When 'too much' is actually just right.
Being a woman today is tough. Most of us face tremendous pressure to conform to societal standards, both in our professional and personal lives– to avoid being a “too-much woman.”
Convinced this type of cultural demand was partially to blame for my recent vulnerability to emotional manipulation, I’ve vowed not to bow to this sort of expectation again.
A Chance to Practice Being True to Myself
That’s been easier said than done. But today, I had a chance to follow through on the commitment I made to myself.
I met someone online in late November. He impressed me. In addition to being attractive, he was self-confident and spoke his mind.
He asked if I was okay with his height being under six-feet tall. I replied I had no problem with that. Did he have issues dating a plus-sized woman? He responded he was a grown man who was fine with that.
I liked how we began our relationship by putting our cards on the table.
Then there was the issue of distance since he lived several states away. He reassured me he’d soon be moving south closer to where I lived.
For the first time in a long time, I felt a twinge of excitement and a good kind of apprehension. There was a potential match.
We texted and had a few phone calls, but there were no further mentions of when we’d meet. That’s okay, I told myself. He probably wants to wait until after the holidays.
Christmas and New Year’s passed and still no comment about scheduling a trip. Oh no, I thought. Had I met another relationship-avoidant man? A guy who loves the idea of meeting someone new, but pulls back once it becomes real?
Just as I was about to give up hope when he resumed our texting relationship with renewed interest.
Asking for What I Want
“We need to meet. It’s been long enough,” I told him.
“I was thinking the same thing!” he responded. “Let’s talk about it this Sunday.”
“Sounds great!” I answered.
Sunday came and nearly went when he texted he was at the movies, but made no mention of planning our first meet-up.
I’ll wait, I told myself. I’ll bet the topic will come up once he’s returned home.
Still nothing. He’d gone silent.
Seeing the late hour, I sent one more message, “I thought we were going to talk. You must have gotten too tuckered out.”
Three days later, he answered by asking how I was doing. Seriously? By then, I’d concluded he’d changed his mind and had decided to ghost me.
We made small talk, but the spark of interest I’d previously felt had died. I had seen a new side of him. I now knew he sometimes avoided awkward conversations and used silence to indicate he’d changed his mind.
I faced a decision, one I’d been at many times before. This was the junction when I’ve most often failed to self-advocate. When I’ve chosen to let the situation remain confusing or ambiguous rather than address the issue at hand. Afraid of coming across as “too much,” I usually opted to say nothing — resulting in being overlooked or dismissed.
Faced with this dilemma once again, I now had a choice. Would I keep the peace by pretending the incident never happened, or would I see myself as worthy enough to deserve a response and deal with it?
Drawing deep for strength, I texted, “To have you blow off your suggestion to talk about us meeting hurt. I could have heard you tell me that maybe you discovered you weren’t as ready as you thought. But to avoid the conversation altogether and then disappear for over two days felt cruel. I was left hanging and left out to dry.
Texting anything — but something. It wouldn’t have taken that much time.”
The Fear of Being ‘Too Much’
Why has it been hard for me to stick up for myself like this? I’ve watched my sons not hesitant to complain or argue when one of them feels overlooked. They haven’t been afraid to fight for their needs.
I haven’t felt the same freedom. Instead, I’ve worked hard to make myself undemanding and pleasant. I haven’t wanted to be seen as too loud, too sensitive, too pushy, too outspoken, or asking for too much space.
Since childhood, I’ve been instructed to walk like a lady. I was told to take smaller steps, hold my head high, and to keep my arms tucked against the side of my body. I was encouraged to talk quieter and to defer to others first. I needed to sit with my legs held tightly together, to take smaller bites of food, and, of course, to eat less. In short, I’ve been trying to avoid being seen as being too much.
The Urban Dictionary defines the Too Much Woman as, “when a female is so adept at setting off the neanderthal, primal sexual urges in a man that it is intimidating to him.”
Me being me has been scaring men?
Sophie Bashford concurred. In her article, “The Myth of the Too Much Woman,” she wrote, “Females are usually told from an early age to ‘be quiet’, ‘be nice’, ‘be good’, ‘be acceptable’. Under no circumstances show anyone your wildness — your ‘wildness’ being the innate ebb and flow and cyclical nature of your feminine vibration. Your vast, deep, and intuitive emotional range. Your uncensored voice: spoken, written, or communicated through your body.”
I went further and googled the phrase the Too Much Woman and found heaps of blogs and articles encouraging women to step out and boldly be themselves.
After sending my brave message to the guy I’d met online, I didn’t have to wait too long.
A few minutes later, he responded, “I read your text. All I can say is that I’m sorry you feel the way you do. I try to do my best but I cannot be there every moment I’m out of work. I will address everything when I get done with work later today for you. Again, I’m sorry.”
I was being unreasonable for thinking he’d follow through on his suggestion that we discuss meeting up? Just as I had expected — my request had been met with the “too much” message.
You’re Not Enough for Me
That’s okay, I thought. I am too much for you, and you’re not enough for me.
And with that, I texted, “I’ve never asked you to be there every moment. I’ve not even asked you to be there at all. Don’t know where that’s coming from. Thanks for the apology. We are looking for different things. I wish you all the best.”
I am not too much and refuse to be pigeon-holed that way. I prefer to be content and alone than to scrunch myself into some tiny box to make a relationship work.
I’m not too much, I’m just enough.
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