Lately, I’ve been working really hard on saying what I mean, and saying it so that people will listen and respect what I have to say. I think as women we struggle with this often. We try to “practice what we preach” to our children by being kind to one another, and in return we are left with regret about not being brave enough to say what we really mean.
We say “I’m sorry” a hell of a lot more than we should and apologize for things we aren’t sorry for—nor should we be sorry for. It’s an ugly cycle that needs to stop—but something is always holding us back.
I had a little “situation” this past week that tested my strength in getting my point across.
I was in the process of interviewing for a writing job that I knew I was too good for, and knew much more about content creation in the digital space than the person who was interviewing me. I kept thinking that if my writing samples got approved and they fell at the higher end of the pay scale, it would all be worth it in the end.
So I wrote. I wrote about what I know best—fashion. My samples were filled with snarky zingers, purposeful sentence fragments and impactful statements about fall fashion at its finest. Very Refinery 29 style. I handed them over with confidence and in return was ripped apart in a way I had never, ever been in my writing career.
I was faced with two options.
One, I could keep rewriting sentences that I knew didn’t need to be, or two—I could defend my writing. I’m proud to say that I went with the latter, and battled each remark questioning my fashion sense, my wording, and my ability to create an attention grabbing title. I stood up for what I believe in and spoke my mind completely. I ended the email letting her knew that I never had to do this before, and that I needed to part ways.
Phew! Or not…
What I got in return was an even bigger slap in the face.
The girl who I was interviewing with responded kindly, of course. But as I scrolled through her email, I could see that she accidentally responded to her boss, bad mouthing me to the fullest extent—then accidentally emailed it to me.
Gasp! I somehow held my composure, pointed out her error, and let her know I wasn’t happy with her lack of professionalism. I said what I needed to say and somehow held it together in a way I would have been proud of my son to witness.
But it didn’t end there.
I was expecting a feeling of relief to wash over me. I wanted sunshine and rainbows. Obviously my expectations were too high because I still felt like shit. I had done everything right, yet was still lying in bed that night running the situation through my mind—dissecting each detail.
The truth that I found in this situation is this: a shitty situation is a shitty situation—and you will feel like crap no matter what. Since the outcome will be the same, you might as well come off on top, speaking your mind and knowing that you did what was right for you.
Who knows? You might just sleep a little bit sounder.