by Linda Massi
The saying goes 'There are three versions of the story: his, hers, and the truth'. But the truth can be a make-believe slippery fish swimming upstream, impossible to catch.
In my hypothetical Disney Channel film, I was starring as the quirky girl at the back of the class. “I’m sure you’re wondering how I got here. Well, let’s start from the beginning!”. That's what I thought was going to be my opening line. But, as it turned out, in November 2018, I was playing the blonde girl with straight hair all along. The mean one, the antagonist.
I started dating a guy my dear friend was infatuated with and she doesn’t talk to me anymore.
Can I blame her? I broke the golden rule of girl code.
I’m not going to add more because I wouldn’t be able to tell the whole story without making you side with me. See, even now I’m struggling to keep my fingers away from typing justifications and adding context. So instead I’m going to explain the questions I was left with; Is it fair to reduce events only to facts? If you hurt someone, does it matter whether they have any right to feel so upset? And what do you do about the feeling of guilt?
In response to my friend cutting me off, I started wondering if I had ever been a good friend, or even, a good person. Have I always been manipulative and selfish? Mid breakdown, I thought about cutting my hair hoping a new ‘do’ would give me a new personality. Despite the hairdresser’s appointment, deep down I knew I was a good person, I just needed her confirmation.
I broke the golden rule of girl code...I started wondering if I had ever been a good friend, or even, a good person. Have I always been manipulative and selfish?
6 months into the friendship falling apart, I was caught with a pang of guilt and a need to try and make amends of some kind with the person I had hurt. After going about this in an indirect fashion, trying to rope a friend into helping pass on a Birthday message, I realised that I was only reaching out to the person I had upset with the hope of being forgiven. Something which I knew I was doing for my own peace of mind. On reflection, I recognise that I was behaving like the ex-partner who won't get the hint that you don't want to see them anymore. I had to swallow my own frustrated feelings and respect this person's decision that they didn't want me in their life.
When I was in the whirlwind of guilt and fighting, every person I’d talk to would describe me as either a pristine angel or an unsummoned devil. Only one friend reminded me that I was standing right in the middle, as a human. She said: “Everyone is shitty sometimes. This time, you’re the shitty one”.
We read about having to disconnect with toxic people all the time, but what if you’re the toxic one? I guess you accept it, let them find a way to re-create their happiness as you did with yours.
It’s true, I wasn’t blameless. I also wasn’t wrong in putting my happiness first, because no one else cares about it as much as I do. And my friend had every right to do the same. It’s hard to understand that people don’t need any more reasons to cut you off as long as you don’t make them happy anymore. We read about having to disconnect with toxic people all the time, but what if you’re the toxic one? I guess you accept it, let them find a way to re-create their happiness as you did with yours.
I still think about her sometimes. The only splotch on my otherwise candid canvas, the one riddle I couldn’t solve. I wonder if she still thinks about me badly. If she does, I choose not to worry. At the end of the day, it isn’t me she’s torturing with the role of a villain, but her own version of me. She’s the author of that book, and she gets to call the shots and assign the parts.
You can follow more of Linda Massi's work by following her on Instagram @lindasaidmeow