When did I become so afraid to offend anyone?
When did my opinion become so worthless that I hold it back no matter what because, yikes, it might offend someone (anyone!) were my opinion to be voiced and NOT match the opinion of everyone else around me?
I hate this about myself.
I hate that I hold it all in, that I keep my words to myself, my thoughts, my opinions because I don’t want to offend anyone.
I feel like the Katy Perry song “Roar” where she says, “I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.”
I don’t want to be that person.
I’m just…tired of choking it all down. I’m tired of backing down because I feel backed into a corner or even ambushed and the surprise always makes me shut down and then the words, the thoughts just don’t come out and I sit there, fuming and sputtering and wondering what the hell just happened.
And the longer I fume and hold it all in, the more likely at some point, I’m going to explode.
When that happens, it won’t be fair to the person upon whom I’m exploding because, as stated above, I’ve been biting my tongue, sitting back and swallowing my ire for so long and yet, no one else knows this. They don’t know they’re dealing with a ticking bomb.
So it’s going to seem as if my anger, my frustrating, my irritation is coming out of nowhere. Even though I know it’s been building for freaking ever, no one else knows this and so I need to figure out how to let off some steam in a way that isn’t a rude awakening to all around me.
Example: I’m trying to teach my girls that they were not put on this earth to be ‘pretty’ for anyone. If they want to be pretty for themselves, great, fine. But random people who say shit like, “You’d be so much prettier if you’d smile.” Those people can bite it.
Last night after marching band practice (The band invited all the parents to the football field to see a preview of their football half-time show. It was great.) I mentioned to Alyssa how happy her friend Nora is. Lyss said, “Yeah, she’s always smiling.”
Another member of the family said, “Everyone is better looking when they smile.”
I said, quite calmly, “Yes, everyone is. Especially when the smile is genuine, like Nora’s always are. But when you force a smile because some stupid creep tells you you’d be prettier if you just smiled, well, that’s not necessarily prettier than your resting face.”
And the response I got was a snippy, “I didn’t say anything about that, did I?”
And I was so taken aback by the snippiness of the tone that I shut down and fumed. I thought we were having a conversation. But when I got what felt like nasty push-back, I had no response.
What I wanted to say, now that I’ve thought about it is, “You’re right, you didn’t. But because YOU have probably never had some random person tell you how much prettier you’d be if you smiled, you don’t get to shut me down when I share my opinion on something that I HAVE heard, more times than I can count. I want to teach our daughters that it’s okay to shut those creeps down. They don’t have to give a cringy smile. They don’t have to take the misogyny our society pushes at girls until they can’t even voice their own damned opinions for fear of being shut down. They can either shrug and walk away, leaving the awkward in the hands of ‘smile’ creep or they can voice their opinion, as loudly, as rudely, or hell, sure, even as kindly as they want. They get to own their bodies. They get to decide if something is worth smiling about. THEY get to decide. Not the old, white dude at Arby’s.”
And I will probably say something like that soon and it will shock the hell out of the people around me.
And I’ll probably cry either during or after my ‘speech.’ I hate that I cry but my emotions are very close to the surface and I feel strongly about this shit these days.