I used to be so nice.

And Demur. Submissive. A Follower.

What happened?

Life created an animal in me.

I am second generation Italian. It’s in the genes and the unwritten manual that females should behave as children: something to be seen and not heard. God forbid the poor girl who thinks her opinion matters! That heralds in the old adage: Males who do are viewed as strong and intelligent, and females as aggressive and arrogant.

I went along with those unspoken rules until I became a woman and found that being nice still got me a slap upside the head!

First, from my annoying husband and his feminist traits, which didn’t ALLOW me to take his last name or do his laundry.

Next, I noticed that I got exactly what I wanted from the world if I sent said husband to do my bidding. Please note, this is even on the smallest scale, like returning items to a store. When I act on my own I get an inquisition: Why do you want to return this g-l-o-r-i-a? Did you use it? I can only give you store credit. Whereas when my husband does, he gets: I’m so sorry that didn’t work out for you MR. FUNKHOUSER! Do you want me to put that back on your credit card?

And last, as the wife of a mayor, when the press twisted reports, and only for their profit margin. That’s when I fully embodied the animal that you see today: A woman who will not back down in the face of any wrong.

I still look the other way to many things, but go along with something immoral. Never.

Funk believes the experience in the mayor’s office revealed a steel core that I didn’t know I had. Maybe it did. But even with that strength, I still try my hardest to be nice, even when expressing the word no.

Here’s to your steel core! If you don’t have it, find it! And don’t let anyone tamp it down.

The photo: my beautiful Rose of Sharon, in front of my Kansas City home.

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