I am a Virgo. I am an Italian. I am a choleric. These three statements combine to make one force of a lady. In practical application it means that I speak loudly and fast, with hand gestures and facial expression.
I have been told my whole life that I’m too loud, and to be quiet. I’ve had people misinterpret my facial features and hand gestures and say that I am being aggressive even when I’m happy. I have been told that when a man says the same thing I am saying it is logical, but when I say it it is hysterical (don’t even get me started on the baggage that goes along with the word hysteria).
My whole life I have been commented on being unladylike, or different, that there is something fundamentally wrong with being an opinionated strong woman. That I need to change my tone, I need to soften, I need to be a different version of a woman.
One of the most infuriating things about this is that I have drastically softened and changed since becoming a mother. There is scientific proof at this point backing up the theory that when you become a mother you change as a person (check out more about that here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mother.ly/how-becoming-a-mom-changes-you-2559482267.amp.html).
I have tried to advocate for myself and educate those around me but after years of these comments I find myself in my early 30s wondering how much of myself would I need to change to be excepted by society. Now obviously there are people that support my individuality and are not trying to dampen my fire, but generally speaking those are other women with the same personality traits as myself. I also understand that there will always going to be people that just don’t like me and I am ok with that, but don’t weed me out because I am loud and like to split wood.
Now I am all for being able to better communicate with people around me but I find myself uneasy with the asks of some people. It is as though we have stopped holding each other accountable for personal growth and instead just blaming the loudest person in the room. I would be damn sure that this is not a new phenomenon but probably something that’s been going on for a long time. In fact my ass would’ve been called a witch and I would have been burned at the stake just a few centuries ago. Now I am rhetorically burned on the steak day after day by the people I long to be understood by.
All of this crescendoed for me while driving in the car today with my two daughters. The band Joseph was playing White Flag on the radio and I started sobbing. Because like all human beings I want to be heard and understood. I may use a lot of four letter words. And I may be anal retentive about how the things in my home are organized and cleaned. And my brow does furrow when I am confused. And I will ask clarifying questions on a topic. And none of those things making me fundamentally mean or angry.
These were not tears of sadness or anger, they were tears of understanding. Relief that there are others out there that don’t want to be silenced, those out their going against the flow of common opinion. That I need not surrender all these pieces of myself, but perhaps can glean out the things in my basket that are no longer serving me and try to focus on the areas that don’t feel like a compromise to the person I want to be.
So in honor of strong women everywhere here is a link for White Flag: