I’ve said in previous posts that I haven’t written in some time, there are large gaps between posts and though life is hectic, it’s not too hectic to write. I have been writing or at least trying to, there are currently twenty nine drafts on my blog that I haven’t posted. I just can’t bring myself to do so.
So why haven’t I been writing? Well, to tell you the truth, I lost the part of myself that I needed to write, I lost my motivation, my spark and felt ashamed of my passion, my drive and who I am.
I have reached a point where it’s time I started to accept who I am, I cannot continue if I don’t. I have allowed this to eat me up and make me hate myself. I don’t allow myself to celebrate the good things I have achieved or about who I am because to do so is to have an ego and in my mind I have no right to have one. I cannot cope when someone tells me I’ve done something good, I can’t accept that anyone would admire me or anything I’ve done, it feels wrong, it feels undeserved.
Why am I like this?
I am a strong feminist, right? I fight for what I believe is right, don’t I? I am secure, strong willed and don’t take any bullshit, right?
No, yes, but no.
In a world where low self esteem is usually associated with being insecure about one’s looks or social status, we forget that it is possible to feel insecure about one’s own character. For me, it’s often been more than just insecurity, it’s been hatred, I have, throughout my later childhood years and all the way through adolescence, hated myself. I started being angry at myself for the bullying I endured from a very young age, if only I was normal, if only I just stayed quiet and in the background. I blamed myself for not being pretty enough to not be called ugly, I blamed myself for not having perfect eyesight and for being called ‘four eyes’ or ‘nerd’. I blamed myself for being so talkative that others had to tell me I was weird and boring and I blamed myself for not being liked by those people. I wanted so badly to be liked, to be included but I didn’t want to lose myself.
The first time someone ever told me I was bossy, I was six years old and had stood up for myself after being excluded from a game in the schoolyard. The first time someone called me a bitch, I was nine years old and it was another girl who said it. Interestingly, as I look back on experiences like that, it was mostly other girls who bullied me, this perpetual, internalised misogyny has had a far greater affect on me than anything any man has ever done to me.
I have tried so hard to run away from who I am, I have tried to make myself become someone else, I have been nastier to myself than anyone else ever could be because hey at least I knew I was a worthless fuck up before you did. I have tried to run away from being a bitch, but I’m exhausted and I’m putting my foot down, I’m not doing that anymore.
I watched a Ted Talk the other night by a woman called Tabatha Coffey, a hairdresser who had taken part in a tv show and subsequently found herself being called “that bitch from tv” by a stranger while shoe shopping. As I watched I felt like I was looking in a mirror, I cried and I wondered how many more of us felt like this, how many more of us felt like our tenacity and our natural leadership skills were things to be ashamed of? How many of us felt paralysed by it and how many of us were made feel like this by other women? The answer, all of us. In the feminist movement, why does it feel like there’s no room for bitches like us? What can’t we contribute?
I don’t think anybody really considers the long term affects this can have on a person, I can speak for myself though and I can tell you straight up, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have struggled with who I am, I have hated myself and I am still struggling. I have felt hated, I have felt like every single bad thing, big or small was deserved. I even stayed in an emotionally abusive relationship a lot longer than I should have because I felt I deserved it and that maybe I needed to be more submissive because freedom and consent were different in relationships and I had to stop being defensive and fighting it.
All this time I hadn’t been begging for freedom, I had been begging for permission. You do not beg for permission to do anything in a relationship, you do not beg for choice, you do not beg to have your boundaries respected. You do not deserve that and you do not stay, you walk out that door with your head held high and it takes a bitch to do exactly that.
When I think of all the women before me and all of the women after me who have and will experience this, with friends, family and relationships, it breaks my heart. We stay because we think we deserve it, we think we need to be taken down a peg or two. I have been knocking myself down for so long, I can’t do it anymore and I won’t.
What kind of generation of feminists are we raising while we simultaneously sling mud at each other? How will feminism survive if we destroy our strongest entities and quench the fires that have kept us going for so long? How can a generation of women who feel worthless, destructive and insufferable possibly find it in themselves to keep going as passive aggression and the slacktivist movement prevail?
Have we forgotten the bitches who fought for our right to vote? What about the bitches who demanded contraception for all? The bitches who believe you and the bitches who go out and fight for your right to bodily autonomy and right to equal opportunity?
To many people, I may be intense, I may be abrasive, I may be bossy and I may very well be aggressive and loud. Out of curiosity, what do we call men with these qualities? We call them leaders, we call them go getters, we call them CEOs, we call them worthy. Are those the male equivalents to bitch? What is the male equivalent?
There is no male equivalent to bossy, there is no male equivalent to slut, there is no male equivalent to shrill and there is no male equivalent to bitch.