As women, we’re always told that we’re “too much.”
For much of my life, I’ve been told I was “too much.” The first time I remember feeling as if people feared me, I was only six years old.
I was at the dinner table, and I was mad about something – whatever six-year-olds get mad about. It was probably some perceived injustice having to do with me being the baby of the family. I glowered at everyone at the table in turn before fleeing to my room and slamming the door. I listened to the stunned silence I’d left in my wake, vibrating with the power of my own rage.
In the evening, my father and stepmother came to talk to me about what had happened.
“If you could only see your own face when you’re angry – the look you give people,” they told me. “It’s devastating.”
Maybe it’s because I’m a Scorpio. Maybe it’s because of my anxiety. Or maybe it’s just that I’m not afraid to speak my mind, even when it upsets people. But I’ve always felt like I had a special gift for making people uncomfortable, even when I’m not trying to. And really, I’m never trying to. I’m just living my life. Is it my fault if some people find me overwhelming? Now that I’m grown up, I’ve mostly made peace with my personality. This is who I am. I feel things deeply, I’m terrible at small talk, and I can’t abide with people who aren’t 100 percent authentic. (And trust me – I have a good radar for knowing when someone is phony-baloney.) My life is a little bit messy and I’m a little bit messy. This makes certain people nervous. In particular, it makes men nervous.
In our society, women aren’t supposed to be messy or volatile.
As women, we’re supposed to play the “cool girl” and pretend we’ve got it all together. People judge us for being needy, so we’re not supposed to need anyone. We’re supposed to love ourselves and not care whether anyone else does or not. But we’re also not supposed to speak up for ourselves, or make people uncomfortable.
Don’t believe me? Think of all the names we call women who don’t follow the rules: bitch, cunt, hag, whore, battle-ax, ice queen, feminazi, slut, nasty woman – just off the top of my head. And it’s not just the plethora of misogynistic slurs that people use against us, either. It’s the stereotypes: the spinster cat lady, the needy girlfriend, the sanctimommy. The world is eager to fit us into categories that force us to be smaller than we are – less threatening, less powerful, just… less.
If you’re a woman who has ever dated, I’m willing to bet someone has told you that you were “too much” at some point.
They’ve hurt your feelings and made you feel like it was your own fault. They made you feel like you’re being oversensitive. They’ve disappointed you and then accused you of trying to make them feel bad.
They’ve told you to chill out. And they’ve asked you why you can’t just accept things the way they are, and why you’re always asking for more than they can give. They’ve made promises, then made you feel crazy and stupid for believing they’d keep them. Men don’t even have to come right out and tell us we’re too much in order for us to hear it. We hear it when they tell us they’re not sure what they want.
They say they just want to have a good time and not think about the future, not ready to commit right now. And we hear it when they sigh and shake their heads, when they don’t return our texts, and when they tell us they need space. As women, we’ve digested the message so thoroughly that we say it to ourselves anytime someone dismisses us, doesn’t listen to us, or hurts us.
But what if, instead of believing we are “too much,” we realize that these guys simply aren’t enough?
Because they’re not. Any man – anyone, for that matter – who makes you feel bad about having feelings, standing up for yourself, having expectations in a relationship, or holding people to a standard of human decency is an asshole.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want and demanding it. There’s nothing wrong with being weak and needy and not knowing what you want at all. You’re allowed to say what you want, change your mind, and not feel bad about it.
Sometimes, when we’re fighting, my boyfriend sighs and shakes his head the same way my father did that night. Then I know I still have that look. However, I no longer believe I am too much and I will never change myself for anyone.
And neither should you.
Has anyone ever told you that you’re “too much”? Leave us a comment below!