They call me “The Bitch” sometimes lovingly… sometimes not so much. My friend said “I don't understand you. You are the strongest person I know and nothing bothers you. You are the Bitch of our friends.”
Sometimes it bothers me. Other times she's right.
My brother used to say that if you don't have high standards that you believe in and live by, then the rest of the world will walk over the top of you. He believed in right and wrong. Standing up for the truth. Regretting when he wasn't strong enough to stop the horrors he saw and lived the rest of his life righting the wrongs he saw after that.
He was stubborn, preachy, and I miss him every single day. Before he died he made me promise that I'd stand up for myself because he couldn't always be there to do it. Neither one of us knew he'd be gone so fast. But that promise made me stronger, braver, and maybe even a bitch.
Sometimes walls put up between me and other people are just boundaries and nothing more.
Recently I had a woman bluntly tell me that I wasn't invited to her party she was planning, in front of me. This is someone I'd considered a friend, someone I'd welcomed into my home. But she loudly proclaimed “No, not you. You are NOT invited.” She wanted “fun people” and I didn't fit in.
In new settings, I can be quiet, watchful, and I don't dance. That is apparently not who she wanted to be around.
I was shocked and instantly hurt. Honestly, it felt like elementary school all over again with children bragging about their special birthday parties that they were having, then laughing that I wasn't invited. I was the “weird new girl” and they didn't have to invite me.
Her rudeness stunned me. Why? Because I thought that somehow in the world of political correctness and everyone is a winner, that razor-sharp jabs at innocent people were over. I was wrong… it was just an awakening of what is happening all over the world.
I walked away from that night in tears. That night,I vowed not to attend events she was going to be at, trying to protect myself from further harm.
Parties went on. Ladies nights still gathered and pictures of the fun I was missing splattered all over the internet for my frustration. I punished myself, alone.
I can still hear his words, wisdom from beyond the grave. “Fuck her. Don't let her stop you from enjoying life.”
Here's the thing. I'm an introvert… sadly with a resting bitch face that is pretty F'ing fierce. I know I'm different, and it isn't uncommon for me to be called out for it. My Myers Briggs always comes out INTP – Introverted and yet still dominate.
So even when I'm quietly observing and trying to find my comfort zone, I apparently come off as bitchy and not approachable. After that night, I forced myself to make new connections. Then I began to put myself out there to meet new people, people who aren't douchebags. Because the only one who noticed me pulling away out of hurt was me. And my exile sucked!
He died, taking with him a deal that couldn't be broken. I had promised him weeks before that I'd find my voice, stand my ground, and stop being the quiet mouse. It's an effort, but each time I feel myself wanting to pull back, or snap back out of frustration, I ask myself where that is going to get me and if that is truly who I want to be.
My Gram always said “Heap coals of kindness upon those who offend you” in some trade of “I'll be kind to you, so you feel bad about it” that honestly never works out that nicely. Because as I've realized, YOU become the only person to notice that you are being nice because you are offended! And the offender doesn't care about you and never has because if they did, they wouldn't have done that shit to begin with!
You don't get a diamond tiara to wear around proclaiming “The Better Person” because you take the high road. But you do get a nice little sash that says “I'll take whatever shit you give me, and maybe bake you some nice brownies to go with it.”
I began finding my boundaries. Things that I could live with.
- Don't take any shit from people you don't care about. But don't give it either.
- Be true to who you are, those who care about you love you for YOU and not pretending to be someone else.
- Everyone makes mistakes, not everyone owns them. Forgive yourself when they happen.
- Stand up for your friends, even if they can't do the same for you.
- Don't be jealous when you aren't invited to everything, but be gracious when you are.
- Toxic people are infectious. Detox and move on. You don't need to be friends with everyone just because they are your neighbor or others like them.
- Tell the truth, always. No exceptions.
- Not everyone wants to hear your opinion. But don't back down when asked for it.
Not everyone is going to like me. A lot of people can't handle someone like me who doesn't have time for games or BS. They are shocked when they are called out for things that others are too scared of their social standing to speak up about. But I do… and I am called “The Bitch”
The Woman Trap
And please don't force me into conversations about babies and toilet training just because I am a woman. I want deeper conversation, challenging debates, even meaningful moments. Asking me how I feel about lactation positions and the size of a diaper rash because apparently my intellect is reduced to my knowledge of child raising makes me feel like screaming “All of you were SOMETHING BEFORE HAVING BABIES! Remember that!”
Yep, again… called out for being the unfriendly bitch. Ask me about being a writer, ask me about traveling, even ask me about Lyme disease and how it doesn't have to be the end of your life. Then I'll share my wealth of information stored up. But please don't reduce me to the debates of co-sleeping vs sleep training, or be upset when I take that moment to go explore the opportunities to engage in something else more mentally stimulating. Like the chocolates and wine.
I'd take the Bitch
But here's the thing… wouldn't you rather have the Bitch there to stand up with you against the bullies of the world? Someone you know will not only hold your hand against adversity but also shield you from hurt. This isn't a nice world we live in. And I'd surely take that fierce friend with the bitchy resting face over backstabbing liars.