(Dedicated to a dear friend who is currently struggling with haters who aren’t worth the ground she walks on: “Keep on rollin’ Baby and do what you do, ‘cause haters gonna hate, no matter what you
Do you know what I’ve discovered? Mean people really do suck! You can find them everywhere where two or three humanoids are gathered: in your family, in your schools, in the workplace, in your place of worship, driving on the highways, or serving in public office (“cough—Michele Bachmann”). There’s always that one person who thinks God died and made them the reigning deity or CEO of the Universe, who gets to decide whether you’re “following the rules” to their satisfaction, or if you’re a “real American” (“COUGH-COUGH—Sarah Palin”), or if you’re going to Heaven or Hell (“A-CHOO!—Pat Robertson”) . If you’re strong enough you’ll spend half your time keeping these haters from trying to take over your life, but if you’re weak, sometimes through no fault of your own, they will walk all over your heart with cleats and serve you up to the vultures (the haters that roll with them) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
“Haters”|Image from motifake.com
You have to learn early how to “get over” on the haters or they will beat the shit out of you if you’re vulnerable. And if you are pint-sized and vertically challenged as I was as a child, then your mouth has to become your first weapon of choice, and your first volley needs to punch them in the gut with the power of a sledge hammer so that they can’t easily get back up and retaliate. As a child, “Your Mama” jokes served as the best salvos to attack the person’s nearest and dearest on every front from their mama’s size to her intelligence. The quicker you were as a kid with the mama taunts, the faster you could demoralize your opponent—no matter what their size—because what little kid doesn’t love their mother?
“Yo mama so fat when her beeper goes off, people think she is backing up.”
“Yo mama so stupid she put paper on the television and called it ‘paper view.’”
“Yo mama so poor when I saw her kicking a can down the street, I asked her what she was doing? She said, ‘Movin’.”
When you grow up as part of a ghetto trash heap as I did in The Cleve, you learn that you’re always going to have haters either trying to keep you beneath them on that heap (“Yo mama’s got two gold teeth, one says 24k and the other says ‘Believe that shit if you want to’”), or trying to keep you from getting out and leaving them behind (“You ain’t never gettin’ outta this dump, asshole—you need money to do that! Yo Mama so poor I walked into your house and three roaches tripped me and tried to take my wallet!”). I’ve had hardcore haters from various races and both sexes all my life, but it breaks my heart to say that most of my haters have been women. Why do women do this to other women?
“Bitchy Women”|Image from imikimi.com
I don’t get it! I’ve been in church choirs, I’ve led Bible study groups, I’ve lived in a Christian commune, I’ve been a secretary and a school teacher, I’ve toured with an opera company, and I’ve been in too many professional theater productions to count, but almost without exception, it was the women—my sisters (be they black or white)—that got on my every last nerve. Some bitch always tries to set herself up as the “Alpha” biotch, and then she surrounds herself with her hand-picked court (think Rizzo, Frenchy, and the Pink Ladies from the musical Grease) and tries to run rough-shod over everybody else.
The Pink Ladies from “Grease” (Didi Conn, Stockard Channing, and Dinah Manoff)||Paramount Pictures
Usually Ms. Alpha Biotch misjudges me because I’ve been saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost, so she assumes that I’m nicer than Jesus and that that niceness is a sign of weakness. But girlfriend doesn’t know from whence I’ve come and therein lies her surprise ass-whopping—always! I’ll work with the chil’, go the extra mile, and turn the other cheek for as long as my God gives me strength, but then there comes a time when “homie don’t play that,” and enough is enough. And then Miss Thang has to have her come-to-Jesus-meeting with me. (IMP. NOTE: There have been a few male haters who have tried to take me down in my lifetime as well, and let’s just say, I agree with Elton: “I’m still standing better than I’ve ever been” and they are not. My husband (WW)—the love of my life—says that he was the only man with cojones large enough to ask me out on a date, and I say, I married him because he’s the only man I ever met who had balls big enough to treat me with the respect I deserved.)
But being able to put low-lifes in their place when they try and treat you like shit is a very small aspect of “getting over” in life. The major problem is not letting the altercation affect you—not letting it steal your joy or damage your self-esteem.
Image from jayefrost.tumblr.com
Once I became an adult I had to put away childish things—I could no longer think like a child. So out went the “Yo Mama” salvos and in came the mental gymnastics that keep my heart and soul intact. But in the process of compiling my new arsenal, I learned and am still learning that it’s all about possessing my spirit. It’s discovering that the meaning of life is that I am the only CEO of my attitude about life and no one—absolutely no one—can steal my joy. I have to give it to them and that ain’t ever gonna happen.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” –Viktor E. Frankl
So I have formulated a short list on how to survive—no, triumph!—over the haters. Below is “ET’S HEART AND SOUL PROTECTORS—REPLACING ‘YO MAMA’ SALVOS”
“What they call you is one thing; what you answer to is something else.”—Lucille Clifton
No one but God gets to define me—no hater, no player, no betrayer. If your definition of me doesn’t fit who I really am, then yours gets flushed down the toilet without so much as a “by your leave.”
“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.”― Ann Landers
“Once people show you who they are, believe them the first time—there’s no need to wait until the ninth time.”—Maya Angelou
Meaning: The mean girl will usually verbally spit on you within the first ten minutes of meeting you like a petulant hissy snake, so why wait for the 9th spitting to realize she’s full of shit. Give her a wide berth.
“Don’t pander: don’t try and win over the haters; you are not the jerk whisperer.” —Anonymous
Here’s the thing: We only go around once—only have one life to live, so “do you” and fuck the haters. They are everywhere, in every nation and every tribe, so you might as well “strut” the stuff that God gave you and roll
with joy! Yeah, Baby!
“Haters Gon’ Hate”|image from urlesque.com
(ONE “YO MAMA” JOKE FOR THE ROAD)
“Yo Mama so poor that when she asked me over to dinner I took a paper plate from the kitchen and she growled—‘Don’t use the good china’”!
I am discovering that sometimes haters really cross way over the line and take the lives of our
innocents, but even in our grief, we pray for the ability—the courage—to choose how to walk in peace, sow
with love, and come together in unity so that one white-supremacist hater doesn’t rob us of the true meaning of life as he tried to do in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last week, because we all bleed red.
Sikh Memorial in Oak Creek, Wisconsin||Image of nation.time.com/AP
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sikh community in Oak Creek and throughout the world as they mourn the loss of their family and friends.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”—Viktor E. Frankl
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”― Maya Angelou
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
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