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What's Wrong with Nice Guys?

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Heartless, at last...

by Sabre

A long time ago, in a world far removed from where I am now, I submitted a request to join Heartless Bitches. Imagine my surprise, no, my thrill, when I found myself not only accepted into the ranks, but listed as an exemplary member. Nearly a decade has gone by, if memory serves (sometimes it chooses not to) and I often find myself returning to that entry to remind myself of where I've been and how hard it was to get to where I am.

I find myself reflecting upon those words, wondering if I really understood what I was writing at the time, or if I was just in a case of serious denial. Either way, I find myself in dire need of confession.

I was not a heartless bitch.

Not by a long shot.

I was a wretched and abused creature, striving for independence from one of the most vile relationships I've ever had the misfortune to undertake. I was confused, wanting so much to be who I was, but fearful of expressing myself outside of written words. The man I was involved with was attracted to my strength... and repelled by it. He spent nearly six years trying to break me down. In the end, he almost did.

He shredded my life, my spirit. And at the last moment, it was not I who left, but he who walked away. He had left before, the door slamming shut as tears streaked down my face, and I chastising myself for being too sensitive and not understanding his needs. And he would come back, and I, like a child, would be grateful for his return. That last time though, there were no tears. Only a blessed sense of relief and self awareness that I had not felt in years. He tried to come back, but my eyes had been opened. In part due to the words I found myself reading over and over again on your site.

He was not the classic Nice Guy. He was much more upfront and brutal with his opinion of women. It took a great deal of inner searching for me to realize that my need for his approval was deeply rooted in my childhood. As a person who believes that we have all had our burdens to carry and we must shoulder on despite the weight, it never occurred to me that I was reliving my childhood over and over. It was some strange form of punishment that I imposed upon myself and still do not fully grasp.

Therapy, a few relationships, several years, and a thousand miles later, I've finally, only just finally, begun to accept that I deserve better than what I have allowed myself. I reclaimed my life, moved beyond the financial and emotional poverty through sheer will alone, and in the process am beginning to fall in love with my own spirit.

Oh, I've been called a heartless bitch a thousand times. The current man in and out of my life likes to say that I am dominant and sometimes overbearing. I say his issue is not that I am dominant and overbearing (I am neither of these) but rather that I am not demure and will call bullshit when I see it. I am not mean, I am not cruel. I will stand up for myself, and will not eat a spoonful of shit and say thank you. Does that make me a heartless bitch? Oh, probably. Does it make me proud? Definitely.

I sent that letter in a million years ago, under my "craft" name. Seems like such a long time ago, and my agnostic self scoffs at the memory of me dancing under the light of the moon in an attempt to change my life.

Since then, I've moved from that miserable poverty stricken life, live in the Metro DC area, and am a corporate whore hoping the housing market tumble will work in my favor this summer. The reminder of the woman I once was - stuck in abuse and poverty in a tiny run down house with three kids, three cats, a dog, and an unemployed abusive partner - is a painful one. But it is also an important one. Everything I've done since leaving that place, I've done on my own. I've been assertive in my life, planned it out, mapped out it, and put my brains to work. Who knew that being a geek girl with no college education would pay off?

I still dance in storms, I still go by Sabre with my close friends, and I still believe that whiney babies suck and victim mentality bites. However, I've also learned that there -is- such a thing as the patriarchy, and it is vile. I've learned that not everyone coming from bad circumstance has the fortitude to push beyond. I've learned that you can be beaten down enough to stay down and buy into your own unworth. I've also learned that I'm a lot fucking stronger than I ever realized.

After I've rambled for a bit here, I'm sure you are wondering what my point is, if any.

My points are these:

You inspired me to be myself. Thank you.
You brought me laughter when I needed to laugh. Thank you.
You showed me that it was okay to be angry when I needed to be angry. Thank you.
You helped me save myself. Thank you.

That this site has gone along all of these years, since the terrible dark days of HTML 2.0, is a testament to the fact that we need it. It helps to remind us, when we are questioning ourselves about that guy who seems oh so nice if not a bit skeezy, that we don't have to be demure and eat a spoonful of shit.

Thank you for continuing to take on the mass of Nice Guys who think they are owed something, for doing verbal battle (or just verbal slicing and dicing) of misogynistic assholes who think they are owed something, for attempting to educate the princesses buying into the patriarchy, and for still, after all of these years, giving me something to giggle at. When you hit your 40s, you begin to find a lot of things to laugh at, and you (collective) continue to provide the goods.

I'd like to rewrite my entry if possible. There isn't a steady man in my life, and even if there was my story wouldn't be about him. It'd be about me. I did this, as a single mother, fighting against a lot of odds (oh hai DC job market that insists on a college degree... kicked your ass, didn't I?), with nothing but willpower and the moral support of some really great women across the country.

And if not possible, well I guess I'll just live with it. Life doesn't come with a do-over.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. Thank you again for the site. It truly was a life saver, believe it.

Most heartlessly yours,

Sabre


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