That Woman Is Too Much

| by Natalie Phillips |

When I was a young woman I had dinner with a friend’s parents, and I greatly respected these people. They had all the things that I aspired to. A lasting marriage, a nice home, a quiet and happy life. No trauma. No screaming. No swearing. This was a very different family from my own. I was on my best behavior. I didn’t talk politics or religion. I deferred to them in conversation if there was a disagreement. I muted myself because I wanted to live a respectable life in a respectable world, and I thought that by making myself quieter, smaller, mute that it might be something I could do. As I left the dinner I felt elated. I had been charming and held back my loudness.

The next day my friend and I were talking and he said his mother had really liked me, but his father had thought I was just “too much.”

Too much. At first the words stung. At first I was ashamed.

And then I grew angry. I had been holding back all night, but I was still “too much.” I was as demure as I knew how to be and I was still “too much.” I didn’t tell them that their oppressive religious and political views were based out of pure privilege, but I was still “too much.”

That was the moment I decided to never make myself quieter, smaller, or mute, again. My passion makes up who I am. I will talk politics and religion. I will swear. I will challenge oppressive views even at nice dinner parties.

And now I hope that every time I meet someone new that when I walk away they say, “That woman is too much.”

Because I am.

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