Junior high never ends and mean girls are everywhere.

I was at a meeting where a female acquaintance sidled up next to me. “So, Cha Cha,” she said, with That Look. “How’s being a full-time self-employed writer going?”

Immediately, my inner junior high girl issued a red alert. I repeat, a red alert: Mean Girl in the Building!

I girded my loins and smiled graciously. “It’s going GREAT,” I replied. Inside, I was bartering with my big stoopid mouth: “If you don’t mention doing laundry or how you empty the dishwasher like a boss, you can have ice cream later. Keep it together!”

Mean Girl flinched almost imperceptibly, but soldiered on. “Oh, really?” She raised an eyebrow. “What are you working on?”

Working on killing you with my mind, bitch. “I have a bunch of websites I’m working on, and a magazine article. It’s really great,” I said, smile still intact. Inside, I’m all, “Yeah, that’s about right. ‘A bunch’ isn’t that far of a stretch from ‘1 client website and my blog that I would never in a gajillion years tell you about.’ I’m still telling the truth.”

“It’s really freeing to be away from Corporate America?”

Almost as freeing as it would be to kick you in the neck. “Uh-hmm.” I AM STILL SMILING!

“Oh,” said Mean Girl, admitting defeat in the battle but not the war. “You know, I do a ton of writing. You know, as a lawyer, everyone thinks all I do is courtroom stuff, but all I do is write. I write 25 or 30 pages a day.”

Just as I was wondering if I was really going to have to play the female version of “Whose Junk Is Bigger?,” Mean Girl Sidekick showed up and inserted herself into the conversation.

“Ohmigawwwwd, I write all the time, too,” said Sidekick. “Nobody thinks an auditor writes, but I do, like, all the time. It’s good that I’ve always been a really great writer. I write so much. So much.”

About this point, I started attempting an on-demand out-of-body experience. Mean Girl and Mean Girl Sidekick spent 3 minutes and 27 seconds discussing the vagaries of deadlines, and how they aren’t real. Which, of course, any “real” writer knows. AHEM.

I was trying to be polite, but finally I gave up on the out-of-body experience. I picked up my purse and excused myself, as I didn’t feel like justifying homicide to the police.

I’m annoyed, but mostly I just call bullshit.

It’s bullshit that some people always have to one-up the next guy, even when it’s clearly not a competition. If it were a competition, clearly, I would win. Because I am a professional writer who writes all the time and is paid to write and studied writing and continues to work to perfect my fucking craft every damned day. Sure, I’m carefully crafting web copy for Bob’s Mattress Shack, but I’m also typing my real self into personal words and stories, spreading my soul like homemade preserves onto thin, delicate bread.

It’s hard. Even when exactly 2 people read, it’s hard.

And because I write about my real self, I can also call bullshit on myself. I just might be a bit overly sensitive about my new role, and may have a teensy habit of projecting my darkest “Cha Cha is just a lazy loser” fears.

But worse than that?

You how I made myself feel better about this entire junior-high interaction? I looked at myself in the mirror when I got home. I looked at my mascara, and my antique necklace, and my kick-ass cowboy boots. And I thought, “Those bitches are just jealous because I’m so much cuter than they are.”

Because again, we’re all in junior high. I’m no better than they are.

But it did make me feel better.

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  • Reply cookingwithgas May 8, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Mean girls suck!
    There, is that like,better?
    Even at my age they are still out there.
    And, they still know how to twist the blade.
    Keep on, you are way more cute than they are.

  • Reply Cyndi B. May 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Those gals are jealous of more than how hot you are. They're jealous because you're doing something they don't have the guts (or talent?) to do. Cut the aprons strings to soul-sucking Corporate America and work your craft. So instead of celebrating and encouraging you, they play the one-up game? Ugh, woman have enough to slog through in this world. Why can't we support our sisters?

  • Reply BlueBells May 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Be assured, when the mean girls get going… We have your back!

  • Reply Cassi Renee May 8, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I think I'm having flashbacks. That was a scary time. And my daughter is just starting it, and it's just as scary as her parent.

    You make me laugh. I doubt that the lawyer and auditor can write to make anyone laugh 🙂

  • Reply Gary's third pottery blog May 8, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    yes, a person does wish sometimes that most people would STFU 🙂

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin May 9, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Ugh. People who make you feel that way are the worst sort of poison. Good job keeping your loins girded and staying in battle with a clear head.
    Bitches indeed.

  • Reply sherilee May 9, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Can't stand the small and petty types. Yeah for people who are generous and kind and encourage people they come in contact with. More of THEM, please!

    And yeah! for you, Cha Cha, for calling BS on the corporate schtick!

  • Reply Ilyanna Kreske May 9, 2013 at 5:55 am

    I think your fandom could take those two with just one paragraph. I bet they spell it righting, too. feh. I come to your page because you ARE a great writer, and you ARE open and honest and I have come to care about you from afar. And your bravery in dealing with SuperMegaCorp and the barren fields and starting a business is awe inspiring. Stupid mean girls don't have a clue. You rock.

  • Reply itsjustme May 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    And, to be clear, you ARE wayyyyyy better than they could ever hope to be.

  • Reply Banjo Unfabulousness May 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Bitches be hatin…….. they are just jealous because you have the courage to be your AUTHENTIC self and are rocking it!

  • Reply Patience_Crabstick May 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Your last line sums it up. Congratulations on getting free of corporate BS and let those two poisonous bitches eat their hearts out.

  • Reply Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect May 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Uggghhhhh. I hate those girls.

    I also hear the bullshit you're calling on yourself. Every time someone has asked me in the past six weeks about my "new job," I've immediately felt my shoulders rise and my jaw tighten. I know they are actually asking with the nicest of intentions, but that does not stop me from being overly sensitive about JUST EXACTLY WHAT I'M DOING ALL DAY NOW.

    *sigh* Whatevs. We are both awesome. And no, I don't think fancy pants lawyers and auditors get to call themselves writers. So there.

  • Reply Jen Anderson May 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    They're just jealous because they;re stuck writing boring stuff. Poorly.

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