I recently had occasion to prove it to myself. That I'm not just talk when it comes to my advocacy, or speaking out against abuse by men. That I've grown a full, beautiful backbone and, it turns out, I know how to use it in real time.
There was this thing at work. A thing wherein a man who believes he makes his own rules, a man who wanted to take control when it was mine to maintain, tried to take advantage of someone I was helping.
Not on my watch, as they say.
First I held the reins so that This Man couldn't get what he was after. Then, following, I called him on the behavior.
The exact detail of exchange isn't important. What's important to know is that as he sat with a pseudo-dumb look on his face, I illustrated to him what he'd done wrong---as if he didn't already know---then explained that I'm not going to allow such behavior, and informed him he'll have me to answer to if he continues to pull the same shady, disrespectful tricks with my people.
This Man is probably 6'0" or 6'1" and a good 275+ pounds. Fleshy. Phony and inauthentic. His are dark, disconnected eyes. He thinks he's above the standard operation the rest of us adhere to. He's got all the red flags of a controlling, damaging narcissist.
I don't like him one bit.
As you might expect, since this type reacts to challenge and strength, my lecture angered him. How dare I talk to him in such a way. How dare I assert both my conscience and independence. He'd just show me.
He lifted himself from his chair to full height, and took a few steps at me. His goal couldn't have been clearer.
I'd already been standing tall -- I'm 5'7" -- but straightened my shoulders. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "You can stand up if you want, but you're not going to intimidate me."
And because this, too, burst his bubble, he faked opening the door (which had been closed) behind me---as if that had been his intention all along---then took his seat again.
Weak. Cowardly. No bite whatsoever, because he'd faced a worthy opponent, and I wasn't going to let him win.
I'm not afraid of bully men.