Day Two: Write Something Someone Told You About Yourself That You Have Never Forgotten
If I were to break down all of the insults I have received in my life . . . All of the degrading comments, all of the nasty taunts, you would be amazed that I have any self esteem at all. I have been called fat and ugly in several different ways. “You look like a bitch when you put on makeup.” “You look twelve without makeup.” “You should not wear that color blue eyeshadow.” My clothes are too bright, too bold. Comments about the width of my hips, the size of my ass, the frizziness of my hair, the freckles on my face and the lack of muscle in my stomach. My laugh is too loud, and my mouth too vulgar. Comments about my tattoos, and when I had my nose pierced that brought rude comments, too. Comments about being unnatural with my hair dyed and my skin tanned. When I dared to lose weight I was on drugs or had an eating disorder. . . Someone once told me I was too much. Someone once told me I wasn’t enough. So many someone’s made me feel less because I was so much more. . . And the result was a lack of give a fuck so large that someone noticed, and praised me for it. When you get beat down for so long, when you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, nothing anyone says can phase you, and you find a whole new sense of freedom.
One evening several years ago, Andy and I were talking on the phone. Somehow it came around to my having been single for so long, and not being able to hold down a relationship. Andy is one of the few people I can say anything to, one of the few people who have seen me broken and still loves me regardless. I implied that I would never be where he was at in life, which is to say happily married. I implied that something must be wrong with me. I never would dare say that in front of anyone who could use the hint at an insecurity against me. At my comment Andy sighed heavily. “Honey, you scare the shit out of people,” he told me. Confused, I asked him to explain. “The way you carry yourself. You’re confident, and you know what you want out of life, and you won’t accept anything less. I think the kids now call it ‘swag’. You have a shitton of swag, dear.” I laughed hard at me having this supposed swag, but he cut me off to explain that this confidence is off putting to some, especially men who lack ambition and drive, or who are afraid that essentially I kick more ass than they do on the daily and will easily make them look like less of a man. He assured me it wasn’t a bad thing, and any man that can’t handle it probably isn’t a man I want in my life, anyway. The correct term is probably ‘intimidating’, and I found it quite humorous being I am not even five foot three and have always looked young for my age. I dismissed his analysis and we went on to talk about less serious things.
But I did give it some thought as I went about life the next day. I began to notice how I walk and stand, how I address people and handle uncertain situations. I gave it some serious thought and realized that he wasn’t wrong. I still find it hard to wrap my head around little ol’ me being intimidating, but as life continued I noticed that I refuse to act intimidated myself, I refuse to show anyone any sort of weakness, because I know that if you show weakness people prey on it. No matter how uncertain I am in a situation, I fight to keep a poker face, keep my back straight and my head high, and ignore the put downs and the adverse conditions. “Fake it til you make it” is mostly a bullshit phrase, you need to work hard to make it – there is no faking success. But if you act like you’re already successful, then people don’t question you as much. If you stare a bully straight in the eyes while they insult you and don’t flinch, no matter how hard the insults hit, they see that their words don’t effect you, and ultimately stop.
Along the same lines, dad once told me that he was proud of me because I make shit happen. I was relating a clusterfuck at work and how I was fixing it, and after a long pause he said those words. He said, “I’m proud of you, girl. You make shit happen.” Again, I was taken aback because I was just doing my job. But I also knew that dad didn’t hand out praise lightly. I knew my dad was one to tell me if I was fucking up just as easily as he would tell me if I was doing well.
So now. So now when shit hits the fan and life seems hard, when I’m faced with a scary situation I remember the words of first my best friend, and the words of my father. I’m a badass and I make shit happen. No matter how daunting the task, no matter how people may view me, I do what needs done regardless of others opinions. It has made me into who I am, and I’ve applied some of it to my less than stellar confidence level along the way.
I relayed mine and Andy’s conversation to another friend not too long ago, again on the subject of me being single, still. She said while being a badass who doesn’t need a man is all fine and good, men need their ego stroked. They need to feel needed, and if I was ever going to get a man, I needed to keep that in mind.
I guess I’m gonna go on and stay single, because I’m not made up that way. I’ve come too far and worked too hard to be meek and mild and not do what comes naturally to me. I will not soften my edges just to appease another’s ego.
My laugh is loud because I am filled with happiness. I swear too much because sometimes there are no other words and life is hard. My hips are wide and I am overall a bigger woman because I like food and I have borne children, and I would rather write and read and feed my mind and emotions then work out and fit into societies mold. And if I do lose weight it will be because I want to, and fuck anyone who talks shit about the why and how. Today I wore my hair natural and as of late have been doing my makeup more naturally – because it suites my cluttered mind to make at least this task simple. But I did just dye my hair black and I do have a tan and I’m debating a new tattoo and miss my nose ring horribly. Today my shoes were white flats with beautifully obnoxious magenta flowers on them. One person said my shoes were gaudy, and another told me they were amazing and asked where I bought them. None of it matters. Because I am unapologetically me – obnoxious, intimidating, bold, vulgar me. Someone once told me that I’m amazing just the way I am. And anyone who thinks otherwise can walk the other way.