“I completely understand why people would call you that.”, “I myself have experienced that with you as well”. “It’s a good thing you know, it’s a compliment in a sense”.
Denial is no longer an option, I must face the facts: I am an intimidating woman. This adjective has resurfaced so frequently in conversation, I cannot write it off as a fluke any longer.
The first to mark me as such was a guy I met at a house party. We had been introduced at the beginning of the night, he ended it abruptly with the words: “I would ask you out if you weren’t so intimidating”.
I remember walking home, mulling over the words of this perfect stranger and debating both its truth and value. My conclusion was quick and conclusive, utter sh***t.
To me, an intimidating person would be one dressed in all black, tall and frigid. Someone who would use academic language in everyday conversation, judge and look down upon anyone not up to their atrocious standards.
Me, a girl who waves at dogs and gets emotional over sunsets does not fit that description. Sure, I can be a little loud and shameless, but intimidating?
Not long ago I mentioned this to friends, I told my tale of being wrongly accused of intimidation, at the end expecting a salvo of understanding and shaking of heads. Instead, I got the opposite.
It turns out that they all agreed, I was intimidating but not in a bad way. Ever since, I’ve gotten nothing but confirmation of the same kind, the latest a week ago.
All emphasize the fact that it’s a good thing, a compliment, a badge of honour. Something to do with me knowing who I am, and not apologizing for it.
I wish I could say that by now I’ve grown comfortable with this label, but I’m not there yet. I accidentally introduced myself as ‘intimidating Anne’ yesterday. Hoping that by naming the elephant in the room it’s presence would disappear. The flicker of fear showed me I had achieved the opposite.
Maybe it’s about finding a healthy balance between your self-image and the one perceived by others. Maybe it’s just about accepting a compliment. Maybe it’s just about being my own old intimidating self.