Growing a Backbone Where My Wishbone Was

I got this email yesterday from someone I used to care about but have long since only harbored ill will towards. The email made me furious and so I did what any hot head naturally does, I shot off some one liner response. But then the ex-Catholic in me needed to confess so I called up someone more level-headed than me.

Two guesses who that was.

Kaply listens to my bullshit with patience and utter amusement. I’m telling her what went down and she says, “Baby girl, you have every right to be mad. You have to get mad at the right people and stop holding it all in. It just eats you up inside.” (Paraphrasing.) I tried not to cry and said, “I don’t feel like I am worth it.”

And then I really started crying.

Fuck.

I have a really difficult time expressing my anger towards men. My dad was extremely passive aggressive and basically a doormat. You could yell in his face with all the rage in your soul and get only a snide remark made under his breath or total silence. Each equally infuriating. My anger never got to be heard and now as a grown up when I get mad at a guy, I feel irrational and talk myself out of saying anything because I assume they won’t want to hear it because I DO NOT MATTER ENOUGH TO BE HEARD.

I have no idea how to be appropriately angry but I tried. I sent another email expressing how I really felt, letting all the anger and sadness pour out and felt like it was the meanest email I’ve ever sent anyone. I called Kaply again to talk about what I wrote and since she is basically the Queen of Mean and one of my closest friends, I value her opinion. She didn’t think it was that mean. I still think I was mean FOR ME but there are meaner people who could send meaner emails. But you know what? I had every right to be angry and he deserved to hear about it. I don’t care if he “gets” it or even if he feels bad. I needed to say what I’d been carrying around inside of me for years. Because I matter. My feelings matter. And I don’t have to swallow my feelings for the sake of someone who stomped all over mine.

It felt pretty liberating.

So to the person who felt my wrath who is probably still reading my blog even though I specifically asked him not to anymore- that new me you so cunningly referred to in your email? Yeah, you just met her.

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43 thoughts on “Growing a Backbone Where My Wishbone Was

  1. Well done! It gets easier the more you practice it (she says ever-so-hopefully) and come to find out the world won’t end if you put your feelings out there rather than stuffing them further in.

  2. I love watching you shed your layers to reveal this wonderfully deserving person beneath. BTW, I totally agree with you that it is incredibly frustrating to deal with people who do not acknowledge your anger … however, I’d argue that some of them do hear you. And even if you don’t get immediate gratification for letting it all out, you probably affect more people than you know.

  3. Way to go, girl! You HAVE to let that anger out. You posted something once before, saying something like (paraphrasing) “you work so hard to make sure other peoples’ feelings don’t get hurt, well, what about YOUR feelings?”

    That sentence you said stuck with me, and has actually helped me in my own search for my backbone. Bravo to you! I’m rooting for ya!

  4. Good for you Sizz. I think it’s good to speak up, to voice your opinion – especially if other people have always felt entitled to voice theirs. You deserve to be heard and not every email has to be pleasant!
    Bravo!

  5. The last two lines of this post are my favorite. Here’s to a you that doesn’t take “no shit from anybody!” (Um, yeah, I just quoted Tommy Boy. I couldn’t help myself.) Also: you are amazing and I love you.

  6. I wouldn’t recommend using Tracy’s judgment as the standard for what is and is not appropriate behavior. I’m just sayin’…

  7. Good Job. And remember, if somebody comes at you, standing up for yourself is not mean. It is normal (even if it might not feel normal for you)! And good! And empowering!

    Now, if you had mowed down a little old lady with your grocery cart because she smelled funny, THAT would be mean. 🙂

  8. Like you, I suck at being even somewhat not nice, mean is not even possible! I am very happy to see you pulled it out of you! I know how hard it is, so it’s a big deal! And face it, he said nasty shit to you knowing you’ll take it, he’ll hurt you, yet didn’t think you’d shoot back. Well, SCREW HIM! I’ll toast your toughness tonight.

  9. Girl, you have hundreds of readers who care what you have to say. You matter!

    I agree: You need a tiara. With diamonds.

    I got an e-mail from an ex two days ago about some old-ass issue; he was trying to cause drama. My one-liner response: “Let’s nuke this issue, shall we?”

    I think he got the message. 😛

  10. Oh, *sigh*. Think I’ll just link to this post again.
    Kidding!
    But I can relate to this a LOT. The background is different, and sadly it crosses both genders in my case, but once again I am feeling this post!

  11. I’m happy you felt better for doing it in the long run. I called a friend out for being sexist yesterday and felt bad about it… for a second. Even my husband thought the guy was being sexist!

  12. WHY do men do that?!?! It’s like they wait until you’re feeling your best — or sometimes it’s like they know when you’re feeling your worst, a kind of kick you when you’re down thing — and then shoot off some email, voicemail, text message that just destroys you when you’ve not even heard from them for weeks or months.

    Someone should invent a Crap Mail filter that operates like a Junk Mail filter only for ex-boyfriends, ex-friends, ex-coworkers that immediately deletes any and all negative messages from any of the above mentioned persons.

    Good for you! At least you fought back! I just delete the email while telling myself “you’re not letting him drag you down to his level”. No matter how untrue I know that is.

  13. What you did took a lot of guts. I know how hard it is to be direct. Usually? I end up apologising, not wanting to offend…and then I think that undoes any of the good progress that might have been afforded. Maybe it your being direct, and blunt, and even a little mean? He will get the point.

    Some of us need a sort of affirmative coaching, and I’m glad your friend is able to be that sane, listening ear for you. 🙂

  14. Don’t hold stuff in. Let it out. Because if you don’t, it will eat away at you and that my dear, is the worst of all.

  15. I love the title of this post.
    You are SO worth it. You are a wonderful woman. I can understand where you’re coming from, though…
    Love ya, hun.

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