Don’t Mistake my Kindness for Weakness
So I have a question for the world. Do I seem very delicate and vulnerable to you? I mean I’m vulnerable in the sense that I reveal a lot of sensitive information. I am in fact sensitive about it. But I’m not a frail or feeble person who cannot stand up for herself.
Or so I like to think.
For those of you who know me, I have a sweet nature. I’m nice. I will be unconditionally optimistic about your ideas. That is how I am. I’m like that with my students as well. I encourage their ideas. For my friends and family, I like to affirm not only their ideas but their very existence.
For example, I did this exercise with my students where I had them talk about an issue that was important to them personally or an issue in the United States or in the world as a whole. They had various responses that varied from, I am going to lose my house to the problems that Black Lives Matter’s face. Each one of them had a valid and important issue. I let them know that. One kid even said he was worried the most about the Lions losing again; I thanked him for bringing humor to the table.
I am an enthusiastic person who will most likely make you feel good about yourself. Not because I’m a people pleaser but because I genuinely find most humans to be amazing. Call me crazy.
That day I affirmed that the issues my students brought to the table were not only important and unique but also that they were important as people. That is part of my job in the classroom. To encourage kids to open up and give their own insights and opinions and be themselves.
But I think this is my job in life, to tell and show people that they matter. You matter.
However, it has come to my attention that maybe people think I’m a ‘pushover’ that I’m ‘too kind.’ This frustrates me beyond measure. Now don’t get me wrong, it is better than being perceived as a wretched bitch. Yet, is not as good as being perceived as a good strong woman.
I’m not sure how or why I am nice. I think I was born this way. It’s not like I don’t have a bad bone in my body, like a few people I know (my father to name one.) But I don’t go around being rude or mean to people, although I might swear a little too much. I won’t swear at you unless I know you really well and we are joking around.
Sometimes I wonder if we are the way other people think we are. Does it even matter how others see us? I am what I am. I should be secure in that. But it bugs the living shit out of me that people assume my generosity of spirit is some kind of proof that I can be taken advantage of. That I am fragile of spirit. That I’m in the end, let’s face it: weak.
I used to be naïve and rather innocent in my twenties, but on other hand I was also very wise and thoughtful my entire life. There is an innocence about my persona, but am I really innocent? I mean I’ve been through quite a bit. If they didn’t take my innocence that may be a testament to some kind of beauty and resolution to stay simple. However, along with being simple-minded, I’m also sophisticated.
I am complex just as we all are.
What do people assume about you? How do they see you? As you really are? Do you care? Should you care? Because if this is about me, it is also about you. What you think of yourself, how you really truly are, and how people perceive you. How do we make these things align, our true self with our outward persona? Do these things need to be the same? Is it OK that nobody knows what a real bitch I can be?
Those who have been hurt by me, they know. Just ask them.
I would like to say, for the record that I am not weak. I have witnessed and experienced so much devastation and ugliness in my life, if that didn’t break me, your perception of me as a sissy will not even touch me.
You think you can walk all over me? Try it. And watch me walk away. I may not always fight, but I will always leave.
I will admit there was a time I was to put it in a colloquial language, always someone’s bitch. I had friends or boyfriends who would try to control me. Now I like to think I’m the bitch in control. In control of myself mind you. Not other people. I am not a controlling person, at all. Can I be controlled? Not anymore.
Can you? What are your weaknesses? Do you think people are mistaking you for someone quite different than you are? Do you fear that you have traces of weakness and innocence in your nature that others have taken advantage of in the past? I know I do.
Yes, I fear that I am too nice sometimes. That I am too weak and let others take control of situations that I should have control of. I fear I can be controlled.
But I remain resolute that I no longer prescribe to a state of mind where other people come before me.