“You will be a bitch.” I was at least 8 years old when my dad told me that I would grow up to be a bitch one day. WTH? This girl’s dad told her she was going to be a bitch? Yes, indeed he did and he was right. My father has played a large role in my life. He’s my soul mate and I still respect and listen to everything his abrasive mouth has to say. He’s a tough and brutally honest man who made sure that this apple didn’t fall too far from his tree.
The other night I walked into my father giving my daughter the same speech he gave me many years ago that allowed me to never feel scared about having an opinion that goes against the current. My dad is a realist and taught me and now my daughter that women have had to fight to go to school and have careers. They have even had to fight to wear pants and vote. And, unfortunately, when a woman is not nice and doesn’t back down, she is a bitch. She is no longer a lady. When a woman says “no”, she becomes an animal. “Men will call you a bitch because they are afraid and women will call you this because they are threatened by your independent way of thinking. Don’t be rude, be strong.”.
I didn’t understand what my dad was saying 100 years ago at 8 years old but as I grew older, I got it. I wish the conversation with me and my daughter never had to happen but the reality is that it did. If he had never warned me, I would have been afraid to say what was on my mind. I would have been terrified to frankly tell a man that I was not interested or that I was not the type of girl that he was going to take on a walk in the park at 10PM (true story AND it was the first date, child please). None of those things made me a bitch, they made me a secure woman.
I have had women call me a bitch many times in my life and each time it has been due to crazy things like confronting someone or telling a guy that I didn’t want to dance with him. I mean, turning a man down makes me an out-right a-hole, amiright? But because my father prepped me, I received the B-title and realized they were the ones with the problem, not me. I knew that if a man turned a woman down he would just, “not be that into you.” and if he stood up to another person, he would be seen as a hero but me, I was another type of hero. The B-word is always attached to a woman who is tough, opinionated and will not back down. Yet, if it were a man, he would be seen as assertive and tenacious.
“OMG! Like, why is this woman okay with people calling her a B-word?” I’m not okay with it but because my dad was honest with me, I accept the title and recognize who it is coming from. I’ve been able to apply my same understanding of the word to so many moments of my life, even parenting. If I’m not a unicorns and rainbows mother, I’m a bad mother. If I travel without my children, I don’t love them. If I decide to return to work or not, I’m missing out on something. Because I didn’t say that I thought my baby is beautiful when it was born, I was evil or… a bitch. But the truth is, if you saw what I saw, you would love it but beautiful is not the word you would use to describe it. All these comments and opinions fall into the same category as being called an animal. They all come from people who are either threatened by you or wish they could be you. They all stem from insecurities.
I have always been embarrassed to share the story of the night that my husband asked for my hand in marriage because when my sweet husband drummed up the courage to say, “Mr.C, I would love to have your blessing to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage”, My dad said, “Good luck with her, she’s a bitch.” I knew what he meant that day and so did my husband. He meant that I would never back down and almost 10 years of marriage later, I can tell you that he was absolutely right.
Girl power is all I have ever known. The women in my family have an insane amount of self-worth. We have all been taught to love ourselves and our minds. I grew up in a household where even my father was a feminist. I was his little girl and he wanted me to be tough not rude. He wanted me to be a realist not a unicorn. He wanted me to educate myself and most of all he wanted no one to ever walk over me. As a tiny little person he said to me, “You have to remember, you’re a woman. People will make you think you can’t do what they do. Women were not made to cook and clean and if you ever are in a situation where you need people to back off never be afraid to give them a good and strong F-U.” What?! What kind of language is that to teach an 8-year-old girl? I get it and it most likely wasn’t the best approach but I can tell you that no man or woman has ever walked over me and while my father will never say the words, “I’m proud of you”, the other day he said, “You’re the only child I never worried about. I knew you could take care of yourself.” I’ll take it.