Dear Queen Bee,
When we were in high school (and even for a short time in college), you tried to be the center of everyone’s attention. You’d host everything at your house. If we all wanted to go out to dinner, you picked the place. Movie? You chose that too. Everything was under your control.
And, for the most part, we all let it happen. Mostly because we lived in a small town with not much to do, and if someone else was going to plan everything, who were we to stop them?
You and I never really saw eye to eye. Why is that? I always said that it was because you liked to manipulate those around you and I’m not easily manipulated. Now, looking back on those years, I think we had such trouble getting along because I didn’t want to admit that I was just like you.
I didn’t manipulate people or use emotional abuse to get my way, so in that regard, I’m not like you. But, I think the motivations behind the manipulations are starkly familiar to me. Maybe I’m projecting here, but I always felt like you had a sort of inferiority complex and you tried to do everything you could to make up for that. You were smart, but not brilliant. You were pretty, but not gorgeous. You were nice, but not kind. You felt like you weren’t good enough, so you created a situation in which you were the center of attention. Because then, you wouldn’t feel so alone.
And I hated you for it.
In high school, I claimed to hate you because I didn’t like how manipulative you were and I didn’t like the way you would stab your “friends” with your hateful words. Our mutual friend was always self-conscious about her appearance, and you made it your mission to point out her flaws every chance you got. It doesn’t take a Freudian scholar to see why.
Now, I think I hated you because you were a bully trying to mask her own insecurities, which is something I can relate to.
I wasn’t always a good person. I went through a mean girl phase too. But, when I knew you, I wasn’t that girl anymore and being around you constantly reminded me of the person I used to be – the person I hated.
So, hating you really didn’t have much to do with you at all. It was about hating the reflection of myself I saw in you. The one I was afraid of becoming once again.
As time went on, we tolerated each other out of habit or fear or routine. But, one day, everything came to a head. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I didn’t like who I had become – a mundane, drone-like follower of your lead. I had allowed myself to be taken over, and I didn’t like it.
That’s the day I said goodbye. Or, more accurately, the day that I stopped answering my texts or phone calls. The day we stopped knowing each other.
From that day on, you became nothing more than “a girl I went to high school with.” I’m totally fine with that definition of our relationship. We can be cordial when we see each other – nice even – but that doesn’t mean we should ever be friends again.
Our friendship wasn’t real. It wasn’t healthy. It was toxic. It was built out of the insecurities we both tried to hide.
Thank you for reminding me of toxicity I didn’t want in my life. I hope you’ve come to grips with your insecurities. I haven’t completely worked through mine yet, but maybe you’ve had better luck with yours.