Every year I get one of those something-a-day calendars. Last year it was all about Fashion. I learned a lot, like how Christian Louboutin’s came to be red on the bottom and the origin of the grunge look. This year I wanted something a little different, but still me.
My step-mom picked one out for me. It’s called Getting in Touch with your Inner Bitch.
At first I thought I should be offended. But she is always right in the end. I figured it would be funny. That’s pretty much the point of a something-a-day calendar: to smile the days away as you get closer to each vacation. Yeah, I sometimes forget to tear them off when it’s not a work day.
I brought the Inner Bitch calendar home and got her set up on my desk, ready for January 1st. Then I peeled off the cover page and read the first day. Turns out, it is not a funny calendar. But it’s also not what I expected from the title.
There are quotes by famous women and a few men, too. Lily Tomlin, Dr. King, and Maya Angelou. One of my favorites so far is by a woman named Wendy Wasserstein. No I don’t know who she is. But I know she was right when she said, “Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.”
Most of the days are short “lessons” about being a Bitch. Lessons about standing up for yourself, saying what’s on your mind, and not worrying so much about what other people think. All things I need to remember from time to time. Ok, maybe daily.
Does that mean being a Bitch really just means being a strong woman?
Among my friends, we’ve always used the word Bitch. And Biatch and Bizzo and Hooch. They didn’t have any bad connotation. Really, they meant someone that we loved. Maybe we were finding our own definition for the word. Maybe Bitch only has the power to hurt when it’s said by a man.
I remember the first time I was called Bitch by a guy. I can’t say man, because what real man calls a woman a Bitch in the first place? It was in college and I was at an outdoor concert with some friends. I had a backpack with me and hidden inside was something considered contraband. Yes, it was fruity wine coolers, but let’s just say it was potato chips because I might not have been twenty-one.
I had enough potato chips for me and the friends who came with me. We were sharing nicely, as friends usually do. Well, the guy next to us saw what we had and figured out I was the one with the goods. He said, not very politely, “Hey, let me get one of those.” I didn’t know him, he wasn’t even nice, and there were only enough for my group of friends. So, I shook my head and said, “Sorry.” I even used my sweet phone voice.
The guy looked right at me and called me “Bitch”, loud enough for everyone around to hear. The other people turned to stare like I’d keyed his car or boiled his rabbit. You know, something a Bitch would do.
That day I decided that Bitch just meant a woman who said no to a man.
But as I go through the daily tidbits I’m finding it’s something more. Getting in touch with my Inner Bitch means finding out who I really am, what I really like, and saying no when it’s not in my best interest. It means not being a doormat or doing everything I think I should do because I’m a woman. And it means standing up for what I know is right and saying what’s on my mind.
The more I get to know the Bitch inside me, the more I like myself.
Bitch is just the way our culture, society, what-have-you labels a woman who is strong. Look at Hilary Rodham Clinton, Oprah, and Margaret Thatcher. All of them have been called Bitches. All of them strong, powerful, and successful. Maybe it’s not so bad to be a Bitch.
What do you think about the B word? How does it feel to be called a Bitch? Do you ever use it yourself?