Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Honesty vs. Bitchiness

This is something I struggle with a lot. I post it here in the "writer blog" because I've lately gotten back into message boards and group stuff online and my current discussion venue of choice is writing related message boards.

Let's be frank about it. I can be a bitch. I'm sure a lot of people can. In my desire to be "honest" about how I feel about things, I sometimes cross a line. Something that I'm becoming increasingly more aware of and trying to stop doing.

I have several different factions of myself at war with each other, and sometimes it gives way to bitchiness. On the one hand, I'm very much against false sentiment. If I don't like you I won't go out of my way to pretend that I do. If I don't like something you said about something, I won't just "go along with it" to appear more popular.

But there is a line, which I have on occasion crossed, from honest expression to bitchiness. I'm not sure what it is about me, but it does ocassionally crop up. The thing is, that's not who I want to be. I genuinely don't want to be a person who says things that hurt other people.

Some people say this type of bitchiness stems from low self-esteem, but I don't think that that's the case with me. I do have my moments of self doubt, but on the whole my esteem for myself is pretty healthy. Maybe it's this whole "being in my twenties" thing.

I've heard a lot of women in their twenties sort of flounder trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. I think I'm there right now. Two things tend to make me "bitch out."

1. If I feel backed into a corner or like someone is trying to walk over me. I'll stand up for myself. I say what I think about things. It's important to me that other people know that I'm not someone who is "nice" just not to rock the boat. I hope that I don't actively seek out confrontation (I know I have before), but I don't avoid it at all costs either.

2. If I'm a part of a discussion where I feel like there is a lot of "fakeness." Sometimes I have to call bullshit. The trouble with that of course is that we call bullshit as we see it. But seeing it doesn't make it so, especially when we're in our own little worlds of perception.

Neither of these concepts by themselves are bad. It's perfectly noble and OK to want to be a genuine person, even if it means being blunt, and standing up for yourself. But there is a line that can be crossed. I need to find that balance within myself.

I post this here and think about it because I'm putting myself and my name out there. And while false sentiment annoys the holy fuck out of me...maybe it's not such a bad idea to follow the "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" principle. Because people remember things. I don't want five years from now someone to despise me based on some stupid thing I once said on a message board based on some weird little 'be true to myself' compass.

Perhaps it IS it's own little variation on the self esteem issue. In some areas I have loads of self esteem. In others, maybe not so much. I should work on that.


Michelle said...

I'm the kind of person who think VERY carefully before clicking send when I respond to something on an open forum. And usually I delete it and don't send it. And just ignore whatever bothered me and move on. If I honestly want to say something to someone, which I think will be open to misinterpretation, I send them a private email. Its kept me out of a lot of trouble.

Edie said...

Zoe, in a man it's not called being bitchy, it's called assertiveness.

I'll stand up for myself, but usually on writer loops I'll let things go. I'll sometimes say what my experience has been, not saying that the others are wrong. Although of course they are. *eg*

We're like our characters. We all have our point of view.

Zoe Winters said...

heh michelle. I see what you're saying. With private email my worry is that people will just forward it or take me out of context. At least on a public forum there are witnesses (which is clearly both a good and bad thing) I'm starting to ignore the things that bother me that aren't aimed directly AT me just due to the fact that I can't change other people's behavior and you know...whatever.

Edie, I agree with you to a point. heh. I don't want to get rid of the part of me that is assertive, and if someone chooses to call me a bitch for standing up for myself...so be it. But I do know there's a line that goes from being assertive to "attacking." It's that line between agressive and assertive. Assertive behavior indicates high self esteem and confidence, agressive behavior indicates the opposite and often hurts people unnecessarily. :)

Karin Tabke said...

Zoe, I hear you. IMO there is being a bitch and acting like a bitch. Noun vs verb. In my twenties I can safely say I was the noun version. I won't go into the psychological reasons for it (frankly I believe it's some twisted right of passage for alpha females, but I digress), but I grew out of it and now I can say the act of being a bitch happens occasionally, but for me that act isn't an attack, it's a mood. Maybe snarky is a better way to describe it for myself. Being a bitch on purpose is a serious character flaw. Career bitches are ugly. Pity the bitch.

Zoe Winters said...

Good points Karin! :)