Nope, you’re not seeing things. I did just use the B-word in the title of this blog post. And what a loaded word it is.
I realize that many of you out there might have any number of issues with this generally derogatory term, and I want you to know you’re not alone. We here at Boston GLOW have a lengthy list of our own grievances against the dreaded itch with a B. But we also know how to turn a little negativity into a positive thing. And we’ve had just a bit of experience with finding constructive ways to manage our frustations.
Plus, we’re bitches.
I’m not referring to the conventional snarky, naggy, mean-for-the-sake-of-being-mean definition, or the rap-song-smack-my-you-know-what-up one. I’m talking about the strong-independent-we-get-things-done-like-Tina-Fey meaning of the word. Because let’s face it, what being a bitch really boils down to is being assertive, and assertiveness, when mixed with a healthy dose of humility, compassion, intelligence, and humor, can take you a long way.
Apparently, I exhude some of these characteristics in a mildly noticeable way (read: I don’t take no crap from no one), so I was tapped to put together a program for one of our Fall Spitfire networking events. Spitfires are a monthly phenomenon- we get a group of smart, sassy, can-do women in a room to talk, meet new people, drink wine, and learn something really cool. The response to our “How To Be a Bitch” seminar was pretty overwhelming, so I’m going to recreate that talk here on the blog in a series of ten (yes, ten) posts. I hope these tips will be useful to the women (and men- we like you guys, too) out there, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish at this juncture in your life.
Without further ado, I present Bitch Tip #1:
Figure out who you are then own it- the good, the bad, and even the ugly. (But just for fun, love yourself, too.)
Humans are pretty complex beings. There are so many layers to our personalities, emotions, and thoughts, and those layers are constantly changing and evolving so it’s difficult to say whether something you defend today is going to hold up for tomorrow. However, it’s helpful to have some amount of self-awareness when you go out into the world.
Now, self-exploration can be pretty scary. Honesty is, well, honest. You have to ask yourself some tough questions: Who do I want to be? What kind of life do I want to lead? What am I willing to sacrifice? What am I never willing to compromise? And if you have the guts to take a real good look at yourself in the pyschoanalytical mirror, you might not like everything you see. But maybe you’ll learn to focus on the parts that you do love, and take the rest in stride.
During the seminar, I tied each tip to a prominent female figure, either from today’s cultural landscape or from history. For this first tidbit, the person who most immediately sprang to mind was Angelina Jolie. And just for the record, I don’t even particularly care for her, nor do I agree with all of her life decisions, but it’s pretty undeniable that she is someone who owns who she is, good and bad, and never apologizes for being that person. She’s an unquestionably polarizing figure, which is in large part due to her strong, self-crafted personality. Not only has she earned a living and international acclaim playing off-beat characters that many ingenues don’t have the depth or confidence to play, but she lives her life the way she wants to, whether that means traveling to war-torn and dangerous places of the world like Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Pakistan to aid in global relief efforts, raising her children according to what she feels is best for them, or conducting her personal relationships as she sees fit rather than simply ascribing to social norms about which she has conflicting opions.
Am I advocating that you wear vials of blood around your neck or adopt a gaggle of Benetton-ad-worthy children? Absolutely not. But I do believe in learning to define yourself. Because if you don’t, then someone or something else will jump in to do it for you, and that dangerously opens up the possibility for your entire personality to be a fabrication of someone else’s opinions and whims. You don’t need to be any more mainstream or extreme than you already are. Just practice a little bit of self-acknowledgement, and a little bit of self-forgiveness, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the best version of you that you can.
Now I want to hear what you think. Feel free to post comments!