If you’re sassy and you know it clap your hands
I’ve been sassy for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m sure of when it happened.
It could have been a perfect blend of genetics and perhaps an environment in which my sassy self could thrive. But boy, has it thrived.
My sassiness revealed itself in various ways when I was a child. When I was a baby, some mornings when my father attempted to retrieve me from my crib, I adamantly refused. I would instruct him that this arrangement would simply not do this morning by saying, “I! WANT! MY! MOMMY!” and folding my arms for good measure.
When I was 4, I had a best friend named Jacob. Jacob and I did amazing things together. For example, I would tell him things to do for me, and he would do them.
During one of these play dates, I grabbed my purse and said to Jacob, “C’mon loser, were going shopping,” and proceeded to get into my toy car. I then pointed to various places in the cul de sac in which we lived, indicating to Jacob my desired destinations. Poor Jacob huffed and puffed his way around the court, while my precious feet never touched the pedals. (So as to keep my integrity of being a princess. A princess never dirties her tender tootsies.)
I was told often as a child that I was “bossy.” (Enter here: research done where boys are told they’re “leaders” and girls are told they’re “bossy.”) Although, looking back, I realize I wasn’t bossy. I just always knew what was best for everyone, and I cared enough to lend them my opinion.
As I matured, so did my sass. I soon discovered wit and sarcasm, and began to feel more at ease around adults for this very reason. They got me. I would make a joke about some current event or the DOW dropping, even though I had no clue what it meant. Sometimes (many times) I liked my friends’ parents more than I liked my friends. I studied the way people talked and moved and did my best to imitate them. (I tend to do this without realizing it, so people think I’m making fun of them. I truly have very little control of it, it’s a blessing and curse. A blessing because it’s funny, a curse because people think I’m an asshole.)
The Spiritual Awakening of 2008
When I got to college I was thirsty AF to start anew…to reinvent myself! I told myself that this needed to happen in order to heal any and all pain/angst that blossomed after high school.
The first step I took was shortening my name from “Alyson” to “Ally.” (Why did I add an extra “L,” you ask? My reasoning was that “Aly” felt unfinished. Like, it’s only three letters?)
Ally. Yes! The shortening of my name and the addition of a letter would surely heal my trauma!
Once I recognized that this ultra-chic name change did nothing my for injured psyche, I decided I needed to look a little deeper, a little further under the surface this time.
When I did so, I came to the conclusion that I was a bitch.
I decided I had been a bitch my whole life, in fact. Upon this realization, I began to hate myself. Why was I such a bitch? Why did I have so many opinions? Why couldn’t I be like those southern women who always had a fresh batch of sweet tea ready and called you darlin’?
I decided that the best way to deal with this issue was to really OWN my self-hatred; just really lean into it.
*Truth be told, I was depressed. I’ll spare you the details, but sprinkle some trauma and a dash of a very unhealthy relationship and you’ll have the secret recipe for depression success.*
After this revelation, I was on a quest to complete a personality overhaul. I began observing and noticing people who were just “kind” and “quiet” and unassuming and thought, “Well that seems safe. I want that!” I decided I wanted to be one of those people who were blissfully unaware of shit. Just go along with the flow. Just stay out the way. That should work, right?
For years this continued, and while I never completely changed my ways and became quiet and unassuming, something else happened.
I sort of became…a fragile, anxious little shell of the powerful “bitch” I once was.
Turns out guys, a personality overhaul/spiritual awakening fueled by self-hatred and shame is not the way to achieve happiness.
Instead of just becoming less sassy (let’s be real that will never leave these bones), I started blaming myself for everything that went wrong. In deciding that I was a bitch, I believed that the core of me was wrong. I started to feel that things were my fault. I took ownership for others’ mistakes. I began to absorb the worst traits of others and take them on as my own. This was (is) a nasty pattern that began to shift my self-hatred into something even worse: zero low self-worth.
My sass is me so why change it?
Another spiritual awakening happened a few years ago. I was meeting with my favorite therapist when she said that she loved how sassy I was. I said, “Excuse me could you repeat that please?” So, she said it again like people will do if you ask them to repeat themselves.
I was blown away. Someone who knew me better than possibly anyone (I mean, she was my therapist, ain’t nobody been down that road with me but her) told me the part that she loved about me the most was the part of me I hated the most.
Mind you, this was not the first person who had told me they loved my sass. People said it to me all the time! But, I wasn’t in a place to receive it. I would twist it in my head into something else like “What they really mean by that is they think I’m an opinionated bitch” or “They’re just being passive aggressive” or “They’ve been drinking I could tell them I’m Chrissy Teigen and they would believe me.”
But on this day, during this therapy session, it clicked.
I was transported back to when I was a kid…when I was sassy and people would laugh. When I could bring a table of adults to laughter with a witty remark. When I would volunteer to be the leader in any group situation in school because it felt comfortable for me and awesome.
The bottom line is this: while yes, at points throughout our life we need to make small tweaks to who we are and who we want to be, never get rid of the foundation of YOU. Sass is a pillar of my identity. It is who I am. It is the reason I wrote this blog. It is the reason my husband fell in love with me (don’t be an asshole and fact check this with him, I’m pretty sure it’s the reason).
Trying to change the core of my being was a disaster from the start. I didn’t have a reason to change. I was me. Am I for everyone? Absolutely not. But will I ever be the “nice” girl who is quiet and unassuming and has sweet tea at the ready? Absolutely not.
And that is totally, fucking okay.