How do you deal with those days when nothing seems to go right? When you feel like the demands keep piling up and yet you haven't managed to grow an extra set of arms or make time stop to accomplish everything at once and please all the right people on the way? What place do you go to in your mind when things feel unmanageable?
We all have different ways of dealing with the very human sensation of overwhelm. Some of us hold all our frustration and stress in until it creeps out in the form of nightmares, migraines, or outbursts at the wrong people. (Your starbucks barista was not trying to personally slight you when she spelled your name wrong, k?) Others mope, cry, or bury themselves in whatever vice makes them feel more in control. Maybe you're like me, and you continuously say "I've got this" until you end up having a meltdown at somewhere inconvenient, like the deli counter of a Whole Foods or the parking lot of a grocery store (what, like Kowolski's has never gotten the best of you?) Or, maybe you're well-adjusted and don't know what the hell I'm talking about. Whatever your method for dealing with a stressful time, I'm not suggesting you have a rage stroke or drink a bottle of bourbon, but I am proposing an alternative solution that I fell back on last week: raising a little bit of hell.
For women, this simply means: saying what you actually think. Firmly stating your boundaries. Not caring if someone doesn't like it. Declaring your need for a mental health day. Not responding to pointless drama. Taking your sweet ass time. Doing what you damn well please.
Here's the thing: this isn't revolutionary or rebellious, but it often looks like it when it comes from a woman simply because it isn't people pleasing. Raising a little hell is knowing yourself well enough that on those days when you feel like you might break, you speak up or set boundaries so you don't. You tell someone it's not a good time. You ignore an annoying request. You say "no."
I'm not suggesting you purposely take your stress out on other people, but I am saying this: you do not have to be little miss sunshine to every person that demands something of you. As women, when the demands keep piling up as fast as our sink full of dirty dishes, when we feel like we’ve failed because we haven’t made every damn person smile that day, cleaned our entire house, and cheerfully responded to every email that comes our way, maybe, instead of feeling like failures, we need to raise a little hell in the form of basic self-preservation. We need to rebel against our self-imposed shame and feelings of inadequacy or fear that people won't like us because we're not constantly chipper or perfect.
It's OK to be overwhelmed, to be crabby, to not have time for something, or to say "enough." That does not make you a failure, it does not make you a bitch: it makes you human. It's OK to say exactly what you think, to protect your time and peace of mind, and defend your right to self-care and respect without apology, backtracking, or beating around the bush. It may come off as hell-raising, but it will start to feel less controversial by the minute.