I’ve been called a bitch. I’ve been told I’m unattached. I’ve heard I come across as hard. Too loud, too quiet, too opinionated, too persistent, and too pushy. My best friend and I have a running joke about me being a bitch because I tell it like it is. It used to bother me. I used to care so much about what others thought, I would wear different personas depending on where I was or who I was with. What I’ve come to realize is that the problem doesn’t lie with me. It never has. At some point, I became unapologetically me.
Here are the things I know about myself without a doubt…….
I’m honest to a fault.
I tell people like it is because I would want them to do the same for me.
I don’t have time to pretend anymore.
I respect those who’ve earned it.
My inner circle is small because my trust has been misplaced so many times before.
When I see someone else suffering it pains my soul.
I will always fight for someone who can’t fight for themselves.
I want to save everyone, even though I know it isn’t possible.
I yearn to impact every person who comes into my life in a positive way.
I will fight for what I believe in.
These things I know about myself are the very things that cause people to form an opinion. To decide without really knowing me, that I’m a bitch.
Before Tristan’s birth I was a completely different person. I was young, had no responsibilities and was carefree. Having a child whether you are ready or not, forces you to grow up in ways you can’t imagine. Having a child with cancer forces you to change in ways you never saw coming.
You learn to question everyone, even those in roles of authority. Doctors, specialists, technicians and nurses hold the life of your child in their hands. You learn to question everything they do, every test they order, every medicine they prescribe. You learn to become a specialist without the degree.
When your child is disabled you are forced to question teachers, therapists, and administrators to make sure your child is getting the education they deserve. That they are being given every opportunity to succeed. You learn to become an advocate.
As your child becomes an adult, you get thrown into a world where the services you were promised don’t exist. The organizations who swore they would step up, disappear. You become a job coach and employment specialist.
All of these hats you start wearing put you in a position to have no choice but to raise your voice and make others notice you. To fight for your child. To raise your fist in the air and refuse to back down until he gets what he needs.
Being too loud is the perception of others when I’m fighting for my kids.
Being too quiet is the perception of others when I am listening and storing information for future use.
Being persistent, opinionated or pushy is the perception when I’m demanding someone follow through on promises made, services he’s eligible for, or putting an end to something like bullying.
Being hard or a bitch is the perception when I refuse to back down until someone does their job.
What I’ve realized in recent years is that the issue actually lies with those holding judgement, not with me. The problem isn’t that I’m this horrible monster that stomped through school halls, ringing my hands, looking for victims to tear apart. The problem is that those I had to go to battle with knew they were not fulfilling their end of the bargain and that I was not going to allow them to get away with it.
It concerned me because I wanted to be liked by teachers, aids and administrators. I wanted to be respected by doctors and medical staff. I wanted to be part of a team with organizations that were going to provide services. In the end, the teachers, doctors, and service providers who were actually looking out for Tristan’s well-being were the ones who’s respect I earned. They saw me for who I truly am.
A momma bear protecting her cub.
This is me, this is who I am.
I won’t apologize for being a person who feels deeply. Who is driven by their emotions. Who empathizes with everyone.
I won’t apologize if that makes someone uncomfortable. Because the reality is, if someone is uncomfortable that is their problem, not mine. Chances are that person is unhappy with themselves. They place judgement on me, because they are threatened by my willingness to fight for what I believe in.
Today I met in person with someone I’ve been friends with on Facebook for more than two years.
After two hours together, she told me “You are so Buffy! You’re exactly who you are online, in groups, and in messages.”
My response was “What you see is what you get.”
It took me half a lifetime to say that and mean it. What she doesn’t realize is that her telling me I’m authentic was probably the biggest compliment she could have given me.
This is me. This is who I am. I won’t apologize. Call me anything you want.
I know the truth.
I’m a warrior!