Like a lot of people, I feel misunderstood. Generally, people think I’m a bitch. They think I’m angry, scary, mean, so on and so forth. I don’t really think I’m any of those things—much–but looking back, what I think people are mistaking for bitchiness is actually pride.
I had someone tell me just the other day that I am “too proud.” Although pride is technically one of the seven deadly sins, I’ve never thought of pride as being a bad thing. Pride is what drives us to succeed. Pride is what gives us that sense of accomplishment when we do something well. Pride is what gets our lazy butts in the shower in the morning rather than just slapping a hat over our greasy hair and calling it good.
Years ago when I was promoting my business, I used the local newspaper. I had things I wanted done a certain way (keep in mind I live in a town of 5000 people-our newspaper is nothing special or particularly good) and I thought it was reasonable that I ask, since I paid a lot of money for my ad. I later heard through the grapevine that the person I had been dealing with at the newspaper referred to me as “intense” to some of my customers. You might argue that “intense” doesn’t necessarily mean “bitchy”…but I’m arguing that in this case, it does.
I’ve started a new business and in this town there are no other advertising options besides the paper. I resisted for quite some time but finally caved and decided to give them another shot. After exchanging e-mails over pricing, I sent them an ad with the request that it be put on page two, even if they had to hold it for a day or two.
I waited 8 days and the ad never ran. Instead, on page two, was an ad for a competing business. The ad was the exact same size as mine and in the exact location I wanted mine to be. I e-mailed my contact as the newspaper and asked him to please disregard and that I had decided not to run my ad.
He called me this morning to tell me, “I got an e-mail with your ad here-I can get it in tomorrow.” I told him, in a perfectly mellow voice, that I had sent that over a week ago and had since sent another e-mail telling him I’d changed my mind. He asked when I would be submitting my next ad and I told him I didn’t know if I would be.
I replayed this incident in my mind and it’s obvious to me now why people think I’m a bitch. I wasn’t still angry and I understand that perhaps this person just doesn’t know how to check his e-mail regularly. Who knows–it might have been delayed in cyberspace for a week. But the point was that when I saw the competition’s ad in the paper in my spot, I said to myself and anyone within hearing distance that I would not do another ad with the newspaper. So even though I wasn’t upset at all when he called, my pride is what said, “We said we aren’t going to do this and we aren’t going to do it.”
I take great pride (ha!) in keeping my word, even if it’s just to myself. For people who don’t understand it, they accuse me of being crazy, irrational, bitchy, or “intense.” But if upholding my personal standards means being misunderstood, then I’ll just have to be misunderstood a while longer.