September 2, 2009

Confessions of a Reformed Bitch: The Making and Tempering of the Mafia Side

You know how when you were little there was the bully at school and your parents always told you, "He only picks on you because he's insecure"? Well the same can be said of that snarky bitch. I know because that bitch was me. Now I can already hear some of my friends jokingly say "What do you mean 'was'?" but I am going to let that slide. Because I will concede we all have our moments of snarkiness and ill behavior but I am talking about really difficult to deal with bitchiness.

Now I certainly wasn't born a bitch but I was always very sensitive. Being an only child without siblings to pick on me I was easily flustered when teased. In addition to my already delicate nature I had the trauma of a dog attack complete with scarring and was thrown into Gifted and Talented class in Kindergarten. So while other little girls were known for their beauty or charm or talent I was known for a few scars and my brain. I got picked on and teased often. As early as fourth grade I developed aggression disguised as assertiveness to handle the pain. It's so much easier to give people a reason to dislike you, like being snarky, hard to approach, condescending, and dark than to let them choose their own reasons.

As I grew into my high school years the approach became more dramatic. That's right, I became Gothic. I was more than content to have people think I was an evil witch or blood drinking vampire wanna be than to let them in and make up their mind whether or not to like me. While I softened up a bit my senior year in anticipation of college I still kept my edge. In college I realized people were as quick to judge as "adults" as they were as children and adolescence.

Rather than take the high road and evolve into someone who I felt comfortable with I became the bitch. In classes I was a know-it-all, in social interactions I dismissed anyone that bored me, and I prided myself on being verbally scathing. I associated myself with a very close knit group of people who allowed this behavior to continue. Upon graduation I not only had the bitch thing working for me but also that naive recently graduated entitlement that some people in their early 20's get. Then life gave me the smack down.

I realized most of my relationships were superficial. I would have "best friends" that last six months and then I would be quick to judge something they did and never speak to them again. My romantic relationships were also lacking. I became somewhat of a narcissist and then I was alone. Nobody wanted to play my reindeer games. Finally I realized being the bitch is a sad place to be, an ugly place to be.

The first step was to admit I had a problem. Quite simply I didn't like myself. Part of this stemmed from depression suffered since puberty and part of it was the monster I made myself. Not to say I didn't have a good heart but it got overshadowed by my brash callous nature. I didn't want to be the girl that was hard to approach. I didn't want to be hurtful. I wanted to find happiness, find peace, share my light and not my dark.

So through quite a few years of work in therapy, self-assessment, through discovering yoga, and true friendships based on common ground rather than common hate I have become the Cupcake. I still have a Mafia side, but rather than channel that tough edge into the negative I use it to find my strength in challenging moments. Being tough isn't about being a bitch, it's about rolling with life's problems with grace and resilience. I am so honored to now share my life with such amazing people both in real life and my online communities. At times when the bitch tries to creep back in having such amazing people in my life reminds me of how far I have come and I love you all for it.


LMar said...

You've done a wonderful job, Tali. Your beautiful soul shines through loud & clear. I'm very happy to have met you online & am proud to call you my friend. :)


Katie said...

Wow, I feel like you've taken a chance and given the world a true glimpse of the inner workings of Tali! It's a privilege to be part of your online community :)

Tali said...

Thank you both again. I was hesitant at first to put it out there because I thought it was feasible people may be put off. However I realized I wouldn't' be who I am now without my past and that includes the darker sides.


Katie said...

Tali, I admire your guts! And I echo LMarle & is a privilege to know you (even if it's just online for now!). Thank you for being so open and transparent. xoxo


Stephanie said...

An inspiring post for someone who has also been deemed a bitch or mean at times. I feel your pain girl...I was never the pretty girl, I was always the bitchy/bossy girl that nobody liked. Keep up the good work I think you are fantastic. ;-)


Nina said...

I would have never guessed you were "the bitch". You are so thoughtful and wonderful to everyone in our little online community!

-Nina (nsmonkeygir)

Tali said...

Thank you Katie, Stephanie, and Nina. Your words mean so much to me.

XOXO, Tali

Kris Nelson said...

This is lovely, my dear. Through dinner, I never thought you monsterous or narcissistic. I enjoyed you.