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The Day I Used My Big Girl Voice

I should start this out by admitting that I am not fantastic about speaking up.  I would rather sit and be miserable than exert myself and fix things so I’m not miserable.  It extends to things like returning items at a store or even ordering pizza over the phone.  It takes a lot for me to use my voice.

I work out of the house, so I’ve been with the workmen through the renovation.  It’s stressful due to the noise and the lack of access to the kitchen, but also the social side of things: having to talk to people and be around people when I am accustomed to having conversations solely with Truman.

The renovation had mostly been going according to plan when we hit a snag.  They installed the new sink and it was nothing like our old sink.  The contractor had promised the sink would be larger than my existing sink, but this was a lot smaller.  A lot smaller.  Like unusably small.  Like a doll-sized sink.

The workman commented that it was small, but he continued to work on installing it while I stood there, my stomach in knots.  I was miserable with the idea of using this sink — which was smaller than my bathroom sink — for eternity.  I went upstairs and paused for a moment to email Josh and my mother, and then went back down and told the guy to stop working so I could think this through.  We were going to call the contractor and have this corrected because I was not going to buy all new, smaller cookware just to use this tiny sink.

Josh came home and got involved, and at first the contractor told us that we were imagining things and liars.  Luckily, I took photographs and had evidence, and all the workers there agreed that the new sink was much smaller than the old one.  One of the workers even called his boss to tell him he was wrong.  And finally the contractor agreed to fix the problem (since it turned out that he had written down the wrong number on the contract) and the counter top and sink were carted away.

It was hardly an impressive victory for a normal person: all I did was point out that what he told us we would get is not what we were actually getting.  But to walk downstairs and say, “stop!”  And drag out the camera and argue with my photographic evidence.  And stand and talk to a bunch of strangers.  It was big for me.

I am much better at speaking up when it involves the kids, but this is the first time I could think of in a long time where I put my foot down and said, “uh, no” when the twins weren’t in the vicinity.  I used my big girl voice, and I liked it.

A side note: Tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday.  Get writing.

26 comments

1 Charlotte { 05.03.15 at 8:19 am }

I am glad you spoke up!!!

I have a tendency to be a loud mouth. To immediately shoot off my mouth and voice my opinion, and I come across as a bossy know-it-all. When it comes to things I am paying for, such as food or services, I try to pause a second, because I don’t want to piss off anybody who is doing something for me. I try to take a beat and think it through, and decide if it is a really big deal, if it is worth the confrontation.
There have been a few times in my adult life where I have not spoken up about something and regretted it, but they were situations where in the moment I didn’t realize I had a say for whatever reason.

2 April { 05.03.15 at 8:34 am }

I’m terrible at speaking up for myself. I get flustered, nervous, anxious, and in general antsy at the thought of making waves. Even if it’s to correct a mistake that has occurred. I think a lot of this is how I was raised. I was taught, whether intentional or not, that you just accept what is handed to you. You learn to deal with it. But I know that isn’t the best way to go through life.

3 Jenn { 05.03.15 at 8:56 am }

Good on you! I would have felt intimidated but I’m a pretty quick to say things. It is hard when you are paying someone to do something for you and it isn’t right. I am trying to tackle some projects at my dad’s house and I’m terrified to mess them up.

4 a { 05.03.15 at 8:56 am }

Go, you! You have to keep an eye on things and speak up with contractors because not doing so can have long-term effects. Glad you were able to take charge of the situation.

5 Suzanna Catherine { 05.03.15 at 12:02 pm }

I’m a let’s-not-make-waves person, too. I know that churning-in-the-stomach feeling all too well. However, in a situation where something is obviously wrong, like your sink, I would have to say something or explode.
Good for you for speaking up! Not only was the workman wrong, but you were the one who would have had to live with the consequences FOREVER. The fact that you were also called a liar takes the situation to another (unacceptable) level.
Sad to say, but this also has overtones of a man thinking he can take advantage of a woman just because he’s a man.
I hope your project is back on track now. I know you are more than ready to have your kitchen functional again.

6 Tiara { 05.03.15 at 1:33 pm }

Good for you! I can really identify with this. I am the same way exactly. I am very proud of you for standing up for yourself! I can imagine that knotted feeling in your stomach!

7 Andy { 05.03.15 at 2:33 pm }

Proud of you!! Way to go, I know how hard that must of been.

8 Valery Valentina { 05.03.15 at 3:15 pm }

isn’t that the worst, to be called a liar when someone else makes a mistake? So glad you liked it, to have it put right. (But can’t imagine you’d like to hire this contractor again though.) Hope you sleep well tonight.

9 JustHeather { 05.03.15 at 3:28 pm }

Good for you! Especially seeing that you’d be using that small sink for ages and not happy about its size!
I have found that I can speak out more when it is in the US and I can use English. But if I have to do something in Finnish here in Finland…I’ll hesitate, hmm and haa over things much longer. Having to make sure my point is understood in Finnish gives me a knotted stomach.

10 Middle Girl { 05.03.15 at 3:48 pm }

Congratulations! Let’s hope you don’t have to throughout the rest of this process but more, IF you do, that you remember and respond accordingly.

11 Laurel Regan { 05.03.15 at 5:09 pm }

Good for you! I struggle with that myself, so I understand what a challenge it can be to speak up. Glad it’s all going to work out and you won’t have to deal with a teensy sink. 🙂

12 TasIVFer { 05.03.15 at 7:55 pm }

Good on you! I’d find this extremely difficult to do as well. I’m still a bit annoyed by some o fthe things that happend during our renovations – some I might be able to fix, like the upsidedown town rails (although I haven’t sorted them because I worry I’ll wind up having to put new holes in the wall), but others you can’t – like how casually one of the guys treated my house – leaving rubbish for me to clean up. I hate speaking, and always have. The phone app is the least used application on my handheld computer.

13 Jess { 05.03.15 at 8:05 pm }

Congratulations! Confrontation sucks but it sounds like it was so necessary. And he called you LIARS? Oh NO. I’m so glad it was sorted out and you didn’t end up with a Barbie Dream Sink. That sounds awful, but I am proud that you used that big girl voice and happy that you liked it! Empowering, no?

14 Sharon { 05.03.15 at 8:19 pm }

Good for you! You *had* to speak up!

15 deathstar { 05.03.15 at 9:18 pm }

Well done! It does take practice. I am pretty good at it. A couple of weeks ago, I went to my favourite grocery store and saw that the milk I buy for my son (lactose-free) was on sale, but there was no 2% left. As it was the week before. So I asked someone to go look for it and then the manager came out and I told him that it was also out of stock the last time I had been in the store. Which meant that I had to go to another store to solely get lactose free milk. He said if I came back the next day he would give me one for free. And yes, I did come back, ask for that specific manager and got my milk for free. There are times I won’t speak up because I figure the effort is not really worth it, but when it comes to getting what I REALLY want, there’s not stopping me. If you are paying good money for something you are entitled to be satisfied, you’re worth it!

16 Queenie { 05.03.15 at 9:45 pm }

I am good at advocating for myself and others, but presently in a space where I just don’t feel like it, dammit. And yet I must, in order to accomplish what I need to. It sucks that one must sometimes have and use the big girl voice!

17 Jamie { 05.04.15 at 12:22 am }

Good for you! I am glad to hear you did it right then and there, too!

18 Jessica { 05.04.15 at 4:19 am }

Good job on bringing out the assertive trait.

19 DublinGal { 05.04.15 at 8:40 am }

I’m the same way so can totally relate! Glad you spoke up and got it all resolved as it would have been ridiculous to have been left with a tiny doll like sink!

20 Another Dreamer { 05.04.15 at 11:26 am }

I’m terrible at speaking up, that probably would have triggered my anxiety really bad! I’m glad you spoke up, hooray for small (or big) victories!

21 Heather { 05.04.15 at 1:16 pm }

Good for you! I’m the same. I hate taking things back.

22 Amber { 05.04.15 at 5:06 pm }

Gasp! He actually called you a liar???? Wow. Especially when it turns out HE made a mistake. Good for you for speaking up! I wouldn’t want to use a tiny sink, or have to haul my dishes into the bathroom to make if feasible to clean them! Joking of course, but seriously, who wants a tiny kitchen sink that isn’t kitchen friendly?

23 Mali { 05.04.15 at 7:42 pm }

Good for you! I’m often pretty terrible at speaking up, and especially was in my 20s and even 30s. In my 40s, though, I found my Big Girl voice, and I like using it. It never feels entirely natural, but I know I can do it now. You’ve only just started – who knows what you’ll be able to do with that Big Girl voice in the future!

24 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.05.15 at 3:49 pm }

I’m proud of you. I am always surprised when you assert that you are meek; I don’t see you that way.

25 loribeth { 05.06.15 at 7:16 pm }

Good for you! I am guilty of staying quiet far too often and have seriously considered assertiveness training. I can’t believe he called you liars, though. If it wasn’t going to hold up your project, I would be seriously tempted to fire them because of that. Or at least not give them a glowing reference for future jobs.

26 Justine { 05.09.15 at 2:22 pm }

I would have cried. And then maybe yelled. Or asked Steve to yell for me, because I don’t like confrontation either.

But I’m glad you spoke up! Sinks are important. 🙂 (And I think, for what it’s worth, that it’s fine to discuss poor service online, provided that you don’t just lambast the company, but talk about what happened, and what, if anything, they did to resolve your complaint.)

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