My Ex-Friends Are Shitty
They thought I was weird and treated me like a leper!
I used to have this big group of friends with whom I spent all my time. But I had a falling out with two of the "queen bees" of the group and now I've been ex-communicated. These women wield power by relying on a lot of superficialities: wearing and doing expensive things, and projecting very cultivated social media presences. It's not my thing, but I had real friendships with other people in the group (or so I thought), so I didn't worry much about it. I knew enough not to talk shit about the queen bees, but I didn't suck up to them either. Maybe they sensed my indifference. They started telling people they thought I was "weird" and excluding me from stuff. It spread, and soon even people I thought were close friends started treating me like a leper. Not everyone is outwardly hostile to me, but no one is standing up for me either.
I try to remind myself that people who would behave this way obviously aren't worth being friends with. But I spent years of my life investing in these folks, and it's hard not to feel like their wholesale rejection of me as a person is an assessment of my worth (or lack thereof). I know the only way I'm going to get through this is to rely on my small handful of friends outside this group, go to therapy, and look for ways to build self worth and get validation elsewhere. I'm working on that. But what I'm really writing to ask you is:
How do I exact revenge against these bitches?! I want them to suffer for having hurt me so much. And don't tell me living well is the best revenge -- it's going to be a while before I feel "well". Right now I just want the bitter satisfaction of punishing these women.
Making a List Like Arya Stark
How dare you imply that I would employ sad clichés that confuse the soggy consolation of “living well” with the sweet-and-sour-umami mouthfeel of vengeance? What is “living well” anyway? Why does padding across several thousand square feet of beige wall-to-wall carpeting spring to mind? Why do retirees in wrinkle-free knits sipping chardonnay on a river cruise slip into focus?
When I was a kid, there was a women’s gym in my hometown called “Living Well Lady.” I used to see that sign and wonder, “What kind of a lady is living well?” Why did this living well lady strike me as deeply lonely? Were these the first tendrils of my budding misogyny, reaching out to feel the nourishing sunshine of patriarchal culture? Was this me fulfilling my destiny as a self-hating woman? You can’t stay single because then you’re pathetic and you can’t get married because then you’re more pathetic but you can’t get old and flabby and soft because that’s pathetic but you can’t go to a gym for ladies because that’s even more pathetic?
To me, Living Well Lady was a place where women dressed like Olivia Newton-John put on leg warmers and humped the air to “Let’s Get Physical” and thought it was erotic. They were pitiable, these Living Well Ladies. They were horny and lonely. They were Melanie Griffith in “Working Girl,” only less hot. They would never dare to vacuum in the nude. They ate sad salads on the couch in their sad condos. They were lonely. They chased men around but no one loved them, no one wanted to marry them, no one even wanted them around.
Yes, as you might imagine, all of my raw imagination and unfocused dread and longing started to curdle into self-hatred right around then. But let’s not go there yet, Arya! Let’s stay focused on the Living Well Ladies of my rich imagination! I thought they were desperate, but they weren’t. They were doing fine! They weren’t living inside a Cathy cartoon. They were human beings who didn’t mind going to a women’s gym. They weren’t trying to be fancy. They just wanted to work out without any men around. Big deal. Fuck off, kid!
These queen bees and their friends, though? These women are bad news, full stop. They distrust weirdness. They excommunicate the indifferent. They sniff out insecurities and prey on them. They get a kick out of other people’s struggles. They milk innocent situations for drama. They enjoy excluding people. They need to feel special or else they start to panic.
You hated them from the start. Consider that. You tried to hide it, but you couldn’t do it. You thought you could please them and keep them at arm’s length. You were faintly attracted to their stylish indulgences. Go ahead and admit it! You liked the idea of being associated with them. You wanted your life to feel more exciting and glamorous. None of this makes you stupid or shallow. You just wanted to go out and have some fun with some fun women. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that you hated them, but you kept chasing them anyway! Yes, I do mean chasing. And even though you say “It’s not my thing” and “I didn’t worry too much about it,” the fact is that IT IS YOUR THING, in a way. You’re at least a teensy bit preoccupied with the notion that people who have more money than you are living much more exciting, better lives than you are. You also compulsively crave approval from people who seem to disapprove of you. And you DO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT IT. That’s just the way you’re built. You worry. You try too hard. You please people. You want their stamp of approval. You’re a social overachiever, in spite of your best intentions.
You are not living well, lady. You’re chasing the indifferent, without even knowing it.
So consider not doing that anymore. It’s something you do. Look back to college, if you went to college. Look back to high school. Look back. You try too hard. You’re conflicted. You try hard before you even know if you like someone or not. YOU WANT THEM TO LIKE YOU FIRST.
If you don’t think you do that? You’re wrong, motherfucker! (Do I sound a little evil? THAT’S BECAUSE I AM EVIL.) It’s time for YOU to be who YOU are. You’re pretending to be nicer than you really are. You’re pretending to like people more than you do. You think no one will like you if you just show up and tell the truth. You’re wrong. THE BEST PEOPLE WILL LIKE YOU. You don’t feel your feelings enough. That’s how you pull off this whole trick of wriggling into groups where you don’t belong. You treat YOUR feelings like they’re beside the point, and then you wonder why everyone around you follows in suit.
Lead from your feelings from now on. Decide who is good. Cling fast to good people. Don’t even think about befriending bad people. Interrogate your interest in glamour. Find new ways to explore and express your love of beauty and serenity and calm and… well, not luxury, exactly. Substitutes for luxury that aren’t expensive, that aren’t photographed and then posted on motherfucking Instagram.
Your revenge does not lie in living well. Your revenge – and it will taste really good, unnnnngh, so good, so good – is to TRULY TRULY STOP CARING ABOUT SHITTY SHALLOW PHOTOGENIC LADIES. Your revenge is figuring out how to stop compulsively pandering to people you fucking hate. Your revenge is NOTICING WHEN YOU HATE SOMEONE. Right now, when someone’s values make you sick, you light up a little inside, almost like you’re falling in love. You want to know more. It’s like you catch a whiff of something disgusting and then you can’t stop smelling it.
But real life is not an episode of The Real Housewives. The only people who befriend those housewives are people who fucking hate themselves. There’s no way to punish people who are already in hell.
I’m evil, but I can’t give you shitty advice because I’m not stupid. I’m happy to talk endlessly about these sad sick assholes and their fear of weirdness. I love it when people think “weird” is gross or scary. It gives me a giant weirdo boner when I meet someone who hates the weird. I can’t help but WILD OUT on their unimaginative asses. I could for sure punish your little queen bees, too, oh fuck yeah. I could make them feel very small, using only my words (I wouldn’t even need my fists!) and it would be fun, dude. Very very very very fun.
But YOU have to drop this and look at yourself. You still have hatred rattling around in your soul because you feel worried that you’re too weird for the world. And you’re not. You’re great! OUCH it hurts me to say that, because yuck, who cares about you, really? But it’s true. You’re just too weird for bland chickenshit loser ladies like them. And you’re a little insecure, and you’re not addressing why. You’re not looking at your shame.
Dig into your shame and admit that you’re an angry person who worries too much. Admit that you’re pretty fucking weird. And notice that you feel like a leper a lot, and not just when you’re around self-involved fucksticks like your former friends.
We’re all ashamed of ourselves when it boils right down to it. Otherwise Instagram wouldn’t even exist. We’ve all got something to prove. We all want revenge.
But none of that shit helps. It makes everything worse.
Let’s just be dicks right here, together, in the comfort of my new completely idiotic and hateful newsletter! Woohoo, baby friends! And that’s the real definition of living well: Connection, in spite of your fears, in spite of your shame, in spite of your worries, in spite of your self-hatred. Simple human motherfucking connection with other flawed, scared, wild weirdos.
Here’s to our brand new leper colony. Asses out, lepers. No begging to Jesus, now. We don’t need miracles (or filters, or followers) to feel ourselves. We’re good exactly as we are.