"If there is evidence of mal-intent between ordinarily good-hearted women—wherein interactions aimed at one woman have devolved into cruel scorn, exiling, and gossip sopped in ridicule—this often occurs because the soul of one or more of those attempting to intimidate/ harass—has been thwarted in its own creative life unfolding ... and they now turn to 'punish' the one who is still free."
-Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I left one third of my wine, one third of my potatoes, and a book, to hold my place at the bar while I went to (ahem) powder my nose. When I came back, two women had taken my place. I squeezed up to the bar displaying little regard for their, or more accurately, my personal space as the server handed back my change. I had closed my tab before deciding if I was finished. One of them said something about how sorry they were, and that they didn't realize I was coming back. I looked at them with eyes as empty as the apology, and forced my closed lips into a smile shape. I hadn't decided yet how unsettled I should be about this "misunderstanding," when the other chimed in, "We didn't see your book until we sat down." I made the smile shape again, only this time I expressed my discontent by allowing my cheeks to pull my closed lips into a straight line, and my eyes filled with something unforgiving. For a split second, I wondered if I was going to leave on that note. No, I was infuriated by the supposed apologies while they had no intention of even offering my seat back. I said, "generally when someone leaves food, a drink, and a book, they intend to come back." They remained firmly planted on their stools and apologized again. I angry smiled at them harder and walked away. I hind site wish I had said something in a very sweet voice about how maybe next time they'll be a little more mindful.
It wasn't a big deal in the scheme of things, why did it make me so angry? The book I have been immersed in, "Women Who Run With The Wolves," is about, and for, women who are seeking their wild (think free range, natural, organic) nature. I had been sitting on that stool contemplating what it means to be a woman, a friend, and a sister. Their blatant disrespect for my existence and right to that space was a display of Mean Girl Syndrome, the opposite of a wild woman's nature.
Women have the power to nurture and nourish. We can breathe life into ourselves and others. I was angry because these women made me feel invisible. I became angrier when I didn't know how to react with love. Part of me wanted to make them feel small. Part of me wanted to plant a positive seed to inspire different future behavior. What would that seed look like?
In relaying this story, many of my friends said that I should have made them move. What would you have done? Have you been in a similar situation before? Better yet, tell me a story of sisterhood and empowerment!
Women are powerful. Let's build each other up and see how high we can reach!
Thanks for reading, make good choices. :)