Right now

I hate how you made me feel. I hate how you took my trust for granted and manipulated me, knowing I would always give you the benefit of the doubt. You lied and I would believe you because I thought that someone who said they loved me would never lie to me. I thought that someone who said they loved me wouldn’t push me past my comfort zone, or manipulate me, or violate me the way you did.

You know, for the longest time I blamed myself, as I believe many others in my situation do. I thought I should have put my foot down. I should have ended it right away. I should have said no louder, angrier, more forcefully. Those tears and that quiver in my voice shouldn’t have been there. I should have been stronger and then I wouldn’t be where I am today.

As I moved forward, away from you, I put my walls up and prepared for the worst. I was convinced that everyone I was with after you was just like you. I realize now that all these years and even today,  I somehow still blame myself. I told myself that I’m a bad person, and anyone I’m with will eventually see that. When that happens, I know that their eyes will wander and they will find someone better. I am but a stepping stone that is only there to be used.

I am starting to see now that the problem was you. You were so insecure and afraid that you put me down so I was on your level. You sought validation from other girls and used their attention to inflate your own sense of self worth. You were selfish and greedy, so you always took more and more from me even when I told you I had had enough.

Now I am far away from you and I see how love should be, but somehow I am still haunted by the past. I am told to be mindful and grateful for what I have, and I try my best, but I think before I can heal, I have to process what happened. It’s been 7 years. It’s about time.

Thoughts from an imposter Cool Girl

There is a certain type of girl who claims that she’s only friends with guys because “girls cause too much drama”. This is very similar and oftentimes the same as the “I’m not like other girls” girl. In many cases, these girls are insecure, and feel they can only attain their self worth through acting as the “Cool Girl”. I disagree with girls who do this, because they end up putting down our entire gender for their own self gain.

Because I am generally clueless and unobservant, I come across as being very laid-back and generally agreeable. I know that I can be very easy to talk to. I have heard before that I am a Cool Girl. However in the context of this post, when I think of the Cool Girl, I generally think of girls who self-identify as this. I would consider myself therefore as an imposter. As an “imposter Cool Girl”, I felt like self-identifying Cool Girls would constantly try to out-Cool-Girl me back in the day. It was weird. On a more serious note, I truly do believe that the notion of the Cool Girl can be damaging and can set unrealistic expectation for girls. These standards that are set cater to the male interest, and this can be a slippery slope.

In Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, there’s a brilliant monologue about the “Cool Girl” that left me with my jaw on the floor after reading it. It is long, but the entire thing needs to be quoted here.

Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)

The last solid friend group I had in high school happened to be mainly guys, with a smaller group of girls. My best friend at the time were separate from these girls, but I thought we all got along fine. I started dating someone in the friend group. Unfortunately, he happened to be extremely manipulative. A selfish, compulsive liar. He caught me in a time in my life where I was struggling a lot with my depression, and what later was diagnosed as BPD. My self esteem was nonexistent. I never felt very pretty or interesting. I felt worthless. My only external validation was that I was a Cool Girl. I was told that I “wasn’t like other girls” as if this was a compliment. As if it was terrible to be like other girls. These compliments never made me change the way I thought about myself. My self hatred ran too deeply. However, I figured if I could make other people think that I was “Cool”, that might be close enough.

Unfortunately, I believe this reliance on the “Cool Girl compliment” mixed with my atrocious self esteem made me even more vulnerable to abuse. It’s a very clever tactic for some guys, to turn girls against each other. He always talked about his ex, and I felt like that was a bar that I needed to reach. So I was easily coerced into doing things I didn’t want to do. I was easily guilt-tripped into doing things I didn’t want to do.

In the Cool Girls monologue, what hit me the hardest was this: “Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.” Hi, I’m the Cool Girl. Cool Girls are docile and mild mannered. Cool Girls don’t let anything hurt them. Cool Girls aren’t like those other psycho, jealous bitches, right?

I used to be very worried that something was wrong with me because I never seemed to have a lot of female friends. I would condemn myself for being so difficult or so unlikable. Thankfully, I did not let my experiences sour my view of women and I now have many girlfriends that I can talk to whenever I need to. Many of the girls who judged and excluded me in the past actually apologized, and I am now friends with some of them. I believe that it is extremely important for women to stick together.

I think that this (very patriarchal) Cool Girl concept affects lots of women. Some women believe that being the Cool Girl empowers them. I think that these women fail to see the negative consequences of perpetuating the idea of a Cool Girl. I think that many women are afraid of setting boundaries, speaking out, or having meaningful conversations in their relationships because there’s this Cool Girl status that is supposed to be coveted. They let guys walk all over them and pretend to be okay with things that actually really bother them. The entire concept of a Cool Girl drives women apart and sets us back decades. All I can do is to urge females to support females. Have compassion for other women and girls because in a lot of ways, we are all in the same boat.

And finally: know that you don’t have to be the Cool Girl. It’s okay to be bothered by things. You should be able to have an adult discussion with your significant other. If they call you a psycho bitch then there is something wrong with them, not you.

HOW TO DESTROY A GIRLS SELF ESTEEM

TW: this post talks about/alludes to emotional abuse, suicide and sexual assault

  1. Target a vulnerable girl. Someone shy, already slightly insecure, depressed. Get her to open up to you. Shower her with attention and flattery. Write songs for her. Serenade her. Show her grand gestures of love. Make her feel beautiful and worth loving.
  2. As soon as you’ve caught her, there’s no need to try. Lie to her. Start reconnecting with your ex girlfriends and flirting with other girls. Tell her she’s possessive and clingy if she expresses discomfort. Hide your activity and sneak around behind her back. To really make it sting, be just a little careless – enough for her to find some information to be suspicious, but not enough for her to be certain.
  3. When she asks you about any of these things, deny. Even if you weren’t doing anything wrong, just lie for no reason at all. Lie to make her question everything you say. If she sees text messages between you and another girl, delete them and show her your phone again. Make her question her own sanity.
  4. Make sure she knows about how attractive you find other girls. Sometimes people you know, sometimes random models or actresses. Talk about how hot these girls are. Make lewd comments and lust over them openly in front of her. Click the like button on every photo you do this to. This will condition her to remember your reaction everytime she sees a guy like a picture of an attractive girl. The beauty of this is that you can then tell her she’s being jealous and clingy. And every future guy will say the same because they won’t know what you did to make her so insecure.
  5. Tell her how hot she would be if she only looked like those girls. Maybe if she had bigger breasts. If she worked out and got a little more muscular. If she just gained a little weight. Say it in a lighthearted tone, as if they are friendly suggestions and you’re just trying to help. Then there will always be a part of her wondering if she is being compared to others.
  6. Pressure her to sexually gratify you. Make her feel bad if she doesn’t. Make it seem like what you’re asking for is normal. Guilt her. How dare she kiss you and not want to do anything else? She has to finish what she started. No, not later – now. If all else fails, remember you’re a lot stronger than her – just hold her down, ignore that annoying crying and do what you need to do.
  7. If she breaks up with you, make her pay for it. You know she is scared to open up about her depression because she fears she will “infect” the people she loves. So all of a sudden, call her up one night and scream and yell and call her every name you can think of. She’s fucked up and she ruins everyone around her. Tell her she should be ashamed because now you’re depressed and suicidal and it’s all her fault. Tell her you’re going to self harm and kill yourself and it will be all her fault. You know she cares too much and she’s too nice to hang up the phone, so she stays up all night making sure you’re okay while you tell her how awful she is under a guise of hurt and self victimization.
  8. After she finally cuts you out, isolate her from all her friends. She has opened up about all her fears and flaws. Use these against her. Make yourself look like the victim. Make sure she has nobody. Make sure rumors about her keep spreading.
  9. Eventually, she’ll find new friends. She’ll move on and meet someone new. No worries, there’s other ways you can try to control her. Send her anonymous messages over text, Facebook, and on her blog. Taunt her and harass her by threatening to talk to her father, sister, or current boyfriend. She’ll block you, but be persistent. There are so many anonymous apps and platforms available for all your harassment needs.
  10. Make a fake Facebook and email under her name and try to turn people against her. She will be terrified. She will suspect it’s you, but since you’ve turned so many people against her she doesn’t know for sure anymore.
  11. Over the next few years, keep messaging her anonymously. A nice monthly tradition. Say encouraging things to her. Typical stuff like, “Happy New Year! Hope this is the year you finally kill yourself!” Give her comments out of the blue about her outfit or what she’s doing at that moment. This will make her feel on edge. She will constantly be looking over her shoulder or peeking out of windows, unsure of who’s watching her. She will be paranoid and afraid.
  12. Eventually you will give up the game, but don’t worry. The damage has been done. Even years later, she will still have these reactions ingrained in her. When she’s in a healthy, happy, consensual relationship she will sporadically remember how it felt when you forced yourself on her, feel a huge wave of dread and break down. She will always be actively fighting the nagging voice in her head saying, if only you looked more like her. If only you were prettier, fitter, curvier… She will always be suspicious of people’s motives, she will be unable to fully trust any guy. She will self destruct and sabotage relationships with people who truly care for her.

Congratulations! After wasting years bitterly holding a grudge, stalking, harrassing, and intimidating her, you’ve done it. Was it worth it?