I'll start this with a direct quote from a coworker.
"Andrea, you are so much more pleasant to work with now. You were such a bitch before."
Ummm, wow! Really? And I assure you she wasn't joking. And the fact that she thought it was okay to say something so hurtful may sort of be my fault. I have that abrasive, in-your-face attitude. I always have, and any effort I have put forth to change it fails miserably. It's just me. Or is it?
I talk a good game. People around me would tell you I am hardcore, no-nonsense. But truthfully? My skin isn't quite as thick as I put on. My feelings are easily hurt and I am seriously pretty insecure. But you would never know that unless I tell you. Or unless you know me really, really well. I think John is the only one who knows the true me.
So this? Well, I laughed, but inside I was hurt. It was weird to find out she thought this about me. She honestly believed that having Zach mellowed me out. It did. But some of it is just simple logic. Before I got pregnant, I would manage at least 70 hours' worth of work (at least!) with a full-time school schedule, fitting in sleep every third day between exams and OT shifts. I was the classic workaholic. When I got pregnant, I cut down on the OT, dreading the complications I knew would be coming. I cut down on school, but didn't cut it out. So I was still tired, and shocked by a pregnancy. Then came the part where I wasn't doing anything but my base work schedule. And that is when the contractions started, so I was constantly miserable from pain and discomfort. (Yes, the contractions started earlier than documented. I knew what was going on and didn't tell anyone at all until they got too much to tolerate. I faked well.) So yeah, maybe I was bitchy. But a bitch?
So this has all got me thinking about the label we put on women. I think of a bitch as someone who is generally mean-spirited and female. I don't think I fit into this category, with that being said. But that isn't what the word has come to mean in our society. The label is instead carelessly tossed around to any woman who is outspoken, ambitious, serious, and honest about her thoughts. With that being said, it can actually be a compliment. Should I say thank you?