I remember the first time someone called me a bitch.
It was by a guy who was a year older than me, in band class. To be honest, I don't really remember why he called me a bitch, but I do remember running to my band director after class, where I cried and said, "Cody called me a bitch!" (Author's note: yes, his name was actually Cody. No, I don't know why his parents hate him.) (Additional author's note: he drove a bright green Jeep, and it's been said by many researchers that the size of the Jeep inversely correlated to the size of...something else.)
I didn't like the way being called a bitch felt. It made me feel like a nasty person, whom someone looked at with disgust. For a fourteen-year-old kid, it definitely hurt. I got over it, and Cody got detention or something. And that was the end of that.
I've been called a bitch a fair amount in my life. Mostly by my friends, when we're joking around and being jerks to each other. Sometimes, though, there's a sting of meanness behind the word, as in: you did something I didn't like, which makes you a bitch. I made Cody mad, so I was a bitch. Or something like that.
Throughout history, there's always been those few special words that people call each other when they're mad. There are nouns (bitch, jerk, butthead) and adjectives (nasty, bossy, annoying). You can string them together (annoying butthead) or just leave them as a solo act (butthead). People fling them around, and then they either a.) apologize or b.) hold an eon-long grudge. I've apologized, forgiven, and forgotten. The entire spectrum of emotions one can feel after being called/calling someone a bitch, I have had experience with. I treated the word cautiously, because it wasn't a word you wanted people to think of when your face came to mind.
And then Hilary Clinton ran for president.
"This...this nasty woman..." was one of my favorites. Donald Trump was mad about something and because his Twitter account wasn't easily accessible in that moment, that's what he went with. And Hilary Clinton did that polite-looking smile in her polite-looking pantsuit and (somehow) didn't rip out his jugular.
Poise. Grace. Intelligence. Nastiness. *swoon*
Oh, how I wish fourteen-year-old Ellie was there to see that. If she had, she probably would've responded with a dead-eyed look and a "Go on, Jeep Man, I dare you" smirk.
So, to fourteen-year-old Ellie, here's some stuff I wish you could've known.
1. Just because they think you're "nasty" or "mean", doesn't indicate that you're wrong. It indicates that you disagree with them, and, instead of saying something like, "I disagree with you," they throw names around, similarly to how a baby would throw fod around, or an orangutan would throw poop. Same basic concept.
2. Look at who's calling you names. Is it a friend or peer who genuinely cares for your best interests? Ok, then maybe you're out of line. Check yourself. But, is it some rando whose biggest aspiration is managing a LensCrafters and emotionally neglecting his future wife? Yes? Then who gives a shit.
3. One day, a woman will run for president. And she'll lose the election to a bully. And the world will keep turning, so...
4. Another day, a woman will run for president (Michelle, 2020? Anyone?). And she'll win.
5. When people feel threatened, they get defensive and sometimes mean. Take pride in the fact, 14-year-old Ellie, that, at 110 pounds soaking wet, you make people feel threatened. Wear it with pride.
6. Sometimes, people who cause the loudest ruckus get the spotlight. But a ruckus is a ruckus (is a ruckus) and once the noise dies down, the spotlight can't be expected to stick around.
7. The eyeliner wing should be subtle, but still sharp enough to stab someone. Office casual, but still with pizzazz.
8. You'll grow into the nastiness. Just like how you grew into your nose.