Sorry for misleading you, but this post isn’t going to be about women or feminism. This post is a bit more personal, hope that’s okay.
I had an interesting conversation at lunch today. It isn’t really something that I’ve spoken to a lot of people about, but this person had similar experiences so we had a little chat.
Basically, I am usually a pretty happy person. I am shy, but I’ve been told I’m approachable and seem like a people person. These assumptions aren’t exactly false – if you want to talk to me, you can go right ahead! On the other hand, sometimes I am just not happy. Usually not for any particular reason, I just can’t be happy all the time. Most people can’t be and the people who seem to be are faking it a lot of the time in my experience. I like being happy, I feel like when I was going through puberty I wasn’t happy or cheerful and was a straight up bitch most of the time instead.
Anyway, my friends always see me as happy, friendly, funny Morgan, and the majority of the time I am. But I don’t think they understand that sometimes, I just can’t be. One time in high school I was studying for an exam and I told my friends not to bother me. Instead of listening to me, they came up to the table I was studying at and decided to have a big hang out session. I got pissed off and left to find a cubicle and as I was leaving I heard one of them say, “why is Morgan being such a bitch today?” Excuse you? Luckily my boyfriend jumped in before I drop kicked them in the teeth. That is not being a bitch, but what they did is a good example of bitchiness. Just because I wasn’t up to talking with my friends when I wanted to study and left to find somewhere quiet does not mean I am bitch. Just because you don’t understand the way Mikey and I interact with each other and you assume I’m being mean to him does not mean you can call me a bitch and make me cry. You have zero right to assume you know us, to assume you know me that well. Because a lot of my friends truly don’t know me that well.
People tell me about their problems a lot, and honestly I don’t mind. I will listen to your problems, I will offer feedback, I will help you out when I can, but sometimes, I have problems too. They may not be as big as yours are (or seem to be) but they are still things that I am dealing with. Sometimes, I would like to be able to talk to you about these issues and have you listen to them the way I listen to yours. I would like you to put your phone down, to look at me when I’m talking, to offer feedback, to not fall asleep after we’ve been talking about your problems for hours as soon as I bring mine up, to not interrupt me constantly. Do you not think I have problems because I always seem happy? Is that the problem? Because even happy people have problems, bad days, things they need to talk about.
I think that people take advantage of me because they see me as a nice person that they can use when they need me and then not return the favour. I never really used to see it, my mom would tell me how she hated being used by some of her friends and I would sit there and think, “wow, I’m glad that doesn’t happen to me”. But as time has gone by, it has become increasingly obvious to me that this is how people treat me. They may not realize it, but they do. They don’t remember things I’ve told them because they don’t really listen to me, they interrupt me to tell me things about their day. And you know what? I just let it happen. I let it happen because I don’t want to say anything and come off as someone they don’t think I am. I don’t want them to think I’m being rude, I want them to continue thinking of me as nice and happy.
I like to think of myself as independent and able to not take anyone’s shit, and usually I can stand up for myself. But when it comes from people I consider my friends, something changes. I think I’m so focused on being the person they expect me to be that I let them walk all over me. And it hurts. It hurts to be yelled at in an elevator and be called stupid because I like a TV show that they don’t. It hurts that a lot of the time I talk and no one responds because they’re too busy listening to someone else. It hurts that people I care about and am close to interrupt me constantly and then forget that I was ever saying anything.
My mom is better at standing up for herself than I am. I wish I was more like her and could stand up to the people around me that I consider friends and have them treat me better. I think I slowly am, but mostly because I get so angry that I can’t control what is going to come out of my mouth next. I don’t want to be mean to people, but eventually it gets to the point that if I’m not mean to them, they will continue to be mean to me.
I want to be a strong, independent person who isn’t afraid to stand up to her friends. I’m considering going to counselling services on campus just for someone to talk to about the things I need to talk about (academics, pressure from my family, my friends…). Hopefully I’ll get to a place someday where I won’t let people walk all over me. I hope that day is soon.