Women are weird. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. We’re weird, extra, do the most and drag the drama. But there’s a super-weird collective among us and they introduce one thing and one thing only: Dry Coochie Energy. Oppositional, conniving, sneak dissing, ass-biting organisms of the female anatomy.

It’s the heaviness for me. They come in bearing all these bags of drama and odds within the bounds of friendship and you start to feel like you’ve acquired another child instead of a friend. We see the warning signs early on and still keep them around for a bit. It’s almost like trying to reignite the fire of a failed relationship because you keep hoping that the light that initiated to connection returns. Newsflash, they ain’t coming back. I use to let them linger a bit, hoping they’d be inspired by my dope ass self to chill. Ugh, that would’ve been too much like right. My long term friends pick up on DCE right off.

“Where she come from, Janell? Something ain’t right with her, I’m telling you now. Don’t bring her ‘round me.” I listen, too. After awhile.

One of the most unique components of my sisterhood is they naturally embrace everyone. They like everybody! So for them not to like you, ooh you have bad, bad juju. When we’re hosting get-togethers and discussing invites, you hear “Make sure you tell such-and-such to come, I like her vibe!” After while, they just kind of fall into the fold of extended friendships.

I adore new connections. I really relish meeting new people and becoming acquainted to their way of thinking. I’ve attempted to allow newer bonds to prosper but it’s just not in the cards for me. A recent event with a former coworker reminded of why.

Our friendship grew quickly as two of the only females in our area. A few years behind me, she reminded me of my sister-in-laws when they were younger. Raw, hard and unapologetic. And just like them, I promptly peeped that as surface energy. That’s how she wanted to be seen. Under all of that tough exterior, there was more and it was good.

Nonetheless, I soon learned two things. She was like a pig in mud when it came to other people’s drama, and she couldn’t hold water. At first, it was funny. It took me a while to see a gossipy female but that was all she did. When I saw that she was one who often pitched the latest scoop with “somebody said”, I’d teasingly call her on it. But then it stopped being funny.

The energy between us would seesaw on my busy days, and she’d interpret my focus on completing a task was some weird beef and stop speaking to me for a few days. What followed was a succession of random, passive aggressive social media posts about phony bitches, “cause I’ll beat a phony bitches ass, tired of phony bitches!” Umm… She’d eventually come back around and indirectly mention that I had been “acting funny.” Umm…

Not with all of these grays in my head. Invasive people, the ones who kind of become these microwave besties do entirely too much. Don’t come around me with that.

While talking to one of my girlfriends on the phone, I inquired “Do you think I bear people’s burdens?” Without a moment’s hesitation, she replied, “Nah. Not anymore.” I began to ask her what she meant and she interrupted before I could get it out. “Now if this was five years ago, I would’ve said yes but bitch now, you don’t have nothing to do with shit! Done lost some weight and shit, I want to know what you’re doing! You are not the same but in a good way.”

I save the hard questions for her because her love for me is so deep and honest, that from laughter to pain, she sees me with limpidity.

I don’t like to be studied. Don’t ever let me know you’re doing it. It doesn’t feel genuine, it mirrors scrutiny, for me. I’m not big on specific, personal inquiries because I perceive it as something you’ve mulled over and I want to know why you’re mulling over me.

A few weeks back, a good friend suggested grief counseling to me. After a day or so, I digested her advice in small bites and mentioned it to my therapist who jokingly said, “Ask if she has someone particular in mind.” Unfortunately, I haven’t experienced the luxury of selective therapy, my girl just gets it all in one big blah.

All jokes aside, her suggestion triggered me. While I believe she was coming from a position of love and concern, it didn’t feel that way. It took me years to understand that it’s ok to let yourself feel pain, to grasp it; that’s how you get through it. By going through. I didn’t receive her advice in that way. It took me back to all the mess I had undone that made grief an abnormal circumstance that you had better rush through.

I remember riding in the back of my mom’s car, on the way to my grandmother’s funeral. I felt like I was about to pass out and combust at the same time from holding the tears in. My mom allowed you to have that initial cry when a person passed. After that, she was done with it and you had better be too. I tearfully recalled that moment during last week’s video visit. Dr. Amazing (that’s what I’m calling her from here on out) said, “So, your friend’s gentle suggestion felt like you were being seen through that rear view mirror again. That if you showed signs of not being ok, there would be hell to pay. It was like being caught when you’re not ok and responding with, “I’m fine!” You were never given the ok not to be.” Exactly.

My girls. My guys too. I love that they all know I’m a super-sensitive smart ass and they pay it no mind. They treat me and my soft-as-cotton feelings with care, but they don’t play with me. They keep me accountable. And I give it right the hell back. That’s the energy I’m used to. It has to be reciprocal. Rhythmic stability between us, moving in different directions but also in sync, if that makes sense. Our lives must have a healthy exchange of balance. If you can lay me out, you have to love me just as freely. You can’t put my friendship into a compartment that doesn’t come with those privileges. If we’re casual acquaintances, keep it 100 by keeping it that way. I can’t be the friend who gets the inquiries and suggestions, and still not really know you. You can be in my life, but in the same way that you have me in yours. You can’t be an authority with my business but hide hands with yours.

I swept that type of mess out of my door years ago. From my teens and clear into my early 30s, I was the passive friend. The pet. And maybe that also plays into why I’m so intolerant of weird female energy, aka DCE. Maybe, that’s why I respond with emotion whenever I feel crossed. I didn’t know anything about self-defense back then. The thought alone devastated me because I didn’t want conflict. The true conflict was the permission I granted. I allowed “well-meaning friends” to trample through my life and pull me any which way they desired. I had no voice. None. I had no fight. I didn’t trust myself to make decisions about much of anything, and often shifted problem solving to others so when they entered areas of my life that was none of their business, I kept my mouth shut.

That’s just not how I wish to be with anyone anymore. But I also won’t be probed in a way that suffocates my higher self. Maintaining peace in the belly of hell is not a task for the weak. But that’s exactly what I learned to do. The task of undoing a thing, especially an awkward connection, is like in and out surgery. I get people gone quick.

Once it becomes complicated, I’m no longer interested. If I find myself defending and explaining trivial bullshit; “Oh, you didn’t tell me you went out/had company/planned a trip/hit the lottery/had sex/met a new man/got a new car/went to lunch with a different person/went to dinner with your other girlfriends/dyed your hair/bought some new bras/saw a movie/decided to take a nap and not answer my phone/why I didn’t click over when you called…. I wish I were making those examples up. Ugh.

I don’t have a hierarchy of friendship. There are no super or best friends. I’m not in middle school picking classmates for my dodge ball team. Everyone and everything is in its place, and I’m just looking for a few good folks who don’t want to disrupt that. No Dry Coochies allowed!

But don’t we all go have our slight DCE moments? When we’re barely meeting our own standards, less the standards of friendship and normalcy. I can be pretty out there at times. But what keeps me coming back, out of the clouds, fingers out of my head, are the people who get me. Without dragging me down, pulling me apart or undoing me. Here’s to every person in our life who brings that wet, refreshing ph-balanced elasticity of “do you and I’ll be here when you’re done” in our lives.

I don’t need a rescue squad, my respect me squad is doing just fine.

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