What becomes of the faithless?
Leaving the church was one of the most challenging things I'd ever had to do. It was like taking a part of myself and cutting it off.
I was in mourning. I didn't realize that is what it was at the time. I hadn't even cried when she passed. If I am being honest with myself the last time I cried I was 12 years old. There was simply no room in these eyes of mine for tears.
The woman who had treated me with a kindness that I had never known. The woman who loved me in spite of myself was gone.
I can imagine you pulling out the worlds tiniest violin to play a sad song for me.
"Do you want some cheese with that whine?" you'll joke and I will laugh an awkward laugh while I am secretly plotting your downfall.
Yes, go ahead and mock my suffering, you are well on your way to becoming a mean girl. You should be proud of yourself. How challenging it must be to make someone else feel low in order to build yourself up. I should know. I had stock in it. I could retire on these shares.
Who would I be if I expected you to feel sorry for me? I will never ask for your pity. I don't want or need it. You need me, let's not forget your place. Rant over.
She was gone. I questioned everything. Leaving the church left me with an even bigger hole in my heart if that's even possible.
Yet, leaving Mr. Sunshine felt like nothing. I thought I would be sad. I thought that I should feel something about this loss and yet...there was nothing. It was as though he never really existed in my life.
I still had the gifts he had given me but I didn't feel a longing for him. If I was being honest with myself I felt much more for Mr. Beautiful (even Tom) than I had for Mr. Sunshine. It was crazy to feel so little for someone you were open to marrying one day.
Mr. Sunshine, made me feel special and I loved that about him. He would come over and spend time at my home and he would tell me that he loved me and I wanted to love him in return. I thought I did...yet...I felt nothing. The absence of him did not leave me hollow. I was indifferent.
Maybe it was because I had turned those feelings into hatred or maybe it was because the feelings were never real to begin with. I'll never know because every time I look back I feel nothing. I don't remember ever looking upon his face with love and that is a curious idea since I was prepared to marry him. What had I seen when I looked into his eyes? Was there ever a moment when I felt affection towards him?
Then there was Tom, with his stupidly frustrating voice but beautiful face. Tom, and the way he would make me feel alive. He magnetized me with his touch and I melted into him. He could have been so much more than he was but I could never get passed the way he spoke to me.
He held more power over me than Mr. Sunshine. Mr. Sunshine, the man who pestered my father into teaching him how to drive only to turn around and fail twice before passing. He frustrated me greatly with his stupidity.
He was placed over me in the church merely because he was born a male and not because he had deserved it. This was the world we lived in. I should accept my place. Sound familiar?
If I press my mind and think back I can remember moments. Him and I sitting in the living room watching a movie, his hands laced through mine. His face buried into my neck as he would take slow breaths inhaling my scent. It tickled at first. I felt safe in his arms.
It felt as though he cherished me and I liked the way that felt. I liked the way he would pull me even closer into him as though letting me go for even a moment meant that I would leave an emptiness where my body used to be.
When I would attempt to move he would pull me into a tighter embrace. I'd turn my face to look at him.
"I have to get up" I'd say.
"Just one more minute" he would smile as his light brown eyes glimmered. Happiness.
That's what was there when he looked at me. I imagine, that my eyes shard the same secret. In those moments, I was truly happy.
Leaving the church was difficult because I lost everything in one swoop. I no longer had any friends, a purpose, or activities. Everything that I had done in my life revolved around the church and now it was in my rear-view mirror and I didn't know where I was heading.
I got a job working at the Gap over at the World Trade Center. This job was a lot more fun than I would have thought it would be. They gave incredible employee discounts and if you worked the third shift you had a ton of fun revamping the entire store.
The nights would fly by and before you knew it your shift was over and the store looked brand new. I.Loved.The.Third.Shift.
Making friends came easily and what was even more important was the fact that I didn't feel like I had to pretend to be someone else. I was just Cathy, and I was free to be nice to whomever I wanted without their being an ulterior motive. I wasn't trying to recruit anyone, I wasn't trying to prove anything to anyone, I was just being me.
It is interesting that even when you aren't trying you still manage to be exactly who you are. I still attracted the same type of person and I still behaved the same way even though I was no longer in the church. If I am being honest with myself, my behavior had been the same from before the church.
I just didn't want to see it. It is easier to see yourself with rose colored glasses on. It makes it just a little more tolerable when you can tell yourself that you are a good person. That you are kind. You don't use people and discard them when you are done. That isn't who you are.
You are not the mean girl, that title belongs to someone else. Hey! Did I just catch you looking at me? Of course I did! I wouldn't be me if you weren't you.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. If so, please vote for it. As always I welcome your comments. Updated 2/3/19
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