I hadn’t been to a bar in months because, y’know, there’s a pandemic and shit, but it was my birthday and my best friend needed to buy me drinks because especially in times like this, tradition is more important than ever. So I did what I always did: put on a tight, short dress, five inch heels, and hobbled over to the bar right at opening so I could drink two bottles of wine and various shots with my best friend. I was very excited to be perched at one of the sparse, outdoor tables at the bar, watching the people coming and going, pretending like everything was fine as we traded stories of our relatively un-debaucherous quarantine lives, when of course people started milling about. Oh, yeah – I wasn’t the only person out there who was desperate for a simulacrum of bar life and socializing. This, of course, meant that all the most lonely, pathetic people were coming out of the wood works. As I sat there, sneering into my drink, I couldn’t help but judge all the people who were coming to the bar for a drink during a fucking pandemic, while also reminding myself that I, too, was there. That being said, it was only a matter of time before someone irritated me, and seeing as I was six drinks in already, I couldn’t help but pop off after this rando who had ambushed our table declared, “I have only slept with two black women in my life!” Ugh, please, I did not leave the house today so I could experience a helping of casual racism. So, true to style, I started screaming at him to shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Because it was my birthday, and I was turning 33 years old, and screaming at someone while drunk felt like the appropriate thing to do. However, the people at the table next to us did not appreciate my screaming fit, which then devolved into me screaming at them, so…
It sounds like you’ve been in toxic relationships.
I had been texting the boy du jour about the miscommunication patterns in my two pivotal romantic relationships when he sent me that. Ugh. Gag. I had been trying to explain to him that while, yes, a person’s true nature – e.g. their motivation in life, their character, their core desires – don’t change, the way that a person’s personality manifests varies based on the circumstances, and sometimes their partners create the circumstances which can cause a person’s behavior to change. I don’t know how that turned into him pitying me for having gone through some toxic bullshit, so I let him know Yes, and I am the common denominator in those relationships. Because I was trying to be honest with him because of course I actually like this one, but then again I always like the boy du jour until the jour is over.
Really? Maybe you’re just unlucky.
Ugh. Fuck. Here I am, trying to be honest and vulnerable about the fact that I am an adult woman who consensually opted into long term romantic relationships with people who were no good for me (and for whom I was no good), and this is a recurring theme in pretty much all personal relationships, and I know that I do that, and I’m not trying to stop, and…it just fell on deaf ears. I’m just a toxic woman, looking for love, and I’m trying to be accountable and responsible throughout this process! Where is my BuzzFeed think piece on ethical dating for toxic women, or my Vice News ‘how to’ guide?
My friends pity me for my ‘bad’ relationship choices, too. As though I’m a victim of some extenuating circumstances that have lead me into great love and grand heart break. But I am beyond circumstance. I have made these decisions, whole heartedly and fully aware of the consequences. I have no problem taking ownership of my narcissistic, self indulgent decisions that have lead to blow up after blow up. But perhaps my friends are just trying to be good friends. Perhaps they are sick of watching me self harm through romantic relationships over and over again. If only somebody knew how to make me stop.
I have no desire to be a leader. Or a manager. Or a boss. Or an owner. I am an anarchist, and as such I have a duty to be the most disruptive follower out there. I demand of my leaders that they lead me, that they steer my wayward, meandering ass towards the place where I want to go. I insist that my managers manage me, that they cope with my personal shortcomings, my sloth, my insouciance in order to get the best out of me. To own me is to the do the hard work of making all this potential become worthwhile. To boss me is to labor under the hope that I will be worth it. Being a follower is not a passive, sheep-like occupation. It is a constant act of rebellion. It is a pure expression of selfishness to stray from the pack. I demand to be lead to a better place, and I demand that my leaders take me there. Or I will go there myself, and anyone who wants can tag along, but I will not be leading the way.