I was talking with a new friend the other day. We have a mutual circle of people that we both know and have developed our own connection well outside of the realms of this group. I was happy that our friendship grew in a direction away from these people because some of them have shown themselves to be toxic human beings. In day to day dealings of our blossoming relationship I avoided, as much as was humanly possible, talking about this, but one day those worlds collided. I thought I would be doing a disservice to my new friend if I didn’t at least acknowledge my conscious choice not to associate with this group.
There’s a problem associating with small minded people; you will find yourself in your back yard with a scooper and plastic poo bags picking up the scat they like to leave behind. I guess I could just let it lay there and fertilize my flowerbeds, but I have this concern that anything they leave behind is probably poisonous to all living things.
So I decided to broach the subject with her in a noncommittal, non-judgmental, non-defensive way. I wasn’t interested in blasting these toxic people or sending any energy their way that they could feed on. And guess what she said to me. “Oh, I’ve already heard lots of bad stuff about you!”
Anyone else would have asked “Like what?” or “From whom?” or “When?”, but not me. I didn’t ask any of those questions. I didn’t ask because not only did I not want to know, I didn’t care what they had to say.
I have no space in my head for that.
My only defense was quite simple; they do not know me and now, they never will.
But my new friend plunged forward in the conversation before I could react. “I listened to what they had to say and decided to form my own opinion of you. You’re nothing like what they described. I see nothing in you that supports what they told me. I like you and from now on if they persist in gossiping about you I’m going to tell them this is not how I feel about you and good luck with what they’re doing.”
I was pleasantly surprised. I have only had one other friend go to bat for me like this. Partially quoting Voltaire she told them “I do not know what she’s up to, but I do know I will fight to the death for her right to say it!”
Turning your face away from the vileness of others says a lot about you as a person.
I have wondered in the past if I should warn my friends when they were headed for disaster. I decided that unless you think someone will be hurt, or their business ruined, unless it will cause some irreversible damage, why not let people find out on their own just how bad or good another person is? Why spread hate? I know people make mistakes and can be forgiven. I think that’s what makes me different from the toxic people that chatted my friend up about me. I have no delusions that their conversation with her was anything more than their own insecurities coming to the surface. That’s all gossip ends up being, a projection of themselves.
I can’t help wishing that one day something good will happen in their lives. Something so profound and worthy that they will stop in their tracks and regret every single moment they wasted trying to be the bad guy in my life. I wish that for them, with my whole heart, I wish it.
My new friend finished with this “Do you know the reason people gossip about you?” I told her I had my suspicions, but wasn’t sure why I was such a lightening rod. “They do it because you’re articulate and you can express yourself in a very direct way. You are a strong direct woman and that scares the crap out of some people, so they have to tear you down.”
My friend says that women always feel the need to apologize for being strong and for having an opinion. There is a constant reminder to downplay the feminine role and to stroke and raise up the male ego. Even some females are threatened by the strong woman, so they make it their mission in life to rip her to pieces. They have no clue the damage they are doing to themselves when they open their mouths. Why wouldn’t you want to hold someone up that embodied strength and power? Why wouldn’t you want that? If you were alive during the year of the Suffragettes would you have stood across the street from their protests and thrown rocks with all of the other fear mongers?
It is very true that people fear what they don’t know and what they don’t understand. Fear makes folks behave badly.
I find it refreshing to have found this new friend, quite by accident. I find it rewarding to be able to surround myself with like-minded people instead of being bombarded with the antics of the small minded ones. My life has taken a turn for the better and the road ahead of me is paved with gold. If you ever find yourself in a situation similar to this one, keep your head held high. The ones that believe the trash are not the ones you want in your life anyway. It’s the rare gems that you happen upon once all the dirt and the dust has been wiped away. Those are the ones worth waiting for. Those are the ones that will add value to your life.
As for the rest of them, you can’t bother yourself with their fear tactics. It will be a waste of your precious time here and you can’t save them. Take a clue from Eat, Pray Love; Send them love and light every time you think of them and then let them go.
I will never apologize for being strong.
I will never apologize for standing up for what I believe in.
I will never apologize for having an opinion and expressing it.
I will never apologize for being myself.
I will never apologize for living my life, my way.
Life is good.