“This girl just shared on Facebook an article titled ‘Confessions of Being a Side-Chick,’ with a two paragraph explanation explaining why she shared this post,” said one of my friends at a cafe
Eye rolls, sighs, and giggling—these were the reactions my friends had over people who label themselves as the side-chicks or sidepieces, the ones who get strung along, claiming that they’ll never be anything more than someone’s second option or best kept secret. The ones who self-pity themselves.
And there I was, doing just that. Self-pitying myself and my past with a string of guys and a little black book whose pages were adding up. So, I reacted the only way I knew how to in this conversation. I inhaled my coffee as if my life depended on it and kept quiet.
If you know me at all, you know I talk. I was always written up as talkative Tammie on my school report cards. It takes the pure and utter feeling of being truly uncomfortable to find me with my mouth shut. This is a rare phenomenon for me, the feeling of being speechless and caught off-guard, but there I was.
This conversation about how the confessions of a side-chick are a total joke was just the slap in the face that I have needed to hear for years.
I say this because admittedly, I can’t remember the last time a kiss meant anything more than a night of going out and going home with someone I will never see again.
There’s nothing wrong with having nights and a life like this. But we need to remember that this is an option we have for ourselves, but it’s not our inevitable fates. We can have nights like this and a life like this, if it is what we want.
But it was never what I had wanted. Especially when it escalated to this: I never wanted to be the girl a guy texts only when he’s drunk, the girl his girlfriend told to delete off his phone and out of his life. I never wanted to be the girl who sleeps over after the several rounds of drinks with a guy who won’t bother to remember my last and maybe even my first name. I never wanted to be the rebound girl or the girl you regret taking home the next morning.
I used to claim that I just found myself in these situations, that they were placed upon me. It couldn’t possibly be my fault that my lack of a love life was playing out this way, it was just the way my cards were dealt, right? That’s what I thought.
Then one of my friends chimed in, “To be honest, I used to be the girl who would share that article and pity myself too, until I realized that I was only the side chick because I accepted that that’s all I could ever be.”
That’s when I finally broke my own silence and spoke up.
“Me too,” I said, after downing the last of my coffee and the last of the little pride I felt I had left.
But to my relief, my friends didn’t roll their eyes. They didn’t sigh, or giggle. They just listened.
They sympathized for me, but not in the way of allowing me to self-pity myself. They made me realize why being a side-chick or a sidepiece, whatever you want to call it, is a misconception, and why I never had to be where I am now.
The true confession of being a side-chick is that if we really identify this way, we did it to ourselves. Our dating history never had to look like this until we told ourselves it was all we could get. I only found myself claiming the side-chick throne and title because I was certain that this was the only role I would ever fulfill in a man’s life.
No, feeling like a second option or a best kept secret isn’t something that was entirely my fault in the beginning. I didn’t walk into these relationships and situations knowing upfront that being a side-chick was all that would come out of these flings. But the minute I realized that was the only role I was fulfilling for these people, and that I wouldn’t be the side-chick exception, and that these things weren’t going to change, I realized that it was up to me and only me to get out of it.
Sometimes, we want more. Sometimes, we feel more. Sometimes, we love more.
That never had to be a bad thing or something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. But when I found myself here, it was a brutal reality I wasn’t good at facing. Instead of realizing who I was to certain people in my life, I denied it and believed only what I wanted to hear. I told myself, it’ll change. He’ll change. I’m different from the other girls. I clearly mean something more to him than he lets on, especially if he keeps reaching out to me, if he keeps coming back. These guys wanted me, even if they never said it out loud. I was so sure of this.
But then days, and weeks, and months would pass with these flings I could have sworn would maybe one day turn into the real deal. But they never did. And instead of facing that I wanted more from these guys than what I was getting, I would accept what I was given and settle.
Settling down is never worth settling over. It took me thinking all I could ever be was a side-chick to realize the difference between the two.
The true confession of being a side-chick is that it’s up to us if we want to fall under this category. If we want to find ourselves here. But if this isn’t what we want, the minute we see this happening, the minute we start to realize we’re nothing more to someone than someone on the side, we allow our own priorities, happiness, and everything we truly want for ourselves to be put off on the side, too.
But with this said, if we don’t like where we find ourselves with someone, let’s not beat ourselves up. Seriously.
Let’s. Stop. Being. So. Hard. On. Ourselves.
And while holding onto that, remembering this. My friend really said it best.
We don’t have to be the side-chick, unless we want to be.
So this confession ends here: I let myself be a side-chick in the past. But I refuse to pity myself over it, or feel bad, or embarrassed.
Starting now, I’m done putting myself and what I want on the side. Because if I can treat myself that way? So can anyone else.