[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
alpha beta gamma
wasn't sure what to write about today. have lots of things swirling around. a very interesting bit on fidelity and forgiveness is on the horizon, and coulda been a contenda today. but, instead, i'm going to talk a bit about a recent article i read. you can check it out here.
when things hit the proverbial fan, e cited the fact that she and i are both alpha females as the reason we couldn't be friends. she then went on to state that, although we are both alphas, we have fundamentally different approaches: i tend to be "one of the guys" whereas she tends to take the "more traditional girly" approach. i remember that, at the time, i bristled. as a matter of fact, i was hurt and pissed while i bristled. but, i couldn't figure out why. all my life, i have thought that i was, indeed, an alpha female. i have a strong personality that is frequently dominant in group settings. i tend to find a way to take charge of things, if that's what i want to do. i've always felt that i'm independent and strong, and...well, and alpha. i never thought of it as a bad thing.
until that email.
for some reason, when she said i was an alpha, i felt like it was an insult. or that it was a slap in the face. of course, i think it was supposed to feel that way. maybe it was being qualified as a non-traditional alpha that got me. or that i'm "one of the guys" comment somehow made me feel less of a woman. but those explanations for my feelings seemed "off" to me -- i mean, i have always considered myself to be a bit on the "one of the guys" side, and, again, have always thought of that as a strength, not a weakness.
so, what the hell was it that stung so much about her dismissal?
well, after reading the article in the post, i think i get it now.
i'm a gamma girl. not an alpha at all, really. and e...well she's an alpha to the core. and we gammas don't care so much for the alpha girls and their catty ways.
when i started junior high i was really nervous. i grew up on the "wrong" side of the river in my hometown -- we were pretty much a paycheck-to-paycheck kind of family. but, within a few days of starting junior high, i had made the most wonderful new friend. we were thick as thieves, and, holy cow -- she was from the "right" side of the river! dianne was beautiful and popular and stylish...and she picked me to be her best friend.
then came cheerleading try-outs.
i didn't try out -- wasn't really interested. but dianne did, and my junior high world changed overnight. the day after try-outs, the new queens were crowned. and dianne stopped speaking to me. cold turkey. like someone flipped a switch. i waited for her in our usual meeting spots, but she never showed up. it took me a couple of days, but i got the picture.
soon, dianne and her other cheerleading friends were making catty comments about me, as though i couldn't hear them. they were good, too; quick to figure out my most vulnerable spots. my non-nike shoes were a source of much amusement in gym class. i didn't have designer jeans, and, because i was two years younger than all of my classmates, i wasn't allowed to wear make-up yet.
i got a swift and brutal introduction to the alpha girls.
i pined away for the rest of my junior high years, looking longingly at dianne and the other alphas from the outside. i would have done anything to be one of them. i spent the remained of my junior high years as a beta, hoping against hope that, somehow, one day, i'd be one of the "beautiful" girls.
it never happened.
by the time i entered high school, my inner gamma had started to emerge. and that gamma girl grew stronger during my high school years; flourished there, really. class officer, student body officer, yearbook editor, newspaper editor....and, although i still carried the wounds of dianne's dismissal, something inside me changed: i began to see the alpha girls more clearly. certainly my initial judgments of them were colored in part by the pain they had so gleefully inflicted upon me over the years. but, i honestly believe that i came to see them from an objective point of view. they left me alone in high school -- i was no longer the easy target i had once been. there were smaller, weaker fish in the barrel. so i watched as they chose their new targets carefully, and decimated them with joy.
and i saw them then.
i saw how empty they were, how vicious, how vapid, how sad. and i hated them. to me, they came to represent everything i loathe about the stereotypes too often applied to -- and too often true of -- women: catty...shallow...backstabbers...climbers...teases. they used their carefully cultivated appearances to distract from their lack of substance. they manipulated with their mascaraed lashes. they made it harder for women who wanted to be something more. some days they made it impossible.
i think that now i see things more clearly between e and me. she's right: it never would have worked. we truly are not cut out to be friends. but, i like to think that it's not because we're two alphas. but, rather, that i'm a gamma who can't stand what alphas represent. even now, as an adult, i loathe women who manipulate men through their calculated flirtations. women who are by no means stupid, but who act that way to get what they want. women who tear down other women as though it were a sport. women who are threatened by other women and choose to destroy them through gossip instead of challenging themselves to become better opponents on a level playing field. i hate those women.
i am not without fault in the e saga. i think that i lapsed into my old beta self for a bit. i saw the attention she got, and i wanted to believe her assertions that we were thick as thieves. and so i did believe, despite the warning signs. i wanted to sit at the table with the cool kids at lunch. hey, i may be a gamma, but i'm still human. i worshipped at her alpha altar, willing to go along in exchange for the privilege of being in the circle. but, when my gamma self came to her senses and spoke up, things came crashing down.
it was inevitable.
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