A Bitch By Any Other Name

What is a bitch?  A female dog, sure, but that’s not how we usually use it.  Unless you’re in the dog world most people lob it around to insult a woman.  Put “little” in front of it and you’re insulting a manl

I don’t want to belabor the point but as any frequent readers know the STBX called me a bitch about two weeks ago.  At first I was all like, “Hell ya I am!  Don’t you forget it!”  But then I thought further and decided I hadn’t really been a bitch.  When I think of a bitch I think of someone who is catty and  mean, maybe even cold-hearted.  I wasn’t any of those things in my exchange with him.  Was I sarcastic?  Sure.  Not taking him seriously?  Absolutely.  But even after his ridiculous demands for me to thank him and be grateful I wasn’t a bitch.  No, instead I stood up for myself.  I let him know that what he did to us wasn’t right and I sure as hell wasn’t going to thank him.  He’s not a hero.

This got me to thinking even further.  I was watching a late night show.  The host was talking to his guests and the topic was pregnancy.  He talked about when his wife was pregnant and he came home after work.  She asked him how his day was and he began complaining about how tired he was.  Apparently, she narrowed her eyes and replied, “Oh really?  You’re tired?  What did you do all day?”  He did not catch on and began lamenting his tiring day.  She hit back with, “I grew some ankles and elbows today!  I grew a person in my body!”

When I first heard the story I was thinking how awful it was that she would get mad at him for being tired and use her pregnancy as an excuse to be tired.  I was never one of those who acted helpless because I was pregnant, or like I was doing this wonderful thing and I should be catered to.  But then I thought about it some more.  She wasn’t being a bitch.  She was speaking up.  “You’re tired?  Well guess what?  I’m tired, too!  I’m growing a human inside of me!”  I would never have done that!  And that’s something I need to work on if I ever have another relationship.

My history with CF is overflowing with examples of me not speaking up, me being the caring, understanding spouse and putting up with his shit so as to not make waves.  I don’t think he would necessarily have called me a bitch for any of these examples, but I imagine he wouldn’t have appreciated me losing my shit and telling him to pitch in and help because I couldn’t do it all.

I can’t remember if I wrote about CF losing his job right before I was due to give birth.  If I didn’t the short version is this:  He lost his job and then I had to put on a stiff upper lip and calm him and reassure him that everything would be okay.

Two weeks after I had Rock Star I had to start working 20 hours for my full time job.  They only paid me for 2 weeks and then the agreement was that I would work another two weeks at part time hours and then start in full time.  The entire time CF is completing our upstairs I’m trying to take care of this screaming infant, work twenty hours (and not in the evening when CF wants to spend quality “family time” with all of us), take care of the house, cook him dinner, and oh, yes, recover from a c-section.  I should have told him to get his ass downstairs and help me with his child.  I had to go back to work and he could work on the damn upstairs whenever!  Of course, he would have reminded me that he didn’t want me working full time and I didn’t need a job.

When I was pregnant with Picasso I remember being so sick one day.  I couldn’t keep anything down.  Rock Star was almost 18 months old.  I’m trying to sleep; she’s into everything.  I would go into the bathroom and puke so hard I would pee my pants.  While I was puking she would shut the toilet lid on my head.  Where was CF?  He was at work!  He couldn’t be bothered to stay home and take care of his sick, pregnant wife, or to wrangle his active toddler so his sick, pregnant wife could sleep and vomit in peace.  No!  He had a job and he was very important and could not be disturbed.  Women all over the world have babies out in fields and they just keep on working so suck it up and appreciate the fact you’ve got a bed to sleep in during the day.  There is a very big part of me that believes that, or at least thinks I should have been able to handle all of that on my own without needing help from him.

Years ago when I was a college student I worked at a company that was 99.9% men.  There was a female secretary and me.  I would listen as the men shared stories amongst themselves about their wives and married life.  I remember thinking I didn’t want to be a nagging wife.  I wasn’t going to make those mistakes.  I didn’t want to bitch and moan about everything and have my husband talking about me at work.  I don’t know why I thought that would be a good strategy.  Yet again I need to rewire my thinking.  Why would I want to be a wife who never speaks up?  And why would I think speaking up or making some kind of demands on my husband, my life partner, was being a bitch?  What kind of a plan was that?  Oh, I’m sure CF loved it!  But it did not serve me well.

I see people speaking up- I won’t do this; it’s not my job.  I can only work these days or these hours.  He’s not sorry; he wants cake!  I’m constantly amazed that they are able to speak up and get what they want.  I very much try to get along and not make waves.  I’m going to need to stop doing that.

It’s taken almost fifty years but I’m finally figuring out that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.  And that squeaky wheel isn’t necessarily a bitch; it just wants oil.

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