In Defense of the Misunderstood Bitch

Illustration for article titled In Defense of the Misunderstood Bitch

She's quiet, an introvert, not a tomboy but not a girly-girl either. She lingers in the middle, happiest when alone with her thoughts. Since high school, she heard the same criticism of her personality: she's cold, she's scary, she's a bitch.

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People are afraid to talk to her, because her self-confidence can be uneven. When she has the energy and presence of mind, she forces herself to be outgoing, an extrovert. She's bubbly and engaging, but is quickly exhausted. She much prefers to keep to herself. She's traveled the country and met people from all over. She's made good friends, who took the time to get to know her and love her dearly. She's also made acquaintances who dismiss her as soon as her time with them is over.

She's an observer. In high school, she sat along the outer edges of the desk grouping, so she could have a better view of everyone. By college, she was a back row-er. Her notebooks became stream-of-consciousness journals, mostly about groceries or planning when to write a paper. To the world, she looked like a thinker, scribbling away steadily for an hour and a half. The world thought all of her scribblings were great thoughts, that she was truly engaged by the lecture, when really she was trying to convince herself that this weekend, she 'd meet a hot boy and get some.

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She's not a conversationalist. She's quiet around others because often she doesn't know what to say. She listens well enough, but sometimes she catches her mind wandering and not staying in the moment, in the conversation. She tries to refocus, but it's too late, and the other person has seen the vacancy in her eyes. She seems dismissive and uncaring.

She is a positive person. She isn't an in-your-face, "Today is AWESOME!!!" kind of person, but generally her world view comes from a place of "Yes, and...." She finds herself surrounded by people with a negative world view, who haven't a good word to say about anything. Young Gene Kelly could come riding up on a unicorn under a double rainbow to deliver a lottery check for $1,000,000,000, and whisk them away for a romantic tour of Europe, starting with his favorite hideaway in Paris, and they'd wonder where THEIR unicorn was. She keeps her thoughts to herself when with them. She gets quiet, because, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." She knows that whatever positive spin she tries to put on things, or however she draws attention to the negativity, it will be misconstrued. The world sees her as unpleasant and cold.

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She gets frustrated when she cannot change the things she believes need changing. She tries the kind approach, which is either seen as a joke or ignored completely. She tries the hard edged approach, intentionally shocking to have a lasting impact. It does not go well. She tries accepting that the world sees her as a cold bitch, so she tries to embrace it and give the world what they've told her she is. It does not go well.

She accepts that the core of her personality is off-putting to many people. She's so off-putting to others that they don't approach her and tell her she's being off-putting. She can push hard and others are too scared of her to push back. Her closest friends are the ones who weren't scared to give back what they were getting. Her friends were the strong ones who saw that she's worth knowing. Trying to soften is exhausting for her, and only makes it worse for others. They see her as moody and borderline bipolar. She is not bipolar. She refuses to medicate whatever it is she "has," because what she "has" is her own unique personality. She fears that medication would homogenize her, and take away the parts of her that create good art. She fears that she would become a Stepford version of herself, and the things that make her special and different would disappear, so that other people can tolerate her for decades.

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She's been running from being ordinary. Being ordinary seemed a fate worse than death. She didn't have to be extraordinary, but she'd settle for interesting. When she's put herself out there, she's only been dismissed and ignored, so "nice" isn't her first reaction anymore. As a result, she's told she's a cold, scary bitch. It's not a label she gave herself. It's one the world gave her, and her life gets worse when she believes it.

She hopes she can find the strength within herself to handle it for the next fifty years, because she's pretty sure there's no way of changing it.

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The real question: if the world repeatedly told you that in order to have a happy life, you had to change your fundamental core, would you? Could you?

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