On the Corner of Mean Street

 Photo : Liya Liu

Photo : Liya Liu

I know it is the holiday season and I should be writing about fun and celebratory things but sometimes we arrive at a corner in life and have to figure out which way to turn.  It seems that lately there is a propensity towards meanness in the air. I have been able to remain contained and reasoned in my response when in conversations about politics but in the last few weeks meanness has seeped into the crevices of my life in unexpected ways. It has appeared in the form of “mean girls” which makes it especially disappointing, for many reasons but especially now.

My past response to these situations has been to go immediately into fight mode and sometimes be a mean girl myself. Let’s just say I have never backed down from a fight. I could feel the familiar pattern starting to return this week and my mind went immediately to formulating battle plans, obsessing and marshaling other “gang” members. All my beautiful intellect and lovely bold energy became consumed with how I would respond and to be honest, retaliate. All I wanted to wear was combat boots, overalls and a bomber jacket. However as I stood at the corner waiting for the light to change so I could cross that line, I realized that I just did not want to. I did not want to be a mean girl and I did not want to fight. A beautiful sense of calm that warmed my face like the sun came over me and I let it all go. I began at once to apply “antidotes to mean”.

The first thing I did was spend some time with girls who looked like regal queens and emanated benevolence and calm reason. Whose goodness enveloped me like a hug. We met at the Rubin Museum of Art, a quiet and contemplative oasis near the exhibition we planned on attending later. They reminded me of our shared world; that of fashion, art, creativity, collaboration and the mysterious and powerful beauty of women being their best selves. When one of these two women get a little power they relish sharing it. 

So I crossed the street but turned in another direction and my reward was an experience where I was in the company again of gloriously beautiful women. Dressed in gowns of silk, lace and tulle, every age, color, size and shape we reveled in each other’s beauty. There are many “antidotes to mean” and in this uncertain time we need to make sure we find and share them.

What “antidotes to mean” do you employ when you need to?



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