I just met this woman. She’s about my age, she’s about my build. She’s loud at times, brash, and clearly intelligent but not overtly trying to convince you of the fact. She doesn’t need to.
She’s a writer. Her voice is unique to her and, at the same time, one I can relate to quite easily because it sounds a lot like mine. She’s shameless in her storytelling, proud of her sexuality and her promiscuousness, and it’s goddamn refreshing. Every time I read a woman’s words who has a voice as loud or louder than mine, it feeds my cold, dark soul.
She’s the blonde to my brunette, though both from a bottle because we’re getting older, and where I lean left, she leans to the center in some ways and further right in others. We both have kids, though neither of us will claim the title of “Mother of the Year” because neither of us are June Cleaver, either.
She’s kind of the fucking worst, really. But I can appreciate that because so am I.
This woman I met, she doesn’t give a fuck what “they” think. They, the “others”, those who lead tidy lives with tidy storylines. I mean in some ways, she does care. Maybe on some level. There are moments where she wishes she was more like them, the “put-together suburbanite who just went on a wine retreat with her lawfirm and whose children attend preschools they were on waiting lists for since they were zygotes”. That’s who they are.
But that’s not who she is, and she knows she’s an imposter when she’s with them. And she’ll move on from them when she is done learning from them, these strange human specimens she can’t truly relate to.
She uses the word imposter where I use the word tourist. I have always had the groups of friends, or maybe friendly acquaintances would be a better label, who are not my people. I tour their lives and lifestyles like a tourist tours a new city. And then I go home, because that’s not where I belong.
These people live lives that are fascinating yet dull the moment you actually get to know what it takes to live those lives. People who you always suspect, on some level, look down on you while smiling politely and laughing at your stories.
“Oh, you are so FUNNY. What a fascinating and fun life you lead, I would kill to be a fly on the wall in your home…so fun!”
You hear those words and you wonder if they’re genuine. You wonder, do they really think it’s so fascinating? So fun?
Or is it so abhorrent to them, to think of the dirty places you’ve slept and the dirty people you’ve fucked, the unsavory people you’ve let touch your life on a level that is alien to them, so foreign that they’re a bit glad when they’re no longer in your company because, thank god, none of it got on them.
Sometimes, I’m sure, it’s a little of both.
“We must do this again.”
And maybe they mean it, but do I care? Maybe. But it’s more likely that I’ve gotten what I needed from this interaction or series of such and will move on to different people, to another life. Not to find my people because I don’t like those who are truly “my people”.
My people are selfish in their happiness, cruel in their path to get there, and unapologetic about both. In a lot of cases, it’s overcorrecting from allowing themselves to prioritize others to the point where they’ve lost themselves. It’s their life to live now and maybe they’re ready for “theirs”, to hell with the body count. My people wear “the human suit” because they have to, and doing the “human act” can be exhausting. They try to do good in the world, but they mainly don’t give a fuck. These are my people.
I need to be clear: I can’t stand myself, but at the same time I REALLY do like myself. This is not self-loathing on its face, but I’m self-aware enough to know that, on many levels, I’m the fucking worst, and when I meet someone just like me, it only calls attention to that fact. It’s like an airhorn right to the face. “Holy shit…that nightmare is me.”
My husband and my closest friends are people I love and choose to share parts of myself with, but they’re not truly “my people” or I probably wouldn’t be able to stand them for more than an evening, maybe two. They’re caring, good, quality humans. They’re people I admire and strive to be but I know that’s not how I’m wired. They’re yins to my yang, they’re a balancing stone. My desire to be around them, in some ways, is probably just one more selfish thing about me. These are the people I need to surround myself with to feel human. And I think in some ways I am that counterbalance to their lives as well. And that’s ok. I am thrilled if that’s the case.
When I meet “me”, I’m always taken aback a little. There’s always the honeymoon phase driven by narcissism because I’m responding to traits we share. “Wow, this is great, we have so much in common, I almost never run into people like me. Cool.”
Then I realize that they’re the fucking worst because this new person is exhibiting everything I identify with and I find it unbearable. They’re a veritable shit-show, and I can relate to most if not all of the shit. Occasionally, the next step is an unspoken dance, a small competition that no one acknowledges because the other “me” is realizing the same thing and now wondering who the better version of the shit-show is.
As I’ve grown older, my self-awareness has grown to the point where I’m able to quash any of the perceived competition, either with words or with distance, because I just don’t have the energy, and I don’t feel the need to be the better shit-show. If someone else wants to be the victor of the shit-show contest, the spoils are theirs.
I acknowledge that this new person, male or female, is me, they’re the fucking worst, and that’s both why I’m drawn to them and why I won’t form a relationship with them. I know that the people I surround myself with on purpose are either going to ABSOLUTELY love them, or that they already have met them and come to me with declarations of, “Oh you have GOT to meet so-and-so, you would LOVE them,” and this all because of the things they say they love about me
I will, at the same time, laugh when they say they can’t even stomach being around this person and I’ll know exactly why. “I get it. I can’t stand me either.”
It will be interesting to see what the verdict is when the people closest to meet this new “me” I spoke of a the beginning of this writing. She’s kind of the fucking worst. I hope they love her, and I will not be surprised when they don’t.