April 2, 2014
B is for…
bitch. That’s right, I said it. I have an irreverent little sign up in my classroom—don’t be scandalized; it’s mostly hidden from the general view—that says, “You say I’m a bitch like it’s a bad thing,” complete with a rough drawing of a girl sporting a sweet, innocent, smarmy little smile.
Bitch is a funny word to me. Whenever anyone else wields it against me, it is an affront, an offense. But I can wield it against myself with aplomb, owning it vigorously, laughing in the face of commonly held connotations. Bitch is both negative and positive space.
To reinforce the positive, however, I will sling a few more excellent b-words into the mix.
Brave, for one—anyone undertaking this A to Z challenge is brave, IMpltHO (in my probably-less-than-humble opinion).
Believe the best—whenever we talk about creating norms for our professional learning communities at school, the one I always mention and seek to embody is the notion of “presuming positive intentions” on the parts of all participants. Amy Grant has a song on her most recent album that vows, “I won’t believe the worst is true, and do the best that I can do.”
Perhaps a better substitute for bitch as wielded defiantly on one’s own behalf is badass. Badassery…(yep, it’s a word! See?)
North American • informal
- Behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as formidably impressive: few of us can attain her level of badassery
(Source: Oxford Dictionaries)
…badassery brings with it connotations that bitch seems to lack—namely, the overwhelming sense of confidence, of swagger, but genuinely motivated. Bitch has notes of meanness, hints of pettiness, a potentially bitter bouquet. The Oxford Dictionary defines badass (noun) as “a tough, uncompromising, or intimidating person.” That works for me.