On Being A Bitch
I have been a real bitch lately. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.
I've been teaching for six years now, and when a student comes up to me with an excuse (not the same thing as a reason) I don't have that sad, this-hurts-me-more-than-it-hurts-you expression on when I tell them too bad, you are losing points/failing/being written up/kicked out of the play/etc. I used to really feel it, too--that it hurt me as much or more than it did them. Now I don't. I don't know when this changed.
That's not entirely true. I do feel compassion for the kid who has to come to me, scared (they never used to be that scared before) and give me his excuse. I don't ever yell. I just tell him, plainly, if something is unacceptable; I look him in the eyes, I don't furrow my brow. I don't check with him twice to see if he is OK afterward. I move on.
The same is true of my interactions with colleagues and supervisors. I don't smile as readily as I did before, and I don't try to accomodate others' needs before my own. I listen, then respond. If something is disappointing or frustrating to me, I name it that way.
It's disappointing that I (the crusader against sexist dress code policies! the presenter of controversial plays!) see this confidence, this lack of bullshit, as bitchiness. Even though it has made some things easier for me, I still feel kind of bad about it. It's frustrating that for the gains it has gotten me, I know it has made me a bitch in some people's eyes, and lost me a little too.