You know what? It’s hard to be a woman. It really is.
In addition to the societal pressure to be thin, and beautiful, and hairless, and ladylike, and perfect, there are many other bummers: the gyno, child birth, mammograms, fending off construction workers and creepy old men. And then there’s my all-time favorite: the monthly bill, which may or may not also come with debilitating cramps, fainting, mood swings and bloating.
Sounds lovely doesn’t it fellas?
Well, that’s not all that comes with womanhood. Did you know that women consistently have reported higher average stress levels than men since 2007 (when the APA started studying stress)? It’s true (look it up here).
Stress in women manifests itself in lots of different (and terrible) ways. According to WedMD symptoms of stress can include things like
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
- Constant worrying
- Racing thoughts
- Forgetfulness and disorganization or inability to focus
- Poor judgment
- Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
- Changes in appetite -- either not eating or eating too much
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
- Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
- Nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
Damn that's a long list; but it sounds familiar right? Sometimes I have all of these things happening at the same time!
That’s right: Stay back 100 feet! Hose me off with ice cold vodka!
Did you also know that stress that isn’t managed can have all kinds of negative consequences on your body? Things like mental health problems, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders and gastrointestinal issues - just to name a few.
We’re basically all fucked.
But as usual I am here to help you! I would argue that being bossy is good for your health.
Stay with me here. I'm not saying you ladies should take to bossing people around like you're in the military and giving everyone you know loads of stress. By being bossy I mean taking some control back, being selfish and not caring so much about what everyone else thinks of you and your decisions.
Here are some ideas on how to use your bossiness for good to help reduce your stress:
Learn to say "no."
Ladies, we have been socialized to be the caretakers of others. Sounds nice, but not when you consider that girls have been taught from birth to put others in front of themselves while boys have been taught to put themselves in front of others (little bastards). For this reason, we often find it hard to say no to people and feel guilty if we can't please everyone. We are terrified of being perceived as selfish.
Be selfish. Say no when you don't want to do something or you don't agree with something. You don't have to please anyone but yourself and you don't have to feel guilty about that. You need to take care of yourself and your needs before you can be beneficial, helpful and non-homicidal towards others, right? Be kind. Be fair. But also be selfish.
This is my favorite one! There really is science (SCIENCE!) behind the idea that swearing relieves stress. The Association for Psychological Science actually says:
"Swear words can achieve a number of outcomes, as when used positively for joking or storytelling, stress management, fitting in with the crowd, or as a substitute for physical aggression. This finding suggests swearing has a cathartic effect, which many of us may have personally experienced in frustration or in response to pain."
Elite Daily (OK, not so scientific, but still interesting) says:
"Swearing is dramatic because it often occurs in dramatic situations that call for blunt forwardness. Curses are easily the most effective of words because there is no denying the intention of anyone using them. When we curse, we’re usually saying exactly what is on our minds, without fear of the repercussions. It may come off as harsh, but if there is cursing involved, the message will be read loud and clear.
"Think about it: Your worries and fears are like a can of soda, and by opening up that can of frustrations, you’re letting out all of the little bubbles that were consuming you. [By] being able to truly express your genuine emotions once the feels hit you where it hurts, an immediate sense of relief comes over you."
I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. It feels like you are letting loose a big breath of bottled up repression and aggression every time you drop the F bomb. Fuck, shit, cock, balls, it feels good. Let it all out.
For example, if someone says to you, "Why aren't you smiling?" or "You should smile more" or "You are much prettier when you smile," I give you permission to tell that person to "EAT SHIT AND DIE."
Embrace the "bitch."
You know what? Sometimes we are mean. Sometimes we are irritable. Sometimes we don't have tolerance for any of your stupid bullshit. It's our prerogative! Men are perfectly comfortable being competitive, jealous, immature, mean, greedy, ambitious and angry right out there in the open and it's perceived as completely normal. When women let their true feelings/emotions/ambitions out in any shape or form, they are just called a "bitch" or even better, "crazy."
Well, good. Fine. Whatever. I don't like that classification but that still doesn't mean you should hide it. Get mad. Get sassy. Get bossy. Get weird. Get competitive. Whatever. Just don't hold it in all of the time or your head - and your heart - will explode.
Or you will kill someone. And I don't advise that.
The definition of assertive is: "having or showing a confident and forceful personality."
Synonyms are: Confident, bold, decisive, self-assured, forthright, firm, emphatic;
Antonym: Timid (Boo! Fuck that)
"Bold?" "Confident?" "Decisive?" Assertive isn't a bad word at all; it's a good word! (See, I can say good words too.)
Being assertive is easier said than done though, right? It doesn't always feel appropriate to be bold and speak up either for yourself or for your opinion. But trust me, once you start doing it, you won't be able to stop (like drinking wine; or looking through your neighbor's window). Being assertive can reduce stress and help you communicate better.
So don't be "timid." Fuck that. If you have an opinion about something, say it! And then defend it! Tell people what you want. Take the lead sometimes. It'll make you feel good.
If you don't believe me, click here to read more from the Mayo Clinic (the fuckin' MAYO CLINIC y'all!) about how being assertive can have a positive effect on your health.
Take your health and your health care into your own hands.
This one's an example of an area of our lives we tend to give up a lot of control to another person - both because we are socialized to be polite and because we see doctors as the "experts" on our well being.
Well, my lady friends, YOU are the President of your own body and you and only you know what's going on with it. Don't always take a doctor's word as final. It can be very important for your health and your sanity to stand up for yourself in this way. Be the boss! If you think he/she is wrong, say so. Or find another doctor. Educate and empower yourself. Take some of the control back.
Click here to read more from ThinkProgress.org about this important issue.
Annnnnd I'm spent. #micdrop #bossyisthenewblack