Typically, it's generally considered that we can all change our fate somehow. Maybe generally isn't the right word here, but it's still the case that a lot of people considered the trajectory of their lives to be malleable in some way. Isn't that what most civil unrest and internal conflicts alike, end up being all about?

But from a woman's standpoint, I think it's especially the greatest consensus among us that we've got some sort of power over men and our general environment. To an extent, it can be true. But in most cases -- and I'll sound particularly awful for this -- it simply isn't the full story. We have no power to change any external forces such as men and the world they've created, even if we had some crazy revolution and a widespread paradigm shift were to occur. I always figured it was delusional to think like this. It isn't so cut and dry, actually, but it doesn't hurt to look at it deeply.

You see, as women, we aren't entirely defenseless to whatever men have told us about ourselves. But it takes a certain type of person to realize this, otherwise you're just bickering about things you can't change. It's not an offence to say a woman is physically weaker than a man, or our anatomy is less equipped for certain survival, or maybe our brains function entirely different from men's. It's childish to think that those statements are in any way harmful to womanhood. It pays to be a bit delusional, maybe, but you should understand where I'm coming from before you judge my words.

Women, for all the things they lack in comparison to the opposite sex, are wonderful chameleons when they try to be. It's a skill that takes practice, surely, but it comes as great benefit to us as we hone it. The woman reflects the situation seamlessly in the face of a man: a strong woman is the whore, the mother, the virgin, the doll. She's the damsel in distress and the Joan of Arc. Perhaps men might say they're the best at adaptability, just look at the military. But a woman doesn't brag about her color-changing abilities, it's a subconscious thing. What? Is it only useful to please men? That's a good point, but it's a matter of controlling the conversation quietly. I knew you were going to ask this question, I knew that was how you wanted this to play out. You can believe me if you want to, or don't. I have no reason to lie right now.

Anyway, men spend so much money on frivolous pick-up artist classes and learn business tactics about body language just to get the upper hand in a deal. But it's only useful when you need to make a transaction, you need to seal the deal, right? Sex is a transaction, so you charm women. Business is an obvious transaction, too. Aren't women acting like this to make a transaction, too? True, but at the risk of sounding dramatic, I suppose it's a survival tactic. You know when you hear a loud, gregarious woman bitching and moaning about some sort of drama in her life that's got nothing to do with you at all? As cruel as it is, she won't survive for very long. Sure, she might reel in a man or two, have a child, but her charm has long since died off by the time she reaches her prime. For all intents and purposes, she's got no value in the eyes of the world anymore, she won't further the human race.

It's primal, isn't it? A woman that can handle her transactions, quickly on her feet, will be the one to aid evolution someday. An adaptable creature will survive the harshest conditions and pass on those genes to their offspring. It's a bit unfortunate, but it's a double-edged sword for these women. Sure, we have a finely honed skill to change our masks in an instant, but nobody realizes it for what it is. It might be all smoke and mirrors, but in the end, that's all they see: The product of your hard work, but never the process. So men don't realize they're part of the transaction at all, like a symbiotic relationship. See, men don't realize that the transaction does not bring harm to the woman. A smart woman, in the right cases, might lead a man to think so. If that's what the situation calls for, I guess. But we're frightfully good actors.

You think I hate women? Really? I don't hate them, I don't care enough to do that. I wear the same mask when I speak to women, too. But spotting another woman in hiding is easier than spotting a man in hiding. As we're the chameleons, it's easier to spot another chameleon because we know what to look for. Those are the women I care about the most, I guess. I admire them and their similar intensity to mine. I don't say this, of course, because nobody talks about primal habits because that's just weird. Minus this conversation, I guess, but I have no reason to lie to you.

Either way, ***** was a masked woman like this. I could see the signs not long after our first conversation together, and for a moment, I caught myself daydreaming what a friendship with a girl like this would be like.

She had a certain mystery about her back then. Consumed by the dark grips of drugs and pleasing sleazy men, even back then, I had a special feeling about her. It might have been admiration, but I felt anxious around her. She was kind to me, sure, she never had a reason to treat me with anything but kindness. But I could tell she was dark. It didn't occur to me that she'd mellow out years later.

You see, I've always been intense. I've never changed this part of myself. It sounds cliche and so typical, but I don't think I'm 'deep' or anything. I'm just dark. ***** had said that to me once, after we bumped into each other years later. We had grabbed a drink and headed to my house, eager for some sort of reconciliation. Perhaps we were more eager to see who was faring better at the time.

It was an alcohol-fueled conversation, but deeply emotional and vulnerable. That night, I felt like an animal in a zoo, and he was spectating me. I told him as such, "you know, all this is a bit instinctive. Part of me feels like this is fate somehow."

I only half-meant those words. I meant them for what they were -- a fated reunion, but nothing deeper. I didn't feel either way whether he was in my kitchen with me at that moment or not. It sounds cruel, I think, but his words were filled with so much emotion and feeling that I felt like I was acting out a script for a melodrama.

***** looked at me intently for a moment, analyzing whatever had been behind my eyes. Was he trying to read my mind? I think he succeeded, as he spoke: "It does feel like fate, but we've both changed a lot since the last time," he kept his gaze locked onto me, trying to siphon whatever reaction I could make, "I think I've changed the most, actually. I'm a lot different now."

I nodded, "you're much different now. You've got your life together since then. I can admire that."

Still locked to my eyes, but much more intently now, he commanded my attention like a greedy child. "You're still just as dark as you were then. In fact, I think you're much darker than I. You always were."

In that time, I had no idea what to say. He didn't seem to mind, though, because he quickly moved onto the next topic. To him, that was just a side comment. But I've thought about it many times since that night. Was I really that dark? As I get older, I consider this thought more often. It's one thing to think of yourself as this dark and brooding character -- it's another thing to have someone tell you that your heart is a pool of blackness.

Do you think I'm heartless? Really? I've never done anything remotely heartless. I just can't subscribe to foolishness. If that means I'm heartless, then I suppose I'm comfortable with that. I'm not purposely antagonistic, but I can't say I'm truthfully very nice to those I find irredeemably incompetent. I just can't help it.

***** was like that. Woefully stupid and unbearably annoying. Sure, he was one of my greatest allies. But I didn't like him very much.