This post is filed under the category MOM DON’T READ THIS which is a new series of posts my mom is not allowed to read because of reasons. Everybody else, carry on as normal. Mom, Jules and George are waiting for you.
I performed a slightly censored version of this literary vat of acid yesterday at the Wednesday Open Mic sessions at Kwa Haraba Arts Cafe (hosted by Vilipanganga Poetry Movement, 6PM – 7PM).
PS: no one is paying me to say that but if enough of you guys tell them you heard about it from me I might be able to get a free beer out of this or something. Who knows?
I wrote this two years ago to explore my inability to live up to my personal politics amidst the messy tornado of un-woke feelings regarding early twenties dating life. (Also, a lot of this was inspired by my own experiences which is as embarrassing as it is nerve wracking to share.)
Okay, all that’s left is for me to warn you that this piece is profanity laced from the get go and if that sort of thing makes you a bit squeamish, me from 2 years ago and present me totally understand if you skip this one.
Dear Side Chick
I think about your pussy a lot. I wonder if it felt the same, to him, as mine. You carry promiscuity on the sleeves of your tarnished arms - the ones you slather with perfumed oils and cheap lotions to make them lighter than they’re supposed to be, because this world didn’t teach you to love the richness of your melanin. I like that you’re not ashamed of your sexuality. I’m not either.
But side chick, I don’t like you. It’s not because he fucked you, I promise. It’s not because this motherfucker made me feel insane for being insecure and suspicious and made me believe I was an emotionally needy piece of shit. It’s not because he denied it all the goddamn time. It’s not because he made a mockery of my love and loyalty. It’s not because of the disrespect I feel or the anger that burns in me for all the shit I let myself go through for someone who was never, not in the slightest, ever fucking worth it. The emotional baggage I have is not your fault. It’s his. My loathing for you has nothing to do with him outside of him being the reason you and I are unfortunately connected.
Bitch, I don’t like you because you’re stupid!
How the fuck do you reason? According to your outspoken testimony, the following is true: you slept with a boy (several times, as you’re always quick to add), you learned that this boy had a girlfriend, you stopped sleeping with him, an unspecified amount of time passed in which you decided that I - a person who has never wronged you, let alone met you - would be the subject of your verbal assaults; assaults in which I am denigrated constantly and all you ever mention of him is the fact that he slept with you.
See bitch? You’re stupid!
You’re stupid because you think this is a contest. You’re stupid because you think that trash fire human could be worth instigating a feud between us. You’re stupid for bad mouthing me for no other reason than me being the “legit” one. You’re stupid because you still think all of this - all of my disgust with you - is about him; that I lost my shit on you because we’ve shared a dick. It’s not my fault he pretends he doesn’t even know your name. It’s not my problem that he’ll swear up and down and left and right that you’re a liar. That shit is on him.
So why’d you go and start this mess?
This mess where no one comes out clean. The mess where we’re in a salon and I’m literally calling you a stupid bitch. The mess where someone comes into the small shop and lies about there being a funeral nearby just so all the shouting can stop. The mess where I’m talking at you, mocking you for not being able to construct full sentences in English. The mess where I remark, internally, at how unattractive you are - as if that matters, as if that’s even worth anything; as if me thinking you are ugly diminishes your value as a person in any way.
The mess where my need to stand up for myself and take no shit from an atrocious imbecile like yourself wins over my deep rooted sense of sisterhood and my (apparently wavering) belief that women mustn’t let men corrupt how we feel and behave towards each other. The mess where I find myself keeping a mental scoreboard for all the ways I am better than you. The mess where my methods of determining my superiority reveal my unwitting compliance to the destructive tools the fucking patriarchy uses to divide us all. Stupid, imaginary things like wealth and education and “class”.
I hate you because I can’t control my profound belief that I am better than you. I know that it is wrong. I know these thoughts are infantile and problematic and that by thinking them, I injure both of us.
But here I am feeling superior because I’m getting a college education and you’re not. Better because you look so “trashy” and I don’t. Because my parents can afford to put me up in a house and you live with your older sister. Because you like shitty clubs like Chez Ntemba and aren’t embarrassed about it, and I read books in my spare time. Because I know better than starting drama with another woman over fucking dick!
You see what your stupidity did? It made me a hypocrite.
Before you happened, I didn’t know that I still value the useless social demarcations I keep using to differentiate us. Side chick, I really do believe that women should stand together and be more united instead of letting the folly of men divide us. But here I am, using the social privileges I enjoy in life to make you lesser than me.
Side chick, you made me realise that my feminism and humanism have failed to equip me with the tools required to deal with women like you. Women who are taking too long to shed their internalised misogyny (yes, I know I’m being a hypocrite again. I clearly have some more shedding to do myself). Women who don’t understand that our fraught dynamics were instilled by men to distract us from or minimise their own assholery. Women who don’t get that it doesn’t have to be a competition.
I don’t know how to get the best of a woman like you except by sinking low and taking callous swings. There are more emotionally healthy women out there who would’ve risen above. They would’ve trusted their knowledge that your stupidity and messiness would have adverse effects to their sanity and let you wallow alone in your deluded wrath instead of engaging it. Problem is I’m not an emotionally healthy woman. “Do no harm but take no shit,” means a great deal to me and I wasn’t going to take shit from you.
I hope I unlearn that. I hope that I acquire the patience to deal with women like you. Side chick, I don’t want to be the sort of person who furthers oppressive and damaging mentalities. And I don’t want to be the kind of person who can only be satisfied by adding my own chaos, however righteous, to ultimately useless situations like a dumb bitch slandering me because my ex won’t publicly acknowledge knowing her biblically.
Side chick, I think that’s why I hate you the most. I hate that you are a lesson. I hate that you’re the lens by which I must evaluate my shortcomings as a feminist and human being.
Maybe I should thank you. It is your stupidity, after all, that is teaching me. One day I might but not today. Today, you’re still a stupid bitch that I hate.
I’ll go ahead and say it for you: Yikes!
(Thoughts? Criticisms? Questions about where I purchase this sort of rage? The comment section awaits you!)
If you’d like to read more of my work, you can check out my short story Quiet Revolutions.