel and suspicious, and brutally self-centred with a woman I dearly love, a woman who has never ever once in our relationship hurt me, and who, in a moment of complete and total self-delusion and destruction, I could have hurt beyond measure.

I couldn’t sleep that night because I could see again. I could see that somewhere over the course of the past ten months, there had been a shift in my mind’s eye view which affected my behaviour and which led me to believe that I deserved to stop giving, because I had given enough, and now people owed me.

Imagine the self-importance I felt for ten months.
This was me, and I was an Up-Her-Own-Bottom Mean Girl. Oddly enough, I was not conscious of this at the time, instead chalking it up to other people getting what they deserved after I had allowed them to take from me for so long.

I started to only focus on what people gave me from that moment on. In the instance of Aalya, I forgot about our history and every single time she had held me tight until I didn’t need to be held anymore. I had become the very thing I have hated since I can remember – entitled. Worse still, I was mean – and let me tell you, my friends, there is an unbelievable capacity within me for cruelty, which I am convinced is the flip-side of being extremely sensitive.

Where Aalya was concerned and through my sense of sh!t eating entitlement, I couldn’t see that I needed to give her understanding, patience and time. I needed to give, but instead I took in a most callous manner.Ultimately, inside of that moment, and on an epic level, I failed a woman who I loved dearly. My behaviour was both devastating and shameful; she, however, had enough grace to forgive me.

I lost site of the fact that I have always prided myself on how open and engaging I am with everyone; that I have always been happy to say “I would rather love hard and be hurt hard than love in shades of pale, to not be hurt as much.”

I lost site of the reality that what should be my only concern ever, is my own behaviour, rather than the behaviour of others, and that made me a judgemental and undoubtedly insufferable b!tch.

I lost site of the foundation of my WV: that I believe in the essential goodness of people, even when they have hurt me, and I work hard to understand them and forgive them and still love them, even though I may choose to no longer have them in my life in any formal capacity. I do this because I believe that we are not born with the intention to hurt, even though we are all guilty of being hysterical fk-ups at different moments in our lives. And if we are lucky, then we have friends such as Aalya who will forgive us.

At the end of the day, I have to believe that anyone who has hurt me didn’t come into my life with the intention to hurt, because I do not believe, can not believe, refuse to believe that we are born into sin and pain and anger.

To those of you who would take advantage of this sort of thinking and to anyone who believes there is a greater Power, then understand that one day we will deal with a greater Judge than another human being could ever be, and our behaviour and the consequences of that behaviour come full circle and we will be held accountable for taking advantage of goodness and kindness. And, so, as my own eating of humble pie has taught me, gentler, kinder, softer was always the better route, anyway. Deviating from that path at least afforded me the opportunity to solidify this very belief.


Image courtesy of Gen Pren.

Originally published 09/11/20.