I was rummaging through some old posts that I had written and never posted. I posting this one – for personal reasons. I just needed to feel like I could kick ass today if I needed to.
I have a friend who put quite the rant on her Facebook page today. It inspired me to write and you just may be surprised at what you read. I will offer no pre-story or follow-up. Just take it for what it is and know that sometimes people who accuse you of these things, don’t have a clue – about anything.
This year I have been accused of (there are probably more):
- trying to drive someone crazy – that statement alone proves they just may be crazy.
- of trying to have someone arrested – really? If I wanted to have you arrested, I would, no trying.
- of being a dictator and running a dictatorship – I’m still laughing about that one. Really now? Just because I’m chair of a commission and run the meetings effectively? Because I take the complaints and suggestions of the other members seriously and try to address each one? Because I don’t mind taking the flack for decisions I make without revealing the sources or complainants behind the decisions? Because Robert’s Rules of Order say the chair is in charge of the meeting?
I absolutely loved my friend’s post today. She reminds me that just because I’m a lady – in every sense of the word – I don’t have to just lie down and be walked on. I also don’t have to explain myself either – which is probably why I’ve been accused of the above. (I’m still laughing.)
All of the accusations above came about because those people failed to educate themselves with pertinent information – as in dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s” because I’m not afraid to do it for you. It may not be on the spot, I’m not one of those “off-the-cuff” type of people. I know better than to engage with such stupidity. It’s a lose-lose situation. I prefer to step back, let you make an ass of yourself, and access the information and then engage with both barrels. And when I say, engage, it’s not what I remember my dad calling an (excuse the language) “pissing match” or a “cat fight.” You can be sure that my “i’s” are dotted and my “t’s” are crossed and I won’t be saying anything I can’t back up ten ways to Sunday.
My friend is a person who speaks her mind in the most eloquent way. I love her vocabulary and she just puts it out there. She makes you think. When she speaks of orphaned animals – she is the most gentle soul you will ever meet. I believe animals seek her out for healing, she is that kind of person.
Gentle is something I reserve for orphaned possums, kittens and people under the age of twelve. After that, I figure you are a grown up and can handle some emotional and intellectual honesty and integrity. I expect the same in return.
She’s been described as “abrasive” “offensive” “aggressive” and “scary.” She’s scary funny at times and unique! I love her candor, her put-it-out-there honesty and feistiness. I was taken with her the moment I met her and I can’t ever imagine her not being my friend. She challenges me to be a more authentic person.
“Since becoming menopausal, and since becoming 40-something, and since, I don’t know, deciding that I was tired of other people’s delusions, lies, illogical demands, irrational bullshit, I have attempted to embrace gentle assertiveness. Any of you who know me at all are probably chuckling to yourselves. Gentle is something I reserve for orphaned possums, kittens and people under the age of twelve. After that, I figure you are a grown up and can handle some emotional and intellectual honesty and integrity. I expect the same in return. If you seek infantilization, comforting lies and passive agreement, I am not inclined to play along. If you want somebody to ta ta your soft feelings, I am not very good at it. I don’t ta ta my own fears, weakness or soft, squishy feelings, I intellectualize them and then beat the shit out of them on long bike rides.
This week, nay, the last few months…no…scratch that…the last few years I have been told, increasingly, how “abrasive” I am. I am “offensive,” “aggressive” and “scary,” especially verbally. It is the general consensus that you don’t want to tangle with me if I have my hands on a keyboard. I have been called an “argumentative bitch” and “intimidating,” a “smart ass” and “too intense” and told I “carry a big stick.”
At first I was a little hurt. I mean, I am not trying to hurt anyone. It takes a lot to make me angry, and my default setting is not one of aggression. Logic, yes. Aggression, only when necessary. I only defend. Protect. Make a boundary. I respect other’s boundaries and would not willingly intrude upon anyone. I do not bully or belittle or betray. However. I do push back. It is me saying: Dude, seriously, respect my space, m’kay?
Mostly (here it the important part) I am saying as directly and honestly as possible that I am not okay with how I am being treated.
Then I realized that I am bucking a certain gender role. Women should be polite and docile and back down, don’t push back and for God’s sake don’t make people uncomfortable. So, if you are a woman who digs that sort of thing, more power to you. I don’t judge. But that’s just not who I am. And I just cannot spend the second half of my life playing small and diminishing myself so that other people feel less intimidated. And frankly, these kinds of judgments would be absolute rubbish if I were male.
Another realization. I have learned the hard way that gentle assertiveness is often ignored. (Please get your foot off of my throat, if you don’t mind?) What you allow will continue. I will not allow me…valuable, meaningful, intelligent, precious me… to be mistreated. I have spent most of my life defending kittens and puppies and possums, placing myself between bullies and their targets, and imagining that somehow I was less deserving of that defense when it came to me. Events in my life taught me (again, the hard way) that I am worth defending. No apologies. No regrets, either.
So call me “scary.” I prefer “badass” and “terrifying.” In fact, I am liking Fire-spewing Hellbeast. It has a certain ring to it, I think.”