Friday, May 14, 2010

Last Night

Last night I was lucky enough to have the stars align for me and allow me to go out with a group of mommy friends.
I don't know if they feel about me the way I do about them but I consider these gals my core friends. These are the ladies I'll call to go out, the women who if I need something I turn to, the gals I feel happy around and can be myself with no pretension.

I've never been very good at being social. I spent so much of my time as a child chasing people trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be so they would like me, as a teenager I was mean to everyone around me, gossping, lying, backstabbing, loyal to only one and I cringe at how I treated her at times. As a young adult I used to make up wild stories to make myself feel cooler than I thought I was. I was afraid that if people knew me for me they would be bored and turned off.
As a grownup I'm comfortable with who I am and make no apologies for what I do, how I act or what I think.
It took me a while to get here but I'm here and I'm happy.

Last night someone said that I never have anything bad to say about anyone and my first reaction was "YES I DO!" but I thought about it and she's right. I really try not to have anything bad to say about anyone. I try to be as empathetic as possible and see all sides.

I spent so much of my time hurting other people with gossip and smack talk, so much time spreading rumors and being hateful and small minded. All in order to make myself feel better, to feel like I belonged and I fit in. I did a lot of damage, unnecessary damage to innocent people to make myself feel better. I wound up with no one's trust and the reputation of a villain.

Of course I was the first one to crow like a rooster if anyone talked smack about me!
I can't be like that anymore.
It's too exhausting and too time consuming.
Do I still gossip?
Of course I do. It's in my blood. I'll never NOT gossip.
What I've changed are two critical things.
The first is that I will never ever say anything about you to anyone else that I won't say to your face.
I used to talk so much shit and stir up so many problems and then run and hide when confronted. Then I'd lie and say I never said half the shit I actually said.
As a grownup, I always, always make it a point to own up to what I've said and will often take it a step further and go back to the person I was discussing and tell them what I'd said.
That way no words are twisted and there's no game of Telephone going on.

The second is that I will only gossip in a selective fashion. I'll listen to you dish all day on other folks but unless I have something that I think pertains to the topic at hand or something that helps with the conversation I'll nod my head like a bobble doll but won't do much talking.

Okay three things. The third that I don't surround myself with toxic people. I refuse to hang with peeps who don't love life and who need to tear people down or criticize everything others do to feel better about themselves.
I try not to hang with folks who will give me too much fodder for gossip. If I have shit on you to talk about and we are good friends, I'm not going to talk shit. Random acquaintances are totally fair game and I'll yap with you any day of the week about the mother who drops off in pajamas or the one who wears hot pants and I'll gossip about their kids with you but, for example, the gals at the table with me last night? I'd defend them with my dying breath.

The other thing that helps keep my gossip to a dull roar is I don't have relationships with many people. The girls I went out with last night are the closest friends I have. If I don't have the dirt to dish, I can't dish.
I can't gossip about people I don't know. I know lots of the parents on a superficial level and I have opinions (strong ones) on everyone I meet but I have no real experiences to talk about with most of them.

One of the things I learned when I was a nasty bitter gossip was DTA. Don't Trust Anyone. Don't say anything about anyone you would want to get back to them. I can't tell you how much gossip has been passed onto me with "Well she told me so I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I tell you" or "I was talking to so and so and she said that you...."

I also always always always keep the old saying "Those who talk to you, will talk about you" in the back of my mind.
While I no longer think my life is interesting enough to talk smack about I'm sure it happens and when it does if they aren't talking about how bubbly and vivacious and kind to animals and small humans I am I never want to be labeled as a bitch again or someone that you can't trust and can't rely on.

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