Take a seat, let’s chat about this, it’s long over due.
One of my many muses Erin Brown posted a snippet from her most recent book about not being afraid to embody the word bitch because no one knows what it means any way.
I have had a very different experience with this word. The meaning is always contextual. And I’ve been called it a lot. It comes in two varieties, “You’re being a bitch” and, “You’re a bitch”.
Being a bitch typically comes from those around me who are more emotionally evolved. They distinguish being because they understand that I am a person with a myriad of ways of being, hats I wear, tasks I do, and conversations I have. What they unconsciously know is that being a bitch indicates a behavior or behavior pattern. We are not our behaviors, simple. Our behaviors are our personality, and our personalities are the vehicles for our souls.
Please consider this next time that you think someone is bitchy or a bitch. Actually they are acting in “that” way. It’s the “that“, that’s subjective.
[Sorry to nitpick the semantics, but words have power.]
So, let’s talk about that.
First we have to understand that our ways of being are adaptive to our environment. Personalities are the way that we have found that works for us to show up in the world and receive the feedback that we want and need. From this place we can unpack the bitchy behavior.
Yesterday, I was asked to conceptualize my family of origin as a square, and each person in it took up their own organic shape with their personalities (i.e., means to met needs) My shape (and your shape) is thus the negative space. Here’s a little drawing to help illustrate the point:
Today, I wanted to stretch this a little further. Imagine the box as our entire society. Now sprinkle in patriarchy, gender scripts, financial power, politics, our education system, opportunities, shame, sisterhood, joy, race, your neighborhood, your inner dialogue and every single interpersonal relationship that you’ve ever had. Dang that box is crowded.
And where are you? You’re (I’m) that squiggly blue bit trying to make sense of it all, integrating, wanting to be seen or not seen at all. We accommodate and respond to every single thing around us in a fraction of a second always! You might be going with the flow, you may be making waves and you might be chillin’ under the surface of the water. Or if you’re a human you flex in and out of doing all three.
These are usually unconscious decisions. We’ve laid down these patterns in early childhood, solidified them through our teenage years and are carrying those shells everywhere with us as adults. Seeing that can be insightful, it can be painful, but it can also be liberating.
Here’s what I know to be my truth. Sometimes people perceive me to be a bitch. And that’s their assessment of me that I’m not concerned with changing. Because I know all of me. I know the expansiveness of my soul. I know all of the roles that I step into on a given day and I hold loving space for each of those. So, when the environment is just so and I feel the impulse to express myself in a way that is strong and firmly rooted in what I believe to be true I do so. I step into my power. I’m not afraid of it and I’m not afraid of what “you’ll/they’ll” think of me when I do.
The goal in life is not to be liked by everyone. I have a laundry list of other goals that will always, always be vastly more important than this one.
Here’s the second part. Yes, we all wish that our childhoods were more ideal. Wish that our past and current situations demanded less
bitch power and more along for the ride. But, you can come to respect that those and this situation were not that.
Many members of my family worked doggedly to break me down. Strip me of my opinions. They were massively confrontational. I spent too many of those formative years at war, screaming, hitting, crying, fighting for my voice and space. Fighting to simply be in a way that aligned with my conscious.
In those early years I didn’t just learn to fight, I also learned to choose my battles. To be impeccably informed. To spit facts like fire out of my mouth. They taught me to tap into a deep well of inner strength. I also learned a lot of coping strategies that I’m actively dismantling. Yet I respect them, because they got me to where I am now, in tact.
The girl who you may call bitch, know that she is so much more. She is a fortress and a butterfly. She is who she needs her to be. She is perfect.