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Nobody Likes a Pushover. Oh Wait, Yes. That’s Exactly Who They Like.

So a former “fan” just took to my Facebook page and told me that she “used to like me” and now she “hates me” and I’m a “mean girl” with “mean girl tactics” and sell “overpriced stuff.”  [She asked to be removed from my site and mailing list, so I don’t worry about writing about this… because she won’t read it anyway. Right?  Riiiiight.]

Here’s the thing.  There’s a difference between being a “mean girl” and being a “pushover.”

People think because I am in big fish, small pond arena (e.g., triathlon) that I have to just take people’s shit.  Get it thrown at me, and stand there, taking it—like “more, please” and “let me help you with your swim stroke first.”   That I should be happy and inspiring and whatever. Like all the time–no matter what.

And guess what?  I don’t.  No one has to be a pushover.

I don’t work FOR anyone in triathlon.  I don’t have sponsors who actually pay me.  I get socks and gels and vitamins.  And I love those socks and gels and vitamins, but those gels and socks and vitamins don’t tell me what to do.  I don’t sell ad space.  I don’t answer to a board.  I don’t get a salary.  And the benefits I do get in exchange for the time I spend in other ventures, people, I promise you is less than minimum wage… so blah blah blah on that too.

I am not tied to anyone, but myself.

So I can say what I flipping want.  And I don’t have to be a pushover.

I am not required to stand by and watch people lift my original ideas and then say, “No, YOU just keep that. It’s good. I’m fine with it.”

That’s called being a pushover.

No one makes me keep people in a group with discounts and benefits like early entry to races, when I receive screenshots of their shit-talking about me behind my back.

That’s called being a pushover.

People will use you. Man, they will use the living hell out of you, and turn around and stab you.  Keeping them in your life?

That’s called being a pushover.

Call me a mean girl. Call me a bitch. Call me fat. Call me slow. Call me fat and slow. Call me a Ricki. (I just made that up, by the way).  And hey, “You can call me, Al” too!

Pick your name, don’t care.  You can call me lots of things, but pushover?  Nope. Not one of them.

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And as a whole, I think women can be the worst pushovers.

I read a book in law school called Women Don’t Ask, and it is about how women basically stink at negotiating and fail because they don’t ask for what they want.  How in salary negotiations women were far more likely to take the first offer, and men would ask for more. Many examples.

One review said about the authors, “Women don’t ask the important questions that will make them successful–This is an important study of how women can become their own best advocates by knowing how to ask for exactly what they want in their public and private lives. The secret is in believing that one can negotiate almost anything.”  (Harriet Rubin, author of “The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women”)

What?

You mean that WE can be our own best advocates by knowing how to ask for exactly what we want in our public and private lives??  You are kidding me, right?

I was upset yesterday. I haven’t let something like social media get to me like yesterday got to me.

Anyway, I was folding socks with the kids–because weirdly, doing laundry is some sort of bonding time.  And I had another nasty comment come through the interwebs on this stupid issue, and I just sort of broke down.

 

Because as tough-skinned as one must be to be all “out there” on the internet, it’s hard sometimes to just be…. quiet and left alone.

And regrettably, I cried.

And I don’t cry a lot anyway any more. I used to. In recent years, I have really try to refrain from crying in front of my kids unless its a good cry, or if I am sad, like losing my grandmother.

Those are emotions that I think are good for them to see and process.  But I don’t think whiny “oh someone was mean to me on social media” and “whaaaa I’m a giant baby with no real problems”–cries are something that anyone needs to see.

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But this was just the last straw, emotionally, at that moment.

My son goes, “Mommy, what’s wrong?” and they piled on me, wide-eyed.

I said, “I am sorry for crying. I have just had enough.”

He said, “Enough of laundry?”

I laughed, “Well.  Yes, that too.”

My daughter says, “Who was mean?”

I said, “It doesn’t matter, honey.”

My son then said, “Someone was mean to me today when I played volleyball at school—and…”  (Well, at that point, I wasn’t crying and we talked about his volleyball game…)

I figured the conversation was over.

But, later that night, however, my son asked the Expert what was wrong with me, why I was crying earlier. The Expert told my son this:

Mom works very hard in her real job every day.  And she does something else that is NOT a job, but really helps a lot of people.  That’s what Swim Bike Mom is.  But many people don’t like her, and don’t like what she does. Or they like to make Mom look stupid or mean or like she doesn’t do good things, and has bad intentions. But Mom is strong and doesn’t let people do that to her. She stands up for herself, when it’s right.  She stands up for our family.  She stands up for her people.  And that’s what Mom does.

I was speechless.  And humbled.

But you know what?

You’re damn right, I do.  And I’m not sorry.

On this Mother’s Day weekend, when people are missing their moms–like my Mom is—I hope that you take a second to thank the moms and women in your life who have inspired you.

Those women who really stand up – to real issues, to real hardships, not petty shit on the internet.

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Those women over the years who have refused to be pushovers just because someone doesn’t “like” them.

For the women out there who do the hard things, who have original ideas, and who try their best in spite of real problems—not first world social media problems— I am thankful for YOU.

I salute YOU.  You don’t have to be a pushover.  Chances are if people you don’t even know are starting to hate you–then you’re probably doing something right.

Ask yourself the important questions of:

  • What really matters to you?
  • How can I make sure that I stay focused on what matters?
  • How can I help people?
  • Am I standing up for myself?
  • Can I stop people from hurting me or playing games with me, by just a click of a button?

Be your own voice.  Be the voice for those you love. Be brave, be thankful.

Everything else?  Well, the rest is all just noise.

#JustKeepMovingForward

29 Comments

  • Jeannie

    May 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Ah, Meredith. My husband is a senior newspaper editor, which he had done for many years; early in his career he was a newspaper reporter. Part of his job is engaging with readers/the public. Every day, he deals with social media posts by trolls and angry phone calls. I walked into our bedroom on Christmas Eve about 4PM this past year and he was on the phone with some reader who was very angry about a change the newspaper had made. The apparent urgency of communicating this request in the way it was communicated at 4PM on Christmas Eve obviously showed that priorities for the angry reader were just simply off. I don’t know how you all do it. I just don’t have the stomache for it. Thank you for your willingness to keep out there for people like me who pick up your gems…I realize that in order to do that you have to put up with a lot of sh*t. A hug for you from California.

    Reply
    • Swim Bike Mom

      May 6, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      That’s so funny Jeannie.. I wanted to be a reporter all my life… and then I got sidetracked with lawyer. But then SBM happened – and I am lawyer AND whatever THIS is… so it’s funny how we end up where we “want to be” sometimes. LOL… Hugs to you.

      Reply
  • Maria

    May 6, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I guess some people are just so unhappy in their own lives that they pick on other people to make themselves feel better (in a weird way I guess). Personally, I don’t understand that to the point where it blows my mind. You are VERY inspirational and I love reading your blogs.

    Reply
  • Karen

    May 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    In the wise words of that philosopher, Taylor Swift: don’t you worry your pretty little mind. People throw rocks at things that shine.

    And shine, you do Meredith. People won’t like it. Just keep being you.

    Reply
    • Lindsey

      May 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      I love this and couldn’t agree more! Your authenticity and tenacity are what inspire so many of us. I’m very grateful for the messages you share, especially this one today.

      Reply
  • Susan

    May 6, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I don’t even know you, yet your strength, determination, humor and HUMAN-NESS inspire me all the time! Thank you for always putting it all out there, for never pretending it’s all rainbows and glitter and easy. Thank you for being strong. I also want to say, it is perfectly okay to be strong, and to cry. And to sometimes allow your kids to see that. It lets them know that all people, even strong women, have feelings. And that it can hurt when someone steps on them. One day when they cry because someone stepped on their feelings, they will remember that, “Strong people cry, too” and they will also remember what it looks like when you hurt someone’s feelings. Keep doing you every day, keep putting it all out there (it keeps us newbies going!) and keep being an inspiring example of a strong woman. <3 Happy Mother's Day!

    Reply
  • Diane

    May 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    And this my friend is why I follow you. Although we have never met, and you probably don’t even know who I am, I refer to you as my friend. “My friend Meredith’s book”, “my friend Meredith’s blog”. Truth be said, I was at Oceanside 70.3 and one of my face to face friends kept asking when I was going to meet up with my friend Meredith. Ugh……awkward. I had to fess up that you are my friend but we aren’t actually friends…….yet. Happy Mother’s Day, friend! You inspire me.

    Reply
  • Lynda @ Adventure Latina

    May 6, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    The people who try to hurt you have serious issues with themselves. I hope you never let them get under your skin again because you are incredible. Some people can never be pleased. Just remember, you can be the juiciest apple in the world and some people still won’t like apples. Their loss. Keep rockin’ on!

    Reply
  • Emma

    May 6, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    MEREDITH, (in capitals because I am shouting at you!) don’t you listen to the haters! You are strong and smart and funny and inspirational and people don’t like people like that, it makes them feel bad about themselves. So to make themselves feel better they say mean things. And they would NEVER say these things to your face, but they are empowered because they are sat behind a computer and they can’t see that what they say stings, and maybe they don’t even care. Well they weren’t raised right! I follow your blog and I follow you on instagram and once you commented on a comment I made and OMG I nearly pee’d myself!!!! You inspired me to get off the sofa, to make a plan and have a goal and keep moving forward. Daily, I keep moving forward. I have a plan and now I have the dream of an IM and it is in part to you, because you make me think that anything is possible. I have found other people who support me and inspire me and don’t think I am ridiculous. You are an awesome badass! Happy Mothers Day <3

    Reply
  • Dawn C.

    May 6, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    In the words of a very awesome band, and it is a propos that ‘Pink’ is in their name, “Shine on, you crazy diamond!” I think some people resent our shine because it casts light into where there is darkness…all of the nooks and crannies of the universe that may never have seen the light of day. And there are just some people who curse the light, and others who embrace it. I am proud to be in your universe and to have had your unique and special light shine directly upon me. Happy Mother’s Day, my friend and crazy diamond, you!!!!

    Reply
  • Marcia

    May 6, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    You are an inspiration every.single. day. I wish you were my next door neighbor or my sister. 🙂 As you already know, stay strong. Be yourself!!

    Reply
  • cherie

    May 6, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    I am who I am today because of my strong-willed, not-loved-by-many, speaks-her-mind, travels alone, ran, swam, biked, flew airplanes,hiked the Grand Canyon, played ice hockey, loved us unconditionally, MOM. And I am proud to say that I am just like her (but I probably won’t learn to fly any time soon.) Just do what you love- you shouldn’t have to “explain” your life to anyone.

    Reply
  • Marijo Wimbush

    May 6, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    MA I am so sorry people are mean to you. But it is interesting that this is the second “friend” (meaning I don’t know your personally but am a 100% MA and SBM supporter) who is on social media sharing HER personal journey to HELP others and people feel free to be mean to her. She is a past Biggest Loser contestant who, since her time there has shared her successes and challenges with many people in person and on-line. And apparently she too has been bullied and berated by people on line. She is good people. I know her. And she , like you help so many people try to live an healthier and more active life. I pray that those bullies/negative people don’t detour you from your mission. It’s ok to feel hurt by these hateful people. Go ahead have your cry. Now get up and start doing the thing that you DO. I hope someday you will come to Chicago and I will give you a BIG BIG hug.

    Reply
  • Diana

    May 6, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out what you’ve said–because (to my embarrassment) I’ve read your book 3x and your blog from stem to stern–that could be interpreted as mean girl stuff. Unless it’s the basic message of “get off your ass”? I guess, if you’re feeling really unhappy with yourself?

    Anyway, you’re doing fine. At least I think so. And I agree, sock sorting and folding is good bonding time.

    My first tri (sprint) is in less than 12 hours. You’ve been a big help so far. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Jo

    May 7, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Jealousy is very mean-spirited. I’m sorry to read that people are trying to pull you down, just because they want to be “up there”. (They need to remember that success in anything – triathlon, lifting, blogging – comes from putting in the hard yards day in, day out., even when you REALLY don’t want to. It doesn’t get handed out like sweets/lollies/candy at a birthday party…) You are inspiring in so many ways. Mainly by being YOU. Driven, passionate, real. I love your work. And I know this is the place to come when I need that dose of “keep it real”. So I’m sorry someone got to you and made you cry. But you are worth so much more. And you are appreciated. xx

    Reply
  • Naomi

    May 7, 2016 at 4:26 am

    You do you. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is your nucleus. I totally understand the crying thing. When I was drinking a lot I was a blubbering emotional mess. All my insecurities, fears, low self esteem….etc that I managed to fake my way through during the day, just became hyper focused in the evening. When I quit drinking, my emotions stabilized and I was able to start working on things, but I was very sensitive and VERY aware of my emotions around the kids and avoided showing them to make up for the countless of times they saw mommy cry. One day my older son came in my room and I was just staring at the mirror with tears rolling down my face because I had just had it with people at work, one of those shit days. He asked what was wrong and I told him, someone hurt my feelings at work and I too apologized for crying. He walked over gave me a hug and said “Crying is God’s way of reminding you you’re human. So just cry, it’s good for you.” He’s seven and is Autistic.”

    You’ve made great strides this year and God knows just not drinking at night is a victory in itself (onedayatatime).

    Thank you for being you.

    N

    Reply
  • Kim

    May 7, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I Love this Meredith and I love Karen’s comment from Taylor Shift. I find it very fitting and true. Keep being you…because You are Awesome!

    Reply
  • Erin Byrge

    May 7, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t comment often (or ever) and I missed the negativity that you are referring to, but I read everyone of your posts… Several times.

    I would never describe you as a small fish. One of my tri friends was on you ambassador team last year and we sort of met through her. At IMLP last year I saw you and was so excited to get a pic with you (you and Mike Reilly were my two “must have” photos. When I started heading to you to ask for a pic – you remembered me. I felt so star struck! Swim Bike Mom remembered me. You are a BIG FISH because you kick ass, you inspire, and relationships matter to you.

    I am so sorry that others can be negative. Don’t ever let them make you feel like a small fish!! To me and so many others – you are the Big Fish that we know will be polite and great enough to include us small fish.

    Reply
  • CindyP

    May 10, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Thank you for ALL the negative you take on so that THIS Mom can see and feel trickles of your life and dream a little herself. I am continually inspired, enlightened, and intrigued by your life of TRI. I hope you know that for every one hater, there are SO MANY MORE silent observers that you continue to spur on. 🙂 I appreciate you. I appreciate what you do. Thanks for inviting this stranger to be a part…. it’s just another one of your “braves” …. Any you do brave quite well! Which is why I read~ 🙂 and I want some of your brave, ’cause it is pretty darn cool.
    that…. AND you make me snort laugh on a regular basis! HA!

    Reply
  • Helga Junold

    May 10, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Meredith,
    You helped me a lot today…with the mantra, just keep moving forward, as I slogged through a 12 mile run. I treated myself to a cup of tea and a sit down with your blog after. I was not happy to read that people were being mean to you!! Know that there are many many of us out there, who look forward to reading your blog, and take great encouragement from all of your advice and tips. I owe you! So have a virtual hug from me and please don’t stop what you are doing…which of course you won’t as you are not a Pushover!!! Yay!
    Helga

    Reply
  • David

    May 11, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Please keep doing what you are doing and ignore the negative people of the world. I am inspired by this site and what you do!! Haters will keep on hating!! I love your positive energy and your brutal honesty!! Thank you very much for being you!! Keep up the awesome work!!!

    Reply
  • Nikki @ will run for pizza

    June 11, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I just found you and your blog, and I love you already. This is a great post, and I WILL keep coming back for more! The few posts I’ve read today (at work haha), have been SUPER helpful and inspiring and for that, I THANK YOU for writing this blog and being yourself. Keep it up! 🙂

    Reply

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