Friday, June 23, 2006

Nurturing My Inner Bitch

So the other day a friend of mine emailed me, stricken with worry that she was becoming a bitch. I thought about that old nursery rhyme, "Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of!"

When I was in the fourth grade, there was a sixth grader named Angela who was bold, brassy and mean. On a Wednesday lunch period, she called me out for calling her a bitch. (Amy Cole sold me out to her cousin who was a minion of Angela ... bitch!) Anyway, even as Angela threatened to kick my ass after school, I secretly envied her for all of her bitchy glory. I wondered what was in her that I lacked. What gave her the balls to just ask for what she wanted and then expect to receive it? (She once ripped off my friend's black lace glove - it was Madonna's Lucky Star period - in the middle of recess and never gave it back.)

Well, it took me 30 years to stop trying to be full of sugar and everything nice. I learned to let my spice - the inner bitch - speak up when my nice-girl self wanted to make everything, well, nice.

I didn't go completely to the dark side. But I went just far enough to - wait for it! - stand up for myself. If I don't want to talk to a "friend" who only calls when she wants something, I don't call her back, much less do her another favor. If someone makes me wait an hour for her to show up for an appointment (without a reaonable excuse), I go home. And when some unfortunate soul calls me out, I walk out and let him or her 'splain themselves.

Would I have done any of those things when I was in my 20's? Hell, no. However, the phone doesn't ring as much anymore. My email isn't as robust as it used to be. If I were going to throw a Fourth of July party, I wouldn't have as long a list as I might have just a few years ago. And that's fine with me. When my phone rings, it's almost always someone I love chatting with, or when I have email messages, I smile as I read them rather than wonder how I can tactfully get out of having to (a) reply or (b) do the favor they want. Last night when I got together with some girlfriends, I kept thinking that I was the luckiest bitch in the world to have friends like them.

But don't worry. I'm still polite as my mama taught me to be and I'm considerate to the elderly, children and animals. But poop on me or my family and my inner bitch will come roaring out of the bottle to shove it down your throat.

I hope you get better acquainted with your inner bitch. The required reading is That's Queen Bitch to You, followed by You Say I'm a Bitch Like It's a Bad Thing!


P.S. Angela never did make good on her ass-kicking threat. But the last time I saw her, she was five times her size pushing a baby stroller ... bitch!


Dana Diamond said...

LOL! I love it! If self-respect and confidence make me a bitch, then so be it.

:) Darth Bee-otch

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Mary:
I have a whole bitch trajectory. First I was this quiet, unassuming brainiac who skipped a couple of grades, never fit in, never opened her mouth, was berated at home. Then I married young, was in a horrible, emotionally abusive marriage, shut up even more. THEN I left said horrible husband and discovered my inner bitch. Man oh man, once I found her, I couldn't shut her up. THEN I became a Buddhist and discovered staying zen worked better for me. :-) I would say now I have sincerely and truly discovered there is AGGRESSIVE communication. And ASSERTIVE communication. The former belongs to bitches everywhere, God love 'em. The latter is my style. Just very open. So that is my very own tale of the Bitch. :-)

Camy Tang said...

I became more of a bitch when I started writing about more aggressive heroines. Connection? Hmmm...

Nowadays, I just don't have time to be nice to people. Heck, I don't really like talking to people period. I have perfected the art of "nice but distant." And like you, I have good friends around me to have fun with.


Shawn said...

Thanks for the links to the books! Hehe! Hopefully they will help me start to nurture my own inner bitch. :D