I Don’t Care What You Call Me

Real talk today.

I read an article last week about how asking someone, “What are you?” is a rude way to ask about their ethnicity. Then I read an article called, “How to piss off an introvert.” THEN I read about how Lean In and Girl Scouts are teaming up to ban the word bossy. After reading these articles, I found myself a bit torn. I get where they’re coming from but the negativity that oozes from these articles feels unnecessarily passive aggressive.

This also stems from a little mantra that I tend to repeat to myself as an adult: “No one owes me anything.” While I would hope that someone would owe me a bit of respect, I can’t live my life assuming that people really care all that much.

Before I start coming off like a huge jerk, I’ll give you a few instances of how I’ve experienced these three situations:

I am many, many things.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What are you?” Sure, it’s annoying. But every single person who has asked me that question earnestly wants to know. It’s actually a lot more offensive than when people start speaking Spanish (assuming I also speak Spanish) or cut right to the guessing game and ask, “Are you Hawiian?” “Are you Japanese?” “Are you Mexican?”

What am I? A human, a woman, the boss, a designer, a wife, a sister, a child, half-Filipino, half-German, short…

Also, this topic makes me think of this line from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (my favorite movie): “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.”

You don’t have to tiptoe around me. I’m not the Queen of England.

I am most definitely an introvert but I don’t expect people to accommodate travel plans or “try to¬†not piss me off” while spending time to me. I mean, really? We’re human beings and we co-exist. If I need time for myself, I’ll make time.

The entire notion that the world needs to “get on my level as an introvert” is kind of hilarious. My friends and family know how I operate and how I feel by asking me intimately while getting to know me over time.

Don’t tell me I can’t say “bossy!” Fine, I’ll ban the word “ban!” Oh wait…

As far as “bossy” goes…I get it. I really do. And then the next minute I’m rolling my eyes. First of all, telling me that I can’t use the word “bossy” feels a little bossy. I have been bossy my whole life. I used to boss my little brother around like it was my full-time job. When I’m at my worst, I can be a know-it-all. While dating Adam, I would never let him choose the music.

And so while the word “bossy” might have been thrown around from time to time, other words felt even more influential. Words like:

  • Leader
  • Strong
  • Smart
  • Talented
  • Creative
  • Genuine


Women, men, dogs…and cats: we need to be confident in who we are apart from trivial names, words and stereotypes. Sure, be proud of who you are but realize that you’re not just one thing. You can be a sweet, bossy, introverted, half-Filipino, goofy designer like me. And you can be okay with it.

March 17, 2014