I love shoes. My favorite brand are Fluevogs and my most favourite of my favourites, is my pair of Zaza’s. I love these shoes with a white hot passion. I feel zippy when I have them on. The world is a better place because of those shoes.
I wore them the other day to run errands. I stopped at the gas station and the pay at the pump wasn’t working so I had to go inside. As I walked toward the station the guys filling up their cars next to mine yelled out.
“Those are some really ugly shoes! Don’t you feel stupid wearing those?”
I looked down at my shoes, then back at them. “No,” I said, after pondering their question. “I love these shoes. They make me feel pretty. What you said was really ugly. Don’t you feel stupid for being mean to a total stranger?”
We stared at each other while I waited for them to answer.
“Bitch.” One guy said. “Fucking Bitch,” the other added. Then they smirked waiting for my response. I’m guessing they thought one of the following would happen:
a) I would break into tears
b) I would begin screaming and cursing them
c) I would scurry inside, shocked and horrified.
Calling me a bitch was intended to shut me down. To get me to shut up. It was supposed to upset me. I gave them both a huge smile and said, “Thanks!”
You know who never gets called a bitch? The quiet girl in the corner who never says anything. Some of the women I most admire get called bitches all the time. If you’re a strong woman with opinions, someone is going to call you a bitch sooner or later. They do it because they think it will shame you. Opinions are risky. I have all sorts of strong opinions on things that matter a lot (women’s rights, animal cruelty) to things that maybe don’t matter, like what is the best flavour of ice cream (In case you’re wondering it’s Baskin Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip. Don’t mess with the classics.) You may like my opinions or not, but I own them.
For years I was really insecure. I didn’t like myself very much. What that really meant is that I worried that other people didn’t like me enough. One thing I’ve learned in publishing is that no matter what kind of book you write there will be someone who hates it. There’s no way around it. That made me realize that no matter who I tried to be there would be someone who doesn’t like me. I can’t change that. I can only worry about if I like who I am. I’m far from perfect. I’m a touch of a drama queen. I’m impatient. But you know what else? I’m also really kind. I’m funny. I’m a decent writer. On the whole, I’m okay. I consider myself to be a work in progress. If that makes me a bitch- so be it.
Let me be clear, calling someone a bitch is a scummy thing to do. I don’t want someone to call me names. However, I am no longer going to let someone calling me a name shut me down or up. Not liking me or my opinions is your problem, not mine. The fact that two guys as a gas station (one of who had bits of his lunch dried and crusty on his shirt) think I’m a bitch is fine with me. Most likely people they think are bitches are the kind of women I’d like to hang around.
I went into the station to pay. The clerk looked up. “How are you doing today?” He asked. I looked down at my shoes, up at him and smiled. “I’m doing just great.”