Mean Girls, Mean Women, And Self-Love
I recently watched an episode of The Real where the ladies discussed being bullied in school and how bullying occurs in Hollywood. I also read an article today about a 12-year old girl who committed suicide recently because she loved math and science. This inspired me to tell my story.
If you’re anything like me, you thought dealing with mean girls was something you only had to face in adolescence. As a person in my late 20’s, I certainly didn’t think I’d have to deal with bullying. I should have known better as I watch a fair share of reality television showcasing terrible behavior from women...ahem, I’m calling you out Love & Hip-Hop, Basketball Wives, and The Real Housewives. I don’t really keep up with them anymore because it’s all become too much for me, but that’s T.V. with predetermined story lines right? That’s not how grown women really behave? Or so I thought.
I switched from public to private school when I was in fourth grade. First of all, that already sucked because I started a few weeks into the school year and most of these kids had been together since kindergarten so I was immediately the odd girl out. I remember a group of Black girls (and one “down” white girl) walking up to me asking me to join their crew. Even at nine years old, my intuition was keen. I got a weird vibe from them so I politely declined. Trust your gut ladies! I guess from then on out I was on their list because they set out to cause me Hell from fourth through eighth grade. I wasn't bullied to the degree that kids are facing now, but I have had food thrown at me in the cafeteria, girls say mean things to me or make fun of me for reasons I have yet to know, I’ve had rumors started about me that weren’t true, I’ve had my hair pulled, and I’ve had my books thrown on the ground (in the middle of class mind you). Yeah, elementary school was great.
So imagine my delight 20 years later when a former co-worker of mine decides she wants to be my own personal bully. Yay me! I’m going to try to make this story as short as possible. Ok, here we go.
I met this co-worker, lets call her Morgan, while I was in a different position at our company. She told me about a new position that was coming up and suggested that I apply, so I did. She talked me up to her boss and even coached me on the interview process. I invited her to my place and we split a bottle of wine to show my gratitude. She came off as cool, but I had heard things about her through the grapevine at the company. I really try not to judge people. I just knew to keep my guard up.
I end up getting the job so now she and I are on the same team. My trainer in this position ends up being this really cool guy, lets call him Damian. Now before you start thinking insane thoughts, I’m going to premise all of this by saying he had a fiancé and a kid and I was (still am, for over five years now) in a committed long-term relationship. We have zero interest in each other, our relationship is strictly platonic. Morgan is also in a relationship.
Because Damian is my trainer and we don’t have a traditional office space (we had territories across state lines so no one lives less than 40 miles from each other), we meet from time to time so he can help me with my training manual. At one of our regional team meetings, Damian brings me chocolate, per my request as these are chocolates you can only get in the state he’s a rep in and I hadn’t been back to this state in years. Apparently that didn’t sit right with Morgan. After that, she started acting very aloof.
Fast forward to about four months later, we have another regional meeting. I’m still acting cordial with her. After the meeting comes the texts. A text saga in fact. At first, she states she wants to talk to me privately the next time we see each other in person. I simply text her back “OK”. The funny part is, Morgan lives for drama. She never wanted to speak privately because she sent that message in a…wait for it…GROUP TEXT with our mutual friend, Jennifer, because she wanted a witness to everything she was about to say. Mind you our mutual friend works in HR for the same company we do. Interesting right?
Morgan proceeds to tell me how disrespectful I am to her and continues on to call me fat (she said I weighed 100 pounds more than her), tells me I’m broke (we have the same job though), that I take vacations I can’t afford (my boyfriend and I had taken a cruise the month prior), and that I’m not grown because I live at home. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where rent averages $2,000 a month for a one bedroom apartment. She lived two hours away and had previously disclosed to me in a another conversation that her rent was $900 a month. Just to give you perspective, there was no comparison.
Not that all of that wasn’t rude enough, here’s when she really went too far. She went through our mutual friend’s follower list on Instagram and found my boyfriend. She added him. I don’t care that my boyfriend friends women online. It’s not like he makes a habit of it. He also didn’t know who she was at the time, but saw that Morgan was friends with Jennifer so likely accepted her friend request based off of that. But what Morgan does next will really give you a glimpse at her true colors. She messages Jennifer and my boyfriend in a group message and sends this meme that states, “When you find out the love of your life is a piece of shit”. She then types, “This will be you in 40 years! HAHA!” Then tells my boyfriend, “Sorry, only meant to send this to Jennifer.” The question is, how did she accidentally send my boyfriend a message when she’s never met him or spoken to him a day in her life? When I asked Jennifer about this message she said Morgan had deleted it by the time she checked and Morgan said she didn’t mean to send Jennifer the message. Clearly she thought it was a way to get under my skin because in her text rant she also told me, “Your man adds random women online and I heard you treat him like shit!” Good thing my relationship is solid enough to withstand such bogus lies, I know my man, I know Morgan talks a lot. I know she’s full of herself. I know she’s straight up lying.
I told our mutual friend to stay out of it. This was my fight. Now, I’m not the same quiet little girl I was in fourth grade. I’m also not going to go crazy on this woman when my only context in dealing with her is a professional one. So after a slew of classy clap backs, I simply told her that I’m going to pray for her and I called my boss the next day with all of the lovely details. I also told him I didn’t want the issue to escalate, I just wanted to make him aware. I then requested not to have to work with her if I didn’t have to as sometimes reps team up to work on projects.
I later find out that Morgan and Damian had been hooking up at all of our meetings and that the reason she got big mad at me was that she thought I was hooking up with him too. Funny AF. Remember when I told you Damian was engaged and had a kid? Remember when I told you Morgan also had a man? She was cheating. She was the side dish in the situation. Even if there was something going on with Damian and I, she still wouldn’t have the right to be mad. How do I know they were hooking up? Damian told me. How do I know he wasn’t lying? Without me mentioning the situation, Jennifer confirmed it because Morgan had told her all about it! Morgan also showed her true colors to Jennifer in a different instance and now they no longer speak. Choose your friends wisely.
The really funny part is, all of this drama could have been avoided with a conversation. Morgan could have pulled me aside as we had just been together the day before she sent the text rant and addressed whatever issue she had with me. I would have respected her for that and set the record straight. Instead, she makes assumptions and attacks me personally by criticizing my weight, income, and relationship.
I think what Morgan and my elementary school tormentors have in common is jealousy. Morgan was jealous of my relationship with Damian, my relationship with Jennifer, and my relationship with my boyfriend. She hated that I was so cool with everyone. My elementary haters were jealous that I was smart. I always got good grades and teachers liked me, meanwhile my bullies were always in trouble and got poor grades. I remember when report card season rolled around, one of them in particular would always throw a tantrum and cry and the teacher would have to take her outside of the classroom to calm her down. She loved picking on me, but was so afraid to tell her parents she was failing.
Why do we do this as women? Why do we insist on breaking each other down to make ourselves feel good or feel worthy? Why this constant battle to prove that you’re better than someone else by belittling others? No one wins in the situation. No one.
I really feel for these kids growing up with social media. They’re facing bullying on a whole new level that I can’t even fathom. Cyber bullying is a whole other monster. A young girl with all of the potential and all of the hopes in the world becomes so broken that she feels the only way out is to end her life? This needs to stop.
On the Real, Loni talks about how her friend who didn’t have much money, but who did the best she could to get dressed for the red carpet was harshly criticized. Jeannie talks about how she used to get made fun of for what God gave her. Her eyes, the way she spoke, and her legs. Judging others for simply being themselves is not okay.
If no one has told you today, you are enough. You are worthy of respect. You are valid in your emotions. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are magic. You are courageous. You are beautiful. You are phenomenal. You are intelligent. You are growing. You are blooming. You are loved.
A flame loses no light by lighting another. You do not have to wither away to allow another flower to bloom. There’s plenty of space for everyone to shine and to blossom. I believe that we can do better. We must do better. We will do better.
I hope this post finds and helps someone.