Taking a Stand: The Bitch Is Back

I don’t know when I became this timid person, afraid of hurting everyone’s feelings to the point where I forgot about my own. I don’t know when I lost my spine and just started touching my toes for whomever because I was afraid to stand up for myself. When I was eleven, I told my parents I would no longer eat meat. This was followed by months of power struggles, haggling, and downright fights over what I ate. Years of comments about my “phase.” I stood my ground, although I do thank my parents for, when they realized I was dead set on vegetarianism, making sure I ate healthy. I am proud of this first real assertion of individuality. The vegetarian thing got me made fun of in middle-school as well. Don’t really understand why, but “tree-hugger” was a common albeit moronic taunt, as various neanderthals knocked my books out of my hands and dumped juice in my hair. I stood my ground then. When I saw someone being made fun of, it didn’t matter what other people thought, I told the taunters to shut the fuck up. I was a courageous, somewhat self-righteous crusader all through high school. A lot of times I was a pain in the ass, and would go off half cocked. But I was no one’s door mat. Somewhere since then, I’ve gone the other way. I’ve become the girl who is so concerned about her boyfriends feelings, that she disregards her own.I’ve become the girl who lets her boss stick her with all the lousy shifts because she’s the only one that won’t bitch about it, who lets people take advantage of her nice disposition at work. I’ve become the girl who lets the nasty comment about the odd kid in the corner slide, because the bullies might not mean anything by it, and I need to choose my battles. I’ve become part of the meek and apathetic problem. The meek don’t fucking inherit the earth. They get put in it.

Tonight, I reached my breaking point. It was the first newspaper brainstorming meeting of the year, and I had come up with a good semi-local idea: Daley is not running for another term. This is huge news for Chicago. I suggested we do a piece on the history of the Daley dynasty and Chicago politics and how a new kingpin–ahem, mayor– will affect Chicago. It is the unwritten rule of brainstorming that whoever comes up with a story has dibs, unless they either don’t want it or have a conflict of interest. Neither of these applied and yet no sooner had the idea come out of my mouth than some other guy said, “Oh! Can I write that?” in a manner that very much demanded he have the opportunity. The managing editor upheld the rule and gave me the choice. “Shannon, do you want to write the piece?” Before I could answer, the usurper interjected. “No, seriously, can I have this? I wrote this paper…” Blah, blah, blah, insert pathetic guilt trip look here. The really embarrassing part? The thing that makes me cringe?

I SAID OKAY.

As I walked back to my apartment, I thought it over. This is not the first, second nor third time in the recent past that I have allowed someone else use me as their own personal tissue, their doormat, their bitch. I am no one’s bitch. I am THE bitch. There’s a difference and it’s about time I got back to teaching the manipulators, the bullies and just the everyday people who try and throw their weight around, the difference.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t know the logistics of this workplace, BUT-

    I recommend that you ask for a sit down, one on one, with the managing editor.

    In your situation I would tell him or her that you are fine with letting this jackass (choose another word) write your story this time, and you hadn’t wanted to make waves during the meeting. I would also let editor know that in the future you won’t be nearly as willing, and could editor maybe remind said dickbag (choose another word) of how this works? “I’m very happy to be here, blah blah blah, but I can’t get experience without writing, etc… Thank you again for this opportunity, blah de blah…”

    Again, I don’t know if this will work here, but it’s how I would handle it.

    As far as being a door mat? I’m going to be 40 in May. I went through a long phase of not making waves after having spent my life making waves. I confused trying to be a nice and good person with not having a backbone. I hated to make people feel bad.

    And then I let someone put me in a management position. I then learned that you can do your job, and direct people, even correct people, without making them look like an asshole or hurting their feelings. Stumbling into the working world from the hell of high school, whether or not you’re pursuing a higher education, is a confusing reality. Stumbling into “adult” relationships is as well.

    I was 28 when I started to grow my spine back.

    11 years later I still sometimes find myself serving my husband the largest portion of food at dinner.

    The fact that you recognize it is huge. My internal mantra became, “Oh fuck that.”

    Good luck, lady. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

    Reply

    • Well, I don’t know if it truly counts as a workplace–it’s a college newspaper. But I’ve actually cut out the middle man and sent an email to said usurper, who says he would like to explain his reasons to me in person. He will have his chance, as he’s one of my boyfriend’s roommates/best friends but it will also be a chance to explain that whatever reasons he may have had, they are only excuses.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Jeannie on September 14, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Shannon, this is why I’m still friends with you. I love that you are one of the only people who will tell me the truth exactly as it is. You always push me to rethink, reevaluate, and make sure I am living how I want to be living. It’s good to see that nothing has changed since high school. I believe there is a balance…you can still be a wonderful, good person and have a backbone as well. There is something to be said for putting the interests of others ahead of your own; if we all simply bullied our way through life, no one would be happy. However, I do agree that there is a line. A line that is all too easily crossed. I am still learning to speak what is in my heart and not what other people want to hear. I’m glad someone is trying to maintain her identity in today’s culture which seems to be so focused on conformity. You rock. 🙂

    Reply

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daniel O'Shea, soshea. soshea said: Steal my story will you? https://shannonoshea.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/taking-a-stand-the-bitch-is-back/ […]

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