It is not my obligation to be nice to you.
I don’t owe you anything.
Not because I’m a woman. Not because I’m in your vicinity. Not because it’s convenient to you, even if you’re a jerk to me. Not because pretty posters on Facebook tell me I ought.
A year or so ago, I told someone that something was hurting me. Then I told them again, and again.
I didn’t want to rock the boat so hard I fell out, but I figured they’d see just how much I was being hurt if I could only find the right words.
Alas, my words went mostly unheard and my demeanor became the focus of discussion: She’s so upbeat, her words must be overstated!
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize there were no perfect words for the situation. My words mostly didn’t even matter.
Since early in my professional career, I have understood the importance of setting clear expectations and boundaries in all facets of life:
If you do [x], [y] will almost inevitably be the consequence.
I cannot make you hear. That’s neither my responsibility, nor within my power. I can and will present facts and potentialities. What you do with them is up to you.
I got this before, but I really get it now.
Now, thanks to newfound understanding, I throw up boundaries much, much quicker than I would have a year or two ago. If I get the vaguest sense you are hearing not what I am saying but instead what you want to hear, those boundaries go up. Their bricks are built from words like these:
This is not a negotiation.
Apparently these words make me not “nice.”
Apparently my greatest aspiration should be niceness, lest I be deemed a bitch.
Here’s the thing:
I am not responsible for your unreasonable expectations.
If saying so makes me a bitch, I embrace the title.
I like being nice. I like doing what I can to make someone’s day brighter–when it is healthy for me, not when someone else demands it.
But I will not sacrifice my well being, integrity or safety to earn your “nice” seal of approval.
Not now. Not ever. Not anymore.
You want me to hear you? Try to hear me.
Otherwise, keep calling me “bitch,” because–by my choice, for my well being–that is all you will ever know of me.