New Yorkers are good at hating and even better at being hated. Why? Because we know what it takes to survive in our city; we’re tough, gritty, unapologetically driven, and we know that — if we intend to sustain ourselves — we’d better be prepared to make enemies in the process.
Remember Regina? You know, the ‘Hopefully Clinically Deranged, But Conceivably Simply Ratchet Homegirl’ who, way back in October, threw my friends and me out of her apartment in an irrational, jealous rage black-out masquerading as a defense for our calling her a “slut and other names?” Well, surprise: Regina doesn’t like me. And, surprise again: I don’t like Regina. I’m totally cool with that. I prefer to surround myself with people who don’t make ridiculous shit up about me (tip to my future shit-talkers: if you’re planning on telling people I called you *something*, don’t go with “slut.” Anyone who’s known me for more than thirty seconds knows that I love sluts, and that I would certainly never use the label on someone I disliked), so I have no intention to befriend Regina.
That stated, I have no more of an intention to go out of my way to hate her. I just don’t give a shit. That pisses Regina off. She’d rather I express my hatred of her in some stupid, baseless attack so that she appears retrospectively less absurd than she made herself seem in October. An eye for eye makes us all fucking crazy, you know? But, like I said, I won’t give her the satisfaction, because I just don’t give a shit. I guess Regina finally gets that, though, because after six months devoid of a sequel to our showdown, a few weeks ago, Regina confronted me.
We were at the bar when Regina (loudly) whispered to my friend, “She hates me.”
“Dude, I don’t know you. Get over it.”
“Well you wrote a story about me.”
“That’s because you did something I found utterly wack and story-worthy. I write about all the crazy shit that happens to me.”
I turned around. I thought the conversation was over; she did not. She scurried in front of me.
“Listen, we got off to a bad start–“
“Nope. You did something crazy. I didn’t. Let’s not get the situation twisted.”
“Ugh, well, whatever. The point is, I think we’re actually really similar. We should get coffee and talk it out.”
I laughed. She was neither willing to apologize, nor to embrace her crazy and the simple fact that we dislike each other. She thought I was dumb and desperate enough to make meaningless ‘peace’ that I would accept her ridiculous effort to shift some of that crazy onto me. And that’s why — when she moves to the City after graduation, as word has it that she will — she’ll struggle. Because if her shallow attempts to get her haters to stop hating seldom worked in college…well, you do the math.
I don’t know exactly how many people hate me at school, but I know it’s more than a few. And I’m abundantly Gucci with that. I’m loud, abrupt, and pretty blatant about my impulse to constantly be at the center of attention; I know that. I’ve carefully designed my public persona, and I’m entirely unrepentant about it. I wouldn’t say, do, or write what I do if I wasn’t prepared for people to hate me. Because, as Ja Rule once rapped, “(Bitch) I’m from New York,” and my city’s taught me how to survive it.
So, a word of advice to all those non-New Yorkers who hope to make it in our city: learn how take the hate. Because if you don’t learn to thrive on it (or to at least suck it up and move the fuck on), those who do will eat you for brunch.