74009535 HATERS. Hmmm, where oh where is a girl to start on that subject?  Okay, how’s about I begin with a couple-few cliché’s like, “A HATER by any other name still stinks as bad”? No, that’s my bad angel talking. Yoo hoo, Good Angel, where you at, gurrl? I need ya, something fierce.  Phewww. Good Angel is here, too. She says, “A HATER by any other name is a deeply suffering, human being, desperately in need of and, more importantly, deserving of our utmost compassion, understanding and love.” Good Angel is clearing her throat now, as if she is not finished. Oh sh*t, here she go again…Good Angel says “A HATER is someone with so little self-love that when she encounters a mirror image of herself, she despises her with an intensity and ferocity which defies any logic or reason.

Thank you, ummm…”angels,” now can I get a word in edgewise? Damn, it’s MY article, so pretty please with Sweet N’ Low on top…..get on up out my Kool-Aid.  Okay, so I heard you both flapping your gums and everything, and I will have you know that I have been there AND done that, ladies. Yes, my cherubic ones, time and time again, I gave your arguments considerable, umm, consideration and tried to work it all out, make “peace” with the haters (as it were), but it’s still tough on a girl, okay?  Yo, it seriously kills me when women, especially women of color, give credence to that ugly myth that we don’t love and support and encourage one another along in our paths.  I’m a witness, ladies.  As sure as I’m standing here in my brand-new, bad-ass, pink peep-toe BCBG pumps (oooh, grrrlZ, $39 on clearance at DSW), I can TESTIFY to the fact that I have had some amazing, beautiful, loving, encouraging, supportive sisters in my life, there to cheer me on when I achieve my little victories in life, and holding my hand when I feel like I’m all alone. But, if I’m gonna keep it one hun’ned (and I am, OH, yes the hell I am), then I also have to co-sign that I have oftentimes been at the business end of some serious hateration. WHY?

Sh*t, I don’t know why.  I have my theories, all right. Oh, yes, I have plenty of theories. Let’s see, how ‘bout low self-esteem, sexism, racism, classism, bad childhoods, the competitive nature of Western culture. Take your pick. But, mine is not to question WHY (we can do that in another article, if you like), so much as figure out how to dodge those hating bullets when they come zooming at us.

True story, Clutchettes. So recently, some professional haters came at me hard.  I mean, they were on their J.O., fo’real-fo’real.  Day in. Day out. Yo, like they had studied the script of “Mean Girls” as their bible, this small collective of bonafide bee-yotches were doing me all kinds of greaZy.  Pathologically vicious human beings who lived to wipe the smile off my face.  Okay, okay, I know. Enough whining, you get the picture…they was Weally, Weally mean to me (sniffs, dabs eyelashes, continues….). Okay, so at first I was like, “Oh, hell naw.  Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy, right?”  So, I smiled bigger. Didn’t work.  They hated on me harder. I smiled even brighter, turning on that megawatt, movie-star jont. Sheeit.  That just threw lighter fluid on their evil meanie-girl flames.  I wasn’t deterred. I tried a few other techniques. Like, umm, hating back. It no worky. Defusing the situation with a Zen-like calmness? Total flop! I tried just not giving an ish. That bombed too. I tried compassion and understanding.  None of it, I mean, not NONE of it worked, y’all. These haters were some serious devotees to the Cult of Mean, and they were not budging.  Finally, when I thought all was lost, I tried gratitude. That’s right, GRATITUDE.

A friend of mine (thank you so much, darlin’) told me that I should be THANKFUL for the haters, for the blessings and the lessons they had brought into my life.  It wasn’t an easy sell, but as I retraced the recent events in my life post-haters, I realized that she was exactly, one hundred percent right.  Because of those haters, I had reached out to other, loving human beings. I had made new friends and deepened relationships with existing ones.  I had learned a helluva lot about myself (like that my anger wasn’t at the haters for hating, but at myself for allowing them to convince me turn down my shine). I had grown and discovered some amazing new writers and poets (I always turn to literature for solace in tough times). I had expanded my horizons, trying yoga for the first time (to de-stress).  Even my initially writing for CLUTCH, was, in a way, an indirect result of my dealing with these haters (i.e. due to the encouragement of a friend whom I never would have met if not for my trying to problem-solve a situation that the haters had thrown at me).  So, it really was all good. ALL of it!  Every last drip drop.

So, next time some poor, lost souls in the form of HATERS come at you, don’t bristle.  Don’t run away and hide or duck for cover.  Just simply say “Thank you” (although it is probably more advisable not to say this out loud). Try looking at them a little differently. Have a little appreciation for the unforeseen gifts they are and will bring into your life. Yo, if I ruled the world, none of us would have to deal with backstabbers, gossipers, people acting all kindZa shady, talking bullsh*t behind our backs and plotting our downfall. It would all be Kumbayah and holding hands and sisterhood. But, I ain’t running a damn thang.  I’m just a lowly scribbler who scratches out articles about haters and platform sandals, see?  That means, we still have to deal with them haters who aren’t quite ready to love themselves or us….yet.  So, do you and just deal with them and welcome the unintended opportunities they open up for you. Get your “mad-on” or your “love-on” or your “compassion-on” because it’s all a part of this bad-ass journey we call life, all part growth and evolving and becoming who the hell we’re supposed to be.  To the Haters:  On behalf of all Clutchettes, I’d like to say thank you.  Thank you so very very much.

*A very special shout out to the haters who inspired me to write this article on haters!! Thanks, girls (blows kiss).

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