Here’s to Being Me

Today I was told that I am too loud. Abrasive. That women need to be quiet and respectful when talking to men if they want that respect to be reciprocated. That men don’t like me because I don’t fit this profile, that this profile is what makes a good female manager. I felt at first like the little girl who never got picked for either of the teams in kickball; I told myself not to cry because the speaker was just being a butthead. The attack was completely unwarranted. I struggled to figure out where it had come from, because it was so out of left field. And then I realized that I don’t want to be that person who makes excuses for someone who would say these things. Because that is like saying that it’s okay to say them—and it’s not.

I swore that once I got a degree, I wouldn’t put myself back in retail. But I’m here now, and that’s all right. I work in a cash office all day, and sometimes I cashier. It pays for bills and food while I further my degree. So because I enjoy eating, I put up with a lot. Many people assume that cashiers are servants made to do their bidding. They forget that we spend all day on our feet, scanning their shit and counting their money, until we are ready to fall over—and we come back for more each and every day. They forget that we are ordinary people just like they are, trying to get by. They treat us like dirt, like inferior beings, when we are, if anything, superior for putting up with the lot of them. They yell at us, they call us names, they threaten us. And we are still expected to smile and wait on them as if it’s okay. We make excuses for their behavior in order to get through the day, because we don’t know what they’re going through or where they’re coming from.

But I’m mad now, and I won’t make excuses for today. I won’t make excuses for what was said, because there simply aren’t any.

I view the discussion I had tonight as is a warning that women cannot be successful in management. A friend of mine wrote upon hearing this that it isn’t the 50s anymore. Truth. Women are just as awesome at management as men. Some are better. Management skill is not something that is based on gender. But I don’t want to be in management. I came here to write. I came here to be a bigger person that they will ever be. That’s not me being braggy—that’s me simply stating a fact. From the start with this company, I have been talked down to by people above me. I have been insulted. I have been continuously badgered to be someone that I’m not, because I, as I am, am just not good enough to work there.

I’m not a loud person, by nature. I can be exuberant when I’m happy or when I really know someone, but trust me—that does not happen at work. I do my job. I do it well. I care, so I get things done. The fact that I care so much and work hard apparently makes me female-managerial. But my so-called personality and way of speech make me male-managerial, which apparently means I will never be a good manager.

My resume begs to differ. I am good. I am good as ME. The more that I stay in this city, the more that I go to school, the more that I write, the better I am going to be. So here’s to me. Here’s to me being me, and to knowing that the words of someone who doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things will never have the power to change who I am unless I give them that power. *imaginary toast of alcohol*

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