Gosh, I love a good gossip, a good salacious slander of someone else. But it's terribly terribly toxic for me and it's something that I just can't indulge in today.
Thing is, I have way more to lose these days. I have self respect, I like who I am, I'm in a good relationship. I have a son and an unborn child on the way. My family and friends have been gracious enough to let me attempt to repair the damage that my years of oblivion have done. I have a purpose today that is directed by God.
But what trap have I fallen into more often than not in my recovery? Gossip. And it's so bloody addictive, and it's so so so so bad for me. The more I judge you, the more I judge me, the more uncomfortable I am in my life and the more I reach out for answers that seek to numb that judgement. I gossip enough, and I find that I don't want to have conscious contact with a Higher Power, I don't want to do the right thing. I want to lay in my bed, sending gossipy texts about how I hate everyone,and "did you see what she was wearing!?!" surrounded by copious amounts of drugs, food, magazines and alcohol and numb the heck out of myself. That's where my disease takes me... sometimes my emotions are too much for me to handle and I fall back into old ways of self medicating.
I always feel like crap, though, and it's funny how my friendships with those I gossip with tend to end badly. I made friends with a pair of besties a couple of years ago,and I was thrilled to be invited into their funny, fashionable, bitchy, gossipy circle. They were both younger than me, and we would complain about other people, and how mundane and crap they were, how wonderful we were and how they should just get it/stop using incorrect grammar/stop wearing bad fashion/stop being a bitch. We loved sending little pithy text messages and emails with new and interesting ways to insult the idiots who dared to be less fabulous than us. It was horrendous, but it was wonderful. I was in a lonely place in my life, where the fog of Post Natal Depression had lifted, and I felt better, but I'd yet to find myself a new place in the town where I was living. So I let myself be defined as fabulous by the company I kept. They are both very talented people, and I felt kinda important by association.
Can you guess what happened? I couldn't have predicted it, but I fell out of favour. I started not getting the invites to the after parties. I started to be too needy in pursuing their friendship and started meeting a brick wall in response. I felt a sense of slowly mounting fear, because I knew what would happen to those who weren't invited to the post-event McDonald's sessions. They'd be seriously torn to shreds by witty gossip. I knew that was going to be happening to me. I felt afraid and cast adrift, and in that madness, I clung onto my friends. It ended badly. I cried and begged in a way that no self-respecting thirty-something woman should do. But, it ended. I had to respect their silence and that my repeated attempts to contact them were just digging my own grave of loser-dom.
You know what, though? I ran into one of them the other day. It had been years since I saw her, and three years ago, we were closer than close. It was nothing for us to text each other several times a day. She made me a series of mix tapes when she moved away for uni.... but running into her in the shopping centre, it couldn't be more clear that she found me repulsive. I was surprised to see her and said "Hey!!" She didn't even glance up from her phone, and uttered a disgusted "hey". I was shocked and surprised and struggled for words. "how are you?", I trembled out..... Her phone received another few scrolls, and then she deigned to answer me with a muttered "good". I stood stock still, not sure what to do, then I realised that the best thing to do was to walk on. It really was over. I couldn't win her back with a funny aside or a bitchy comment. The casket of our friendship had slammed shut while I was still trying to ressuciate it. Time to let it go.
Do you know the funny thing, though? I still miss them. I still miss their amazingly witty sense of humour, I miss the warm glow of their talent, I miss their fashion and style. But, I don't miss the gossip. Much as I want to run after them and assure them that I'm still cool, I know it's healthier for me to pursue friendships where I don't talk about others. Sometimes it's quiet and lonely when I don't talk about other people...and I've realised that is what gossip gives us...a sense of belonging...a sense that other people don't belong and don't get it, but we do. It's a false belonging, though. Our belonging rests on others not belonging, and that is no belonging at all. Today, I belong in that I am true to myself. I belong in that I try to be the best me that I can, and support and applaud you for being the best me that you can. :)