Everyone who knows me, would 100% testify that I am the most chilled, friendly and calm person in the world. And if you asked that question, say, five years ago, the answer would have been 100% right.
As a the only child of an alcoholic and abusive father and a submissive mother, I grew up with a phobia of conflict. It’s not that I thought the constant screaming and banging and hitting and humiliating was my fault. But I knew that rocking the boat in any way was not a safe way to go through life. Like the time when, I must have been ten years old, my father asked me how I felt about him one drunken night and I told him that, as far as I was concerned, I did not have a father. He became furious and only a step away from foaming at the mouth. I realised then that honesty was dangerous and I had, since then, adopted not rocking the boat as my mantra and second nature.
It doesn’t mean that I subsequently became a liar. But that my telling the truth always came with a dollop of honey, smothered in treacle syrup and sprinkled with a generous amount of powdered sugar. I became an artist at telling the truth (or at least my interpretation of it) in ways that not only didn’t hurt, but almost made everything better than it was. I would have rather hit my head against the wall of stomped on my own feet with high heels that hurting anyone’s feelings.
Fast-foward a couple of decades later, and I am applying my old coping mechanisms to the conflicts in my marriage. Easier said than done when one is married to a straight-talking Northerner with a big heart but a very short fuse. Conflict as a daily occurrence. Conflict I now have to somehow figure out how to be part of and not to stay as far away of as possible. And what I discover is revolutionary. I enjoy fighting. I like proving that I’m right. I don’t mind hurting feelings. I love bossing around. And I feel totally comfortable with pissing-off. I realise I too am, what people generally refer to as, a bitch. I am such a bitch that I stop myself with difficulty not to smack the loud and potty-mouthed teenager on the train screaming over my head to her friend sat behind me, and telling her to shut the F&*^% up!
You must be horrified. Don’t be. It’s a great thing! And here’s why.
Humans are made up of two parts: the conscious and the subconscious. The subconscious is a mysterious matter made up of very intricate and hard to explain things. It’s darkness. And when we don’t let our darkness blow some steam once in a while in as benign situations as possible, then the darkness accumulates and erupts in ‘very bad ways’ (to paraphrase president Trump). Such as destructive and punishable by law outbursts, depression, alcohol and drugs abuse or, worse, suicide. Being a little bit of a bitch once in a while is good for you. Then why we are so reluctant to do so?
We women are programmed to be as lovely and accommodating as possible and, God forbid, that we get angry or lose control. God forbid we show assertiveness or the same level of authority as men. Even now, as much as I enjoy being a bitch, I immediately feel the need to apologise and make amends whenever I lose my temper. Unlike my husband whose motto in business is ‘Never apologise, never explain.’
A few years ago, I used to write for B.I.T.C.H., an online magazine (standing for Bold Intelligent and In Total Control of Herself) aimed at ambitious career women. I didn’t see myself as ambitious or as a career woman, but I loved writing and I loved writing for women who were the above.
I’m still not a career woman and my only ambition is to lead a life of leisure and fun (yes, you can call me a visionary!). But I have certainly since then learnt to reach out to my inner bitch once in a while and thank her for the good job she’s doing of having my sanity and my back covered.