Oh Snap, You Are So Shallow….

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Last time, when I wrote about Tracy McMillan’s Why You’re Not Married, I discussed how I relate to Chapter 1. Recap: McMillan discusses in Chapter 1 one reason why single women aren’t getting married; it is because they are giving off a bitch vibe and what men want: men want a nice girl. Or a woman who gives off nice vibes the majority of the time. McMillan isn’t saying that a woman has to be 100% nice all the time. However, I believe McMillan is communicating that a man doesn’t want a woman bitching at him 24/7, the majority of the time, in a relationship, either.

That’s how I related. I am not a single girl anymore. I’ve been in a relationship in nine years (We hung out on May 27, 2005…and then, we decided to give it a go a week later…I wrote a break up letter to my semi-non committed “boyfriend”…), and while reading this book, I realized the past few years, I’ve acted like a bitch to Rupert because I was unhappy with the decisions I’ve made in my life.

I admitted that I was not a good girlfriend, unofficial fiancée, or partner in the last few years. That there were times were I should not have been a bitch for no reason…and that everything would have flowed between if I would have been fair about being nice to Rupert.

Now, I’ve finished reading Chapter 2 of McMillan’s Why You’re Not Married, and it still is reaching eye opening levels.

McMillan constructs Chapter 2 around shallow single women. Due to some single women being shallow, potential mates who are “husband” material could shy away from these single women who are shallow.

What are shallow single women or shallow women in general, as McMillan describes:

Well, here are some McMillan descriptions about shallow women:

“Shallow is when you are more concerned with how a man looks than how he is. It’s when you care more about what your friends will think of him than how you feel about him when you’re alone together. It’s when you can’t stop wishing that if he dressed a little better, looked a little cuter, had a slightly more interesting job, or possessed way more money, you might be willing to consider him for real” (22).

“Being shallow is about perfectionism. You won’t settle for something that’s good enough—it has to go to be ideal. You want every single need and desire you have to be satisfied, preferably right now, by finding, dating, and marrying the one person who has it all. Never mind that one has it all—certainly not you!

The problem with perfectionism is that it is so dehumanizing. It causes you to see people not as human beings but as things. Objects. Have you ever heard the saying “The perfect is the enemy of the good?” That’s what happens when you allow yourself to give in to your perfectionist tendencies.

Perfectionism causes you to objectify men. You’ve probably heard this term before, maybe in a women’s studies class or from a feminist person—just not applied to yourself. Here’s a definition of from Wikipedia: Objectification is an attitude that regards a person as a commodity or as an object for use.”

This is a very fancy way of saying, you’re using someone, the way you would use, say, a can opener, or the remote control of the TV. To objectify someone is to treat them as a tool, a means to an end. You decide what role he is going to fill in your life, then your perfectionism makes you decide which qualities—physical, professional, emotional, intellectual—you “need” him to have in order to fulfill that role. Then you set out with your checklist to find the guy who has it all.

What most people are looking for (unconsciously, of course) in a partner is a someone who is going to reflect back their favorite aspects of themselves, make their life better than it is now, and allow them to stay comfortable—in other words, someone who is going to be just like a blow-up doll, except with more interesting sex. Because real human beings do not just do what you tell them to and reflect back your best self. Except, perhaps, on your wedding day.

Eventually, everyone discovers that, no matter how much you have in common, your partner is not now, and never will be, you. [. . .] (22-23).

I know this is a lot to process what I quoted. But I inserted this long quote in because I don’t think I can do McMillan’s insightful expression justice by paraphrasing it.

More than any other insight that McMillan gives in this chapter, this hits home for me. It hits home for me big time. I learned a huge part of this lesson big time when I was attending graduate school. What strikes me really hard is the perfectionism she is talking about…

I’ve always deemed myself years ago as a “perfectionist procrastinator.” Basically, I was a perfectionist and procrastinator…both intertwining at various points in my life. Basically, a perfectionist procrastinator is someone who puts off shit to the list minute to execute it, but they think about it in their heads during the time they are supposed to execute it. Once they decide to execute it, they “believe” that how they constructed perfectly in their mind will execute well when they do it in the limited amount of time they have left, it comes out not good enough…and they beat themselves up for it because they did not plan it well in their heads for execution.

Okay, that sounds fucked up as shit, but does it make sense?

Basically, the perfectionist comes up short because it is an ideal situation. And that is what McMillan expresses. Perfectionists will fail every time because they are trying to make an ideal become reality. In reality, ideal is just that…it is something you want and believe you can make a reality, but the reality is that it usually isn’t ideal because the reality of it is…

Reality is about being imperfect. It is about making mistakes…and not getting what you want. Idealism and wanting are co-dependent abstract ideas…that intertwine with one another, too, when it comes to not wanting to face up to reality and accept reality. In the shallow situation, idealism, wanting, perfectionism, etc. all go together. I agree with McMillan. It can prevent someone from getting a mate or not having a satisfying relationship.

It can also cause existing problems in a union as well.

If you are a perfectionist and want everything to go perfect in your life, it will affect how you engage in new relationships, friendships, and how you relate to other people. How? Well, you are only focused on the superficial than then characteristics of a person. Now, some people will think…or it is all about how a person looks and what kind of job they have. McMillan extends this actually to the perfectionist idea. Shallow can also mean you expect a person to act a certain way and/or be a certain way, to you. And the long quote I write, McMillan even says that. That people usually want someone to be like them.

I definitely get that because in my younger years, I was that way. When people didn’t have the exact morals or values that I possess, I distance myself from them. In the past before I turned thirty and before I started having realizations after thirty, I realize that I expected people to be what I wanted them to be so I could get along with them. However, I’ve come to learn that people’s personalities are set and their behaviors are set as well if they aren’t maturing and learning from their mistakes and gaining insight from their mistakes. I also realize that people who are close minded (close mindedness is you are unwilling to really listen to a person (Some people will usually hear someone, but he/she actually doesn’t listen (focus on what he/she says and contemplates it…and it uses to improve their own lives if the advice or the insight can help him/her) are susceptible to change. People who are in denial about their behaviors are also resistant to change as well.

Trust me, I’ve been there, and I was one of those people as well. It is something I have to work on all the time so don’t think I get a jail out of free card just because I writing analytical insight. It does not mean I am all knowing and perfect. I still make mistakes, and I still pay for them like the rest of you.

However, I will say that I have improved on trying to be a perfectionist. I came to find out later it does not work. I end up basically hitting a steel wall that I could not BREAK. It won’t break. That I was punishing myself in attempting in being a perfectionist. And punishing myself for being a proscratinator. When I finally admitted that I was not perfect and I was a procrastinator and accepted those flaws, that’s when I was able to grow and really learn about myself…and able to set realistic expectations…and see results that paid off.

In order for anyone to finally connect with someone and find a complimentary partner, you have to start admitting to yourself…what is holding me back concerning behaviors and characters? What is keeping me from opening up and finding someone that will be my life partner?

I believe for women, especially, we’ve been taught to by all women before us how are supposed to behave to “bait” a good man. We are supposed to be a good girl, a perfect girl, a nice girl, a bad girl, a wild girl, a submissive girl, etc. Yet, all of those are images. And some of us actually come off as these girls…which leads other to see that we are shallow. Shallow does not only mean what you want to see superficially, but shallow also means a person’s behavior adds up to be one-dimensional. No one wants to be in a relationship or friendship with someone who sees only what you do on the surface and doesn’t try to dig deeper by focusing on what you do give off or put off. No one wants to be around someone who makes everything about them…and gives off the vibe all the time it is all about them.

McMillan also states that you attract what you are:

“And this is where another big spiritual idea storms onto the sage: that what you are is what you get. Sometimes this is called the law of attraction. It can mean a lot of things, but in this case it means that your match will always be, well, your match. So if what you are is shallow, then that’s what you’ll attract. No exceptions. Like always attract like. The Zen Buddhist says it like this: As above, so below. Or As within, so without. (43).

This is a very important insight. Looking back on my younger years, the guys I attracted in my twenties…I am starting to see they were shallow. They were intelligent…and I was intelligent…but the intelligence we shared was shallow. A person can be intelligent and quite shallow. I attracted guys that were intelligent because that’s all I cared about…a guy being intelligent. A put that on my list a high priority quality…it was probably a first priority quality on my list. That’s why I got screwed over…and that’s why they didn’t want to date me. One could say that…they were intimidate by me. Yet, I really believe, reflecting on it, that I was so focused on them being intelligent that I overlooked their negative qualities. And collectively, the way that they behave…and how they treated me, well, we just weren’t compatible at the time. And maybe never were.

And you get into trouble attracting folks who are like you…especially if you are shallow and don’t even know it…and what can be so devastating about it is that you don’t even know that you are being shallow.

You are thinking…how can a feminist be shallow? Feminism is about giving, etc.

Well, you have to accept that you are a human as well. You being a feminist is one aspect of who you are. It is not all of who you are. Once you realize that…you can come to terms with that this is a flaw you have, BUT you always have the option and choice of fixing it…being better about not being shallow.

 

Being shallow does not mean you are a bad person. And some people even know that they are shallow and don’t give a shit, BUT they also know the consequences. They aren’t going to have quality people in their lives…and potentially will get treated like shit. When they do have a good folks in their lives, they will treat them, overall, like crap, too.

If you want to maintain the friendships/relationships you have or forge new ones, you must admit to yourself that you are trying to be an ideal…and you need to grow up from it (McMillan also touches on how some single women are in teenager thinking mode…that you still are thinking about what other people will think about of you…or you are “way too concerned with what other people think” (46).

Shallow women (and this applies for men as well) do not get what they want. When you become undone, that’s when you get what you NEED. Trust me, I know something about that.
Regards,
SMF

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What is Feminism?

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http://bonnieblythe.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/feminism.jpg

 

From: http://bonnieblythe.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/feminism.jpg

 

 

In the past recent years, feminism has been garnering a lot of attention—particularly from female celebrities like Beyonce who have commented what feminism is to them—in interviews, quotes, and even in their creative works/endeavors.

Recently, Shaliene Woodley talked about how she is not feminist. She defined a feminist a someone who wants to rule over a man. BUT when she describes what she believes in about women, she basically said that women should form a sisterhood and watch each other’s back. And help each other out.

Obviously, since Woodley stated this, many feminists have became defensive…and so have I.

For starters, other feminists and I have expressed that Woodley doesn’t know what a feminism or a feminist is.

In my own words, I want to define what feminism is to me…each feminists will define their own definition of what a feminist or what feminism is. However, I believe there are commonalities in the definition.

Feminism to me is:

1) Fighting equality among for all women and men.

From how I always understood, feminism has been primarily about women having the same opportunities, rights, and privileges (if those privileges are earned) like men. You look through history itself, men have always had certain access to certain spaces, knowledges, rights, opportunities, and privileges. Meanwhile, women did not have access to certain spaces, knowledges, rights, opportunities, and privileges like men. Or women those matters were limited for women. In case point, women couldn’t legally vote before the 20th century in the United States. Or when certain spaces, like work spaces being opened up to women all the time, became available for women to occupy, women were not treated equal in those work spaces. Instead, they were brutally harassed, sexually or physically abused…or emotionally or mentally abused. These work spaces range from corporate American to women working in coal mines.

What feminist fights for is that women will be insured that they will have the same rights, the same opportunities, and the same access to spaces as men. No, women don’t want special treatment. We want fair treatment.

2) Letting women be who they are

Yes, if you are truly a woman in spirit and mind (and this includes transgendered people who are males, but they believe they are females), you want to be accepted for who you are. You don’t want to be singled out because of what someone thinks you should be or you are. Back to history…women have been “crafted” by others to be certain ways. We have been typecast and stereotyped on print, in film, and now, the messages carry forward by a broader tool—the Internet…particularly online news media and social media.

More than ever, women are not out of the woods. Yes, we have certain rights/privileges that other foremothers didn’t have. Third/Fourth wave feminists are more better off our First/Second wave feminists…and certainly our Zero Wave feminists in terms of certain areas in culture…and life in general.

Yet, we still have a lot more battles to fight. And the reason why is because we are still getting stereotyped in all kinds of media and creative outlets. We still have to fight the images…images of us being weak…of us being a bitch…of us being shallow. For we are ALL not like that…and some of us are trying to achieve a higher spiritual realm about ourselves so we can become better versions of ourselves. If anything to me, feminism has helped me become a better Sophia. It has made me recognize how I may not fight enough for certain rights or certain spaces. It has made me realize that in other to fight the good fight right I must recognize how I view aspects of life positively and negatively.

 

3) Recognizing the past issues, the present issues, and what the future issues will be

I find, for myself, the waves of feminism as being very important. Why?

I would not say that Zero, First, Second, Third, and now, Fourth Wave, are an accurate measuring stick to every feminists out there. I mean if you ask me what wave I come from, I would say I am a Third/Fourth wave feminism as I am a Generation X and Yer. I straddle both lines. Why? One reason is that I know how to use the technology that has came out. I also have a desktop, laptops, tablets, and an Android phone. I am connected like Generation Y and Zers. Yet, I was also raised by Generation Baby Boom/Generation X parents. I have those types of characteristics. I can relate to Generation Xers definitely, but I can also relate to Generation Yers because we have in common using this technology.

I can also relate to Third wave feminists because I know all about Rebecca Walker, Amy Richards, Jennifer Baumgardner, etc. I know about the Anita Hill trial…and Susan Fuladi…it is because I was coming up in that area… I also know about Bitch magazine before it became Bitch Media…

But I also know about the emerging Fourth wave feminism. Jessica Valenti, being one of the foremothers of starting online feminism….using blogs and websites to continue to promote feminism. I also know that, as I said before, Bitch magazine…became Bitch Media as Bitch knew that to promote their message further, they had to also get onto the social media bandwagon.

It is because we feminists who truly want to continue change know that we have to evolve with the times. In other to keep combating issues and promoting change…and having that change actually happen, you must change with the times. As an educator myself, I know that. In other to get to the younger ones, you must be on their level. In order to get to their level, you must have an open mind and learn about what they are doing…what they are into…and what they are using to effectively educate them as well.

That’s how change comes. We have to know what the past issues where…and our past history…what the present issues are…and if they comes from the past issues/past history…and we must try to project what future issues will look like.

4) In all, feminists are humanitarians.

Yes, feminists have a specific goal in mind typically. We want to help women become better in the sense that better means everyone will become better as well. What do I mean by that?

Let’s say we have a stay at home mom. And let’s say that this woman has brought into everything that she learned up until she became a mother. Her mother was a stay at home mom. Never worked outside the home. She raised her kids while her husband was the breadwinner. Let’s just say that this new mom saw her mom struggle in the home…with having to take care of her and her other three siblings. Having to put dinner on the table every night. Having to take care of her husband.

But let’s say that this new mom overheard her mom tell her dad that she wants a little more for herself. Maybe wanting to take a part time job when all the kids in school. And let’s just say that that new mom heard her father panicked. Saying that…what happens if someone gets sick? Are you sure you will be there to take care of them, etc. etc.

Back to the new mom and the present day. The new mom struggles with wanting to stay home and wanting to work at the same time. She knows that if she goes back to work she will miss out on her child’s most crucial moments. Yet, she knows if she doesn’t go to work she is losing some of who she is…what I mean by that is…she feels like she is giving a part of herself. The active behavior part of loving to work…and showing her other skills as an person.

What I, as a feminist, as you as a feminist (if you label yourself a feminist)…most of all, what ALL of us need to put forth effort in is to help women feel comfortable who they are. To provide a network of support for one another. A sisterhood, as Woodley calls it, to support this new mom…and help her make the transition and figure out the changes she needs to be happy and comfortable with being a mom…and a working mom.

Woodley is right; women do not need to tear each other down. I am against that because it is negative…a lot of unnecessary negative energy. Although Woodley has a misconception about feminists, we should not tear her down for it. We should gently educate her. If she still does not want to be labeled as a feminist, that’s fine as well. Each woman has to discover what she wants to define herself as .

BUT I will say that we feminists out there who care about new moms, actresses, female doctors, lawyers, graduate program assistant, career center counselors, voice –overs, engineers, etc.

It is called being a good humanitarian. If you want to call yourself a humanitarian instead of a feminist, that’s fine, BUT feminists go under humanitarian. A feminists who cares about herself and who she wants to be treated…in return, how she treats others the same way she treats herself, is a humanitarian. We don’t seek out to rule over men. I don’t want to rule over men.

I want us ALL to feel comfortable in our skins. I want all of us…whoever we identify ourselves to be…I want all of us to the same opportunities on the same playing field. If you’ve earned that salary increase, you should be awarded it.

If you feel guilty about leaving your child at daycare while working, don’t feel that way at all. It does not mean you are a bad mom. It means that you need something in addition than being a mom. And that’s okay.

Or if you are like me…who most likely will not be having children, I should not feel guilty about that. Some of us are meant to decide a different type of destiny. It does not mean I am any better than you. It just means that we are on different levels…and that’s the commonality and equality. That we are on different levels, but we all are trying to reach the same stars.

The stars that makes us better, brighter, and bolder. Feminism may not be for everybody individually, but it is open to be for everybody. Once you understand the definition of what feminism is…than I believe you have the right to choose wherever way you want to go.

Regards,
Sophia

Am I a Bitch or I am a Nice Girl?

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From: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ykY1qRt414A/T8bfVHztK-I/AAAAAAAACeM/Bjo6l_KBJ3k/s1600/mcmillan.jpg

Tracy McMillian’s book, Why You’re Not Married…Yet: The Straight Talk You Need to Get the Relationship You Deserve already opened my eyes wide, clear open. I first discovered this book while spotting a Huffington Post article in the women’s section. Huffington Post women posted the article “Tracy McMillian On Why You Don’t Have the Relationship You Want,” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/tracy-mcmillan-super-soul-sunday-oprah_n_5244051.html) is where I become very interested in reading the book. I purchased the e-book through my Kindle app and started reading right away. McMillian’s Chapter 1, “You’re a Bitch Or, How Anger and Fear Are Keeping You Single,” resonated with me although I am in a relationship. The highlight recaps:

McMillian starts the chapter a three questions which are:

1. Do people walk on eggshells around you—and you kind of like it?

2. Does the idea that you should be nice to a man make you angry?

3. Have past boyfriends felt that you were defensive or hard to get close to? (2) .

McMillian pretty much defines what the majority of men want from women:

“The deal is this: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. Nice includes sex, laughing, and occasionally—but not to the point of oppression or anything—cooking a meal, folding the laundry, or doing something else he’s too lazy to do for himself. Just because you love him. That’s what nice is” (3).

McMillian goes on to define what a bitch and what being nice is. Pretty much, a person (in her book she in particular talks about women being bitches…and uses herself as an example) who is a bitch gives off negative energy…and wanting to feel superior all the time in a relationship:

“What makes you a bitch is that you’re mad at a guy for even wanting that stuff [McMillan means being a bitch about a guy wanting you be nice in above comments]. Being a bitch is about feeling superior to men (and the women who want them), rolling your eyes without even knowing you’re doing it, and having a lot of tension around your mouth all the time. It’s about radiating something that makes people feel just a little scared of you. And not only do you not care, but if you get really, really honest you would have to admit that you like it. Just a little. That’s being a bitch.

Bitch is less a personality characteristic than it is an energy. There’s nothing wrong with it per se. We all have an inner bitch, and she is a powerful ally who protects us and keeps us from being exploited. But most of the time in relationships, as in life, you gotta keep your gun in your purse. Which is to say, there is a time and a place for your bitch—in a tough business negotiation, say, or when being threatened, but not on a dinner date. And not just it’s Thursday” (4).

McMillan goes on to say that single bitches that attract the men they want. McMillan also delves into her first marriage; she married in her twenties. She talks about how she was a bitch in her relationship:

  1. She was controlling.
  2. She was manipulative
  3. She was judgmental.
  4. She was spiteful.

 

Then, she talks about why her friend Leanne is not married. It is because she is a bitch. She undermines conversations with guys who are interested in her. She also believes she is superior and dominant…that’s another reason why McMillan believes that Leanne cannot make a connection with a compatible single guy. What really pique my interests is the observations about what most men want:

“I’m saying that inside every man is a very simple creature who just wants to enjoy a woman, not do battle with her” (11). “But perhaps no single thing is going to cause a man to reject you the way bitchness will. This is hard for many women to hear. They really want to make it about the man being insecure or misogynistic” (11). “The are other men though—reasonable, good men—who see a bitchy woman and feel compassion. They can clearly understand that the bitchness is coming from a place of hurt, yet they know they don’t have the power to heal that hurt. So they don’t even try. Because no matter how great a girl could be, no wants to spend all his time, day in and day out, in the line of fire” (12).

Now, McMillan gives a solution to these observations that has strike my interest, and her solution is: “You’re going to have to be nice.” McMillan expresses what being “nice” and “sweet” are (which I think nice and sweet are synonyms….however, I find there are difference between those synonyms as well):

“So, what is nice? First, let me tell you what nice is not. It’s not being right most or all of the time, arguing about things a lot, having a really hard edge in your voice, focusing more on what a man doesn’t have than on what he does have, or thinking men are picket fence delivery devices meant to give you children, support you, or complete some picture you have of your life. Nice is soft, fun, kind, and ahem, penetrable. Guys need to be able their thing into you. If you’re too tough, they can’t do that. A girl can be hot, sexy, powerful, smart, dynamic, and interesting, but if she’s not sweet, most (not all, most) guys will not really want to marry her. He might be into the sex, dig your sharp wit, respect your job, and think you’re a badass, but unless you add sweetness to the mix, those are just exciting destinations” (12-13). *************************************************************

Let’s talk about me…and why this strikes a huge chord for me. Why I’ve found the right piece of puzzle to fit in the far corner of that puzzle…and why it has dawned on me I tried to fit another piece I thought was similar, but it was only similar…and a similar puzzle piece will not work because it is not a perfect fit. First, let’s talk about my single days. I don’t know if my pattern behavior fit the bitch pattern or model as McMillan describes.

Yet, what I do know is that the guys I attracted were not into commitment. I believe it was because at the time…they weren’t interested in the kind of girl I was. I don’t know if my independent stance scared them away. I don’t know if they did thought I was too nice to hurt…and I wasn’t just that type of girl that they were into. Or just maybe I was not a match or compatible because they sense I did hold them at a distance and would not let them in. Or maybe they just wasn’t ready for a commitment…and they did not want to commit to me. Whatever the case, I can’t say if I’ve demonstrated the bitch model that McMillan proposes in my single years. But…

I can tell you that I’ve exhibit this bitch energy to my boyfriend of nine years coming up. Shamefully, I have to admit that I’ve been a bitch to him. This is where it dawned on me….because a lot of insights that McMillan writes are reflective truth to my own relationship. If you ask me, did I treat those guys I chased after better than Rupert…I would say that at the beginning of the courtship, I treated those guys and Rupert very nice. I was nice. I was nice to Rupert for a very long time until my anxiety issues arose and engulf me. That’s when the alert went off that I really could not handle a relationship. Looking back at it, I don’t think I was mature enough to handle a relationship. I was semi-comfortable with who I was, but I didn’t entirely love who I was. Since I didn’t, I treated myself still badly…and sadly, in the process, I treated Rupert badly, too. Somehow, that nice Sophia became a bitch Sophia. I know what McMillan is talking about. It is one thing to be a bad ass bitch. To be your own boss. To be confident and know that people can’t run over you. That you are okay with not being friends with everyone. And the people who do like you, they like you because you like yourself…and they love you because you love yourself….flaws and all. But the type of bitch McMillan is talking about is someone who is like this all the time. Maybe you aren’t like this all the time with other people. Sometimes, you are like this with one person. I am not a bitch to everyone while I was acting like a bitch to Rupert. If anything, I’ve been nice to everyone except him over the years. However, there have been times when I’ve been nice to him, and he hasn’t believed me; it is because he got used to the Sophia who bitches him out, who criticizes him…and who really hasn’t quite love him well. And looking back, when I was acting like a bitch, I was at my worse. I was severely depressed. Very happy in my misery. I was not happy with myself, and to really accurately describe it, I had reverted back to those old days when I was extremely depressed as a teenager. Sure, I wasn’t as bad. I was a fraction of being that sad, depressed teenager…but now, I was a fraction of an angry and depressed teenager. I wasn’t too happy when I wasn’t too happy…I got really angry, really pissy, close to a rage. It wasn’t healthy at all. I wasn’t happy, and I became unhappier when I just sulked and was like whoa as me.

For the first time, I made myself very disabled. People who suffer disabilities…they don’t act disable because they won’t let that cripple them. That disability is not a disability to them. It is just a part of the character…what makes you become disable is that you don’t try at all to be happy. You don’t try to build happiness. I got stuck because I made decisions that made me stuck. I can admit. I can take responsibility that it’s my fault. I decided to become a bitch because that anger felt good in a very unhealthy way. I am a shame to admit it…I am, but I must admit because I have to take responsibility for it. I emotionally mutilated myself because I had failed myself. All my dreams became piped dreams. I stored them away not making them into realities. And the one person, who isn’t perfect…and who is flawed, but HE IS HUMAN, TOO, I passively aggressively blamed him sometimes. But I had to learn that it is not his fault for the decisions I made. It is not my fault for what I choose when I was younger believing that I would be okay in the future. McMillan talks about forgiveness. You know what? I had to learn how to forgive myself. I had to learn how to forgive Rupert as well. He is not perfect. He hasn’t always treated me well as well. Before I got my full time job, the last several years were very stressful. He pretty much was carrying all the weight…financially. And for those of you who try to come up with some fairy tale excuse, well, Sophia, he should have waited until it turned out right and have been a more supportive partner…

Well, you know what, there were times I did not let him be a supportive partner. I shut him out. I thought it was easier. I decide to become shortsighted…and act like a bitch because I thought it was easier than letting him in. Letting him love me. To be honest, I didn’t love myself. Can you imagine being someone who is carrying 80% of the financial weight in your relationship? You are always stressing about how we are going to pay the bills? Do you know how I felt? I felt miserable. I wasn’t contributing enough. All couples are different, people. Some couples can make it on being poor and being happy because they have a spiritual wealth. However, Rupert and I…we started to become a couple when we were younger…and had high, ideal expectations on where we should be. When they didn’t pan out, we got a bit beat down by life. It does not excuse how we’ve treated each other, but it makes me understand why some times were very difficult than others. Sure, we play well with others. We are very nice to other people. We like being around other people. Yet, when you become a couple, you are living together. You are letting everything hang out. When one is weak, the strong one picks up the other’s slack. Yet, you have to also realize that when one is strong for a very long time and the other one is weak for a very long time is stresses the relationship.

As a feminist, one of my core equal qualities I am big on is that each person in the relationship has to have something of his or her own. My friends…have no idea who I felt like I was dying in the inside. And maybe some of them will never understand. All of my friends, including Rupert, had full time jobs. Some of them may have despised their jobs; nevertheless, they had jobs. They had money coming in…and working for their bread. To me, that interprets independence. It might not for them for them because they became immune to their jobs. For me, I was quite thirsty for that. Now, because I have that, I have did a complete 180 degrees. I am back to myself. What being unemployed taught me is that…work for me is the learning tool. For me, work drives the force in me to succeed. It makes me feel needed. I don’t even think a kid could do it for me if I wanted kids. For me, I was hard wired to work. I love working because it is service to me. I am serving people. And I get paid for it. It helps my self-esteem greatly. Once I started working, I started acting less like a bitch as well. No, Rupert and I still have a lot of issues to work through, yet we are trying harder. We are communicating better, too. I believe it is because we are on an equal playing field. YET, the piece of puzzle that I found that fits perfectly with the others concerning all of this…is to be nice. Looking back on it, I’ve gotten used to thinking being nice means being a weak ass woman. Letting folks run all over you. If they think you are a nice woman, people will just use you as their wiping mat. But reading McMillan’s take on it makes me realize…it is OKAY to be nice. You need to be nice to your partner. Or how else you are supposed to get along. Even as a feminist, I understand what she means by being nice. I love when she writes this: “Being nice is not demeaning. It’s what makes the effing world go around! And it’s especially what makes a marriage work. It’s called the Golden Rule, and as far as I’m concerned, it trumps everything” (13).

As a common sense feminist, women out there, especially you other feminists, I am chiming in that it is okay to be nice when you need to be nice. You need to treat your partner nice. If your partner asks for a hug, give it to them even though you may not like hugs. If your partner asks for a certain dish to be made for dinner, even though you don’t want it, make it. If your partner asks you to do the dishes one night even though you are tired, try to get up some energy and do it. It is okay to be nice.

Sometimes, you aren’t going to be nice. But when you aren’t nice all the time…when you are confrontational, argue about everything, and being mean for the sake of being mean spirited, you aren’t being nice. You are being a bitch. As for me, I know I need to work on all of that advice I said above. I am not waived from it. I am sure that there are folks out there who think I am nice and sweet. It is all good. I am that. I’ve been that to them. But the person who counts the most in my life, I haven’t been nice to. It doesn’t feel nice to not to be nice to him. And looking back on it, I am shame of my actions, but I also forgive my actions. Forgiveness is about moving forward and doing better for yourself. So, as McMillan summarizes at the end of this chapter:

*You’re a bitch.
*Bitchness is really anger and defensiveness.
*Be nice
*Learn to forgive
*Get a new story

What McMillan means by a new story is forging a new belief system. Yes, usually, you act like a bitch because other folks have did you wrong in the past. But I realized that I had to learn to forgive and reconcile the past. I am still learning. I don’t know everything, but I need and want to know everything. And that’s called open mindedness. I will be learning to navigate the waters for the rest of my life. So, I am a bitch or am I a nice girl? Well, I’ve been both at the same time. It depends on when you catch me. But as they always say, you can catch more bees with honey. And let me say, from experience, I’ve definitely gotten more bees with that technique. I want to also say for those feminists out there…being nice doesn’t make you weak. It makes you HUMAN. Trust me, most people who are good, they want to be treated nice deep down inside. Sometimes, we aren’t nice because we don’t want to be vulnerable. Being nice with all your other positive behaviors…makes you better person. I know. When I am nice to people, the better of version of me shines through.

Thanks for reading,
SMF