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by Erica, A Grateful Bitch-in-Progress

Perhaps the biggest plus of bitchdom for me is the ironic fact that bitches are the most supportive, kind and compassionate women I know. Unlike all the self-described "nice girls" I know, Heartless Bitches (HBs) don't drop you the moment they meet Mr. Dreamy. NO, bitches tell you how Mr. D hit on them and they guffawed right in his gorgeous face. Ya gotta love that. For a Heartless Bitch, the company of other women is just as important, stimulating and valid as that of any man, if not more so. An HB's own opinion and self-approval are the most important thing in her life. How refreshing it is to hear someone talk about her ideas, dreams and goals without once mentioning some man she thinks has come to save her.

When I first found HBI I was amazed and in awe because reading this site was like reading my own journal and I'm very thankful for it. I found myself writing recently that "crazy is relative." Ever since I can remember, I was constantly being told I was crazy or stupid, etc. for following my own inner voice. But that voice knows at thing or two.

Once when I left in the morning for a day of job interviews, The Voice told me to go back inside and get my flashlight. Now, I thought that sounded crazy -- why on earth would I need a flashlight at 8 am? Because at 4 p.m. there was a power outage that wiped out the entire Financial District just as I left an appointment and got into the elevator. I was stuck for over an hour and if not for that flashlight, so I could read The World According to Garp in peace, I would have gone nuts, as I used to do over the smallest imagined crisis.

Instead of wasting my energy on useless complaining and worrying, I calmly read my book. When the two women from the office where my appointment had been helped me out of the elevator (yep, I was rescued by two women), they were amazed at how relaxed I was. One said, "I was freaking out just from being in the dark. How did you stand it?" I calmly replied, "I had a flashlight, a book, some water and a bagel, what more could I need?"

Now, if The Voice can be that prophetic and accurate, why should I ever entertain the thought for a minute that it has bounds? It doesn't! If you think about it for a second, I'm sure you'd remember the occasions when you followed that voice as the times when you were happiest with your decisions and your life. Go ahead, try it. It feels good to be in control.

HBI started for me as just a lark, following an URL a friend emailed to me. It sounded funny and goodness knows I about fell off my chair laughing for the entire five hours I spent reading all the articles and rants on that first visit. I certainly had no intention of becoming a bitch of any kind. But I'm glad I did. This place does us all a world of good. HBI is a true Bitch Haven.

I honestly do not know where I would be if I had not found HBI. This has been one of the hardest years of my life, not for any particular reason or issue or problem, just something I go through every five years or so. I like to think of it as a metamorphosis. This is a crossroads where I could choose either to become more me or to sell myself short and do everything in my power to change myself (this was self-deception: I was not changing, just disguising my Self) in the eternally vain hope of being more accepted by society. What is wrong with that picture?

I chose my path wisely and as a result, have experienced many valuable lessons during this year. I have learned volumes of wisdom, produced more and grown immeasurably. These are blessings and I cannot underestimate the contribution of HBI and all my beautiful Bitches to that process.

Before I found HBI, I was a wimp and a whiner. I lacked good female role models, not to mention friends. I sought approval in the eyes of men. But no more. While too many of my offline friends remain all-too male-centered, I have seen myself, as though an outside observer. I have grown to disdain this dependency on men within myself and everyone else. I found out that I am the answer to my own questions.

Something the voice has told me as long as I can remember, is that what I want most of all for my world is balance. Warning, generalizations follow: I want to see more women develop self-assurance, strength, independence and a healthy sense of self-centeredness. Who the hell else should you be centered on?! If more women did this, they would not have to act out their frustrations as Senseless Bitches. Further, I would like to see more men develop compassion, empathy, a sense of connection to the rest of the world, and the strength to accept their limitations. The fact that you have a penis does not make you omnipotent. You don't have to fix everything, let alone a woman. I'd like to introduce those who play adolescent, antiquated sex-role games to a new concept: It's your life -- deal with it! There is nothing wrong with putting down that misleading handbook and winging it -- you certainly learn a lot more and it's not nearly as scary as you think. I truly believe that if we all came to this kind of self-actualization, all the sex-role B.S., (that I see people everywhere clinging so desperately to), would finally dissipate like the useless vestigial armor it is. But then I'm one idealistic Bitch.

Until I can cultivate a strong female circle, HBI reminds me that women can be and are strong, intelligent, self-directed individuals. Goddess bless us, every one.

Such lofty thoughts are all well and good, but there are more practical reasons that made me a bitch. The most important of which is to take control of my own life. It's a difficult road at times, but the journey has made me grown stronger and more confident.

When the bumps get me down, I can return to this community of Bitches to tweak my tunnel vision, root out my self-pity, stroke my ego and make me laugh my butt off. Far from being bitter, man-hating, evil women, I have found my fellow bitches to be the funniest, most reasonable and wise people I know. For those of us just beginning our journey into bitchdom, we have big bitches to learn from. Senior members of HBI have a way of adopting a new bitch and showing her how to listen to herself, the most important lesson any of us can learn.


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