Being a Boss, Becoming a Bitch
Identity is something that I’ve struggled with my entire life. I tried to identify myself by the relationships I had with others. I was a sister, a friend, a daughter, a student. I tried to use adjectives in place of identity: a fun sister, a good friend, a responsible daughter, a star student. As I got older I tried to piece an identity together from the bits and pieces of people I admired. A step in the right direction, but still not really an organic identity. I always had a really strong personality growing up. I wanted to be the boss. This gave me a label more closely aligned with the word ‘bitch’. I hated it. I wanted nothing to do with it. I had this label that I would eventually spend years trying to shirk. I came to the realization that I needed an identity, and I needed to make one myself.
I’m gonna tell you a secret that the rest of the world doesn’t know. Are you ready? Here it goes...identity is fluid. It isn’t a rock. There’s no algorithm that you can perfect. It’s totally moving and changing and evolving, just like you. Some people hold their identity so close they don’t realize they’re changing and that it’s changing right along with them.
It took a long time to figure all this out. I’d been trying to emulate others when all I really needed to do was stop caring about them. I had this group of friends my first year, they were my everything. Literally. I wanted to be them, be like them and be with them all the time. This was incredibly damaging to my sense of identity. After the dreaded, but ultimately inevitable “friendship breakup”, I was lost. I spent a whole year feeling alone. I clung to the one piece of myself that I’ve always had: my sense of leadership. I felt like I had no guidance in my own personal life, and to combat that I became the super leader I’d always thought was a result of identity. Along the way I realized that being a leader is who I am. I’ve never done well following paths that others created. I could never fit myself into the boxes that someone else made. It took awhile to figure out that my identity was my passion for leadership.
I am a Lead Student Ambassador, the president of Champlain PRSSA, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Champlain Crossover. I put everything I had into these organizations and have since been given incredible opportunities and experiences. But there was still something missing. I took on these roles and I found that I wasn’t being taken seriously as a leader because I didn’t want to be seen as a bitch. So I would do unfinished work myself, I would completely finish someone else’s work if it wasn’t up to my standards. I was too scared to speak up and tell people that they had to up the anti, so I continuously upped my own standards for myself.
This brings me up to this semester. I dropped that fear. I embraced the bitch. Why should I have to accept unacceptable work? Why should I feel bad that someone else wasn’t responsible enough to take care of their shit? The answer: I shouldn’t, and I won’t. I stopped making excuses for others and we were all the better for it. I took myself seriously and my teams followed suit. I was done being walked all over and I wanted nothing to do with it anymore. It was my “aha!” moment, I could be a boss. I could also be a bitch. Bitch wasn’t a bad thing, it was empowering. It was strong. It was me. I claimed my identity and finally, finally, felt at home in my own mind.
Identities can change. People can change. And being a bitch doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it means that you know what you want and you don’t accept anyone else’s low standard as an excuse. I’m going to leave you with a piece of advice; don’t trick yourself into believing who you are isn’t who you are supposed to be. Own it. Love it. Share it with the world. You’ll be all the better for it, I know I am.