Have you ever been called a "bitch"?
I hate that word, because it's too often applied to pretty much any woman, across the board, who is outgoing, outspoken, or opinionated--regardless of how they conduct themselves. It seems there is a black and white spectrum here. But where is the variation? All of us have a bit of "bitch" in us. I think it's important, though, not to confuse an honest voice with a bitchy one. Strength of character and the courage to stand up for yourself and others is never a bad trait. It just makes some people very uncomfortable. ;)
When I was a little girl, the kids in school used to call me "Mother Theresa" or "Sister Jennifer" because I was the most mild-mannered, well behaved kid you could imagine. I never wanted to fight with anyone and I hurt for the kids around me who were bullied or picked on. I just wish I'd had the guts to stand up for them more.
I guess that's what adulthood is for, huh? The years when you're supposed to be brave enough to stand up for people--yourself included. It can be scary when you discover that not everyone is going to like your truth, though. That infamous day when you discover that *gasp* someone doesn't like you! *smirk* Tough to get used to.
I've discovered that, the more comfortable I am in speaking up for myself and others, (respectful though I am), the more pissed off people become. In fact, it really knocks some folks off their rocker. Especially if they aren't used to complete authenticity in communication. Especially if they're clearly used to being a bully.
Maybe the Portuguese/Italian/German/Irish in me is finally kicking in, but I don't have quite as much of a stomach for immaturity or judgment as I used to. More and more I understand who I am, what I want, what I stand for and what I do not stand for--and for some reason, I'm not so afraid to say it anymore. I'm also having a harder time with people who practice any sort of mental hierarchy, as I realize that no one is more or less equal to anyone else, no matter their economic or educational station, and so I don't behave as if they are. Again, this irks some folks, but it seems just plain silly that it should. If you know yourself and you grasp the value in every person, there's no need to bully people or carry grudges or mistreat others. There's a point where you're supposed to move past high school and enter enlightenment, right? Honest, heart-felt communication and then resolution seems like a pleasant counter to storming up and going off on someone, only to run away before they can say their piece. Why is this so hard?
I wish I could reach down into every frightened person's dark place and offer them a hand, say, "Hey, love, what are you hiding from? Come on up here and don't let anyone put you down." But I've also figured out that learning to stand up for yourself and believe in yourself is a very personal journey, one that often comes of getting just plain fed up with the bull. You can't really do this for anyone else. You can only do it for yourself. But you can continue to speak your truth and follow your heart, even if you think someone will resent you for it.
It's hard to reconcile that not everyone will like you. It's especially hard for me, because, for a very long time, everyone always did--either that or they didn't notice me--or they took advantage of me. It was a surefire sign that I wasn't quite there yet. I was still hiding from my truth.
It's interesting to watch my life unravel and observe, from almost a bystander's perspective, the changes in my level of guts. It's like my passion ratio raises with every year that goes by. There are days when I think back to the timid little girl I was and think that I could never, ever go back to that. I wouldn't want to cage myself up again. The goal is to conquer fear... not otherwise. And every day I try to summon my inner strength, because every day I come across an instance where I need it.
Balance, balance, balance. First shyness, then passionate boldness, then the middle ground. I guess that's the ultimate goal.
For all my supposed "bitches" out there, who really just speak their heart-felt truth in all things, God bless you. It takes a lot of courage, but I suspect the rewards are great.
Talk to you soon,