Now Playing: Beg for It by Iggy Azalea (I be on this money while your man on me)
If there's anything I've learned about the game of love and war, is that women want men to *say something*, men want women to shut up, and taken women want single women to really shut up.
Breakups - professional, platonic, romantic - are not fun. They are a mess of bruised egos and broken hearts and everyone feels just a little bit screwed over.
Women have the right to talk. They have the right to be open about their version of events. They have the right to discuss things with their friends. It is not bitching. It is not libel. It is nothing to take anyone to court over. People are just going to have to deal with the fact that when a woman becomes collateral damage to other people's selfishness, they get hurt, and they talk.
I talk. I am a writer. And nothing and nobody will ever make me silent.
I've spent a lot of my life as the other woman. All of it unintentional. I've hit that weird liminal space of 'not girlfriend material, but I will risk pissing off my girlfriend for you'. Which is...
When I was sixteen I was in a relationship that was fucked up and messy and hurt a lot of people, including myself. Three years on and I'm still dealing with aftershocks, which is not a great way to spend your teen years. But I knew, then and there, that my delusions about being ready for a romantic relationship were totally off the mark. I wasn't ready. And to this day, I've never seriously considered starting a romantic relationship.
I flirt, of course. I don't have any relationships that don't survive on a solid diet of innuendo and wandering hands. I fall in love at the drop of a hat. My lovers have all loved me well, only if for a night. But that's all I want. I have fallen in love with the bachelor life.
I am tired, though of being the villain. I'm sorry that just because I am single and don't cross my legs and live with Jesus, I am automatically a threat. If I'm a threat, well, your man is the bigger threat. I'm the one who's single; he's the one who has to lie.
I'm tired of being the liar. Yes, I would have loved a relationship. Yes, it was what I hope for in the future. But right now, I am happy and whole and complete, on my own. I don't need a man. I definitely don't need yours. Why does nobody believe that there are phases in a woman's life that isn't devoted to men and/or babies? I have a degree to finish, goddammit. I have people to do and things to see and none of them involve your boyfriend.
Have I been jealous before? Of course. I'm jealous of the security and steady affection that most relationships seem to bring. I understand jealousy as a visceral, physical, animal reaction to the visceral, physical, animal world of love and lust. It is something that hits you, and then you move on. It's never been something I've acted on. I don't covet. And in the age-old melodrama of unrequited love yes, I have felt angry and bitter and hurt. But I have never allowed myself to feel entitled. Life doesn't always go your way and all that. I'm a big girl now. I am perfectly capable of picking myself up, buying a cheap bottle of wine, and going out with the girls or having a night in with my vibrator.
Yes, I was once someone's bit on the side. I didn't know. Not only did I not know, but I was manipulated, bullied and abused into staying in something that went over my head and hurt me, badly. And when I was hurt and trying to heal from the scars of abuse, people had the nerve to say that I was jealous.
I was going through a rough patch with a dear friend, and I've always been a big believer in communication, and he'd admitted that he was not great at communication or 'confrontations'. Every time I tried to reach out, tried to patch things up, tried to pick up the pieces, he forgot that I had made it abundantly clear that, come what may, I was not looking for a romantic relationship with anybody. When I was hurt and losing a friend, I was, apparently, just jealous.
Fuck. This. Shit.
Women, believe it or not, experience more emotions than just jealousy. Their lives revolve around more things than being jealous of women who have men that they want. Men hurt women badly, all the time, and you can't dismiss all of it as women hurting themselves via this pesky jealousy thing. I am tired of trying to hold my friends and abusers to account, only to be dismissed as some crazy jealous bitch. Jealous. Is that all you can come up with? Is that all I am to you? I had known some of these people, these people who can dismiss me with a single word, for years; long enough for them to acknowledge that I too am a human being capable of human complexity and emotion.
Feminism is supposed to be about sisterhood. I call bullshit on that one, because even the most self-aggrandizing feminist can't even refrain from this knee jerk reaction of 'oh, she's just jealous'. Feminism, to me, is about imagining everyone complexly.
I am more than just 'that girl'. I have my own story. I will not be reduced to just being a villain in yours.