Something is rolling around in my ribcage… it’s a strange, sick feeling. Like I should apologize. Like I did something wrong. Shame. Like I should feel bad or weird about making choices about my own life. Yet, I have no one to answer to but myself, my kids and the people I choose to spend my time with. I choose. It’s my choice. Mine. I thought I didn’t care, or could shake it off, but as it turns out I woke up still kind of ragey about it. Here goes.
I’m really fucking tired of something. (Ok, several things, cause let’s face it, I have a lot going on.) But it occurred to me yesterday that while I have very few fucks left to give– there’s one, one BIG one, that I am not going to let go of.
I am done apologizing for being a strong woman. Done diminishing my own light to make others glow. For trying so desperately to shrink and take up no room so that everyone else gets to be GIANT. Don’t misunderstand me, I will always shine a spotlight made of bright, neon, flashing atomic particles and a billion captive fireflies when I believe in you and love you– I will always LIFT UP MY PEOPLE like a wild woman. That’s my thing and that will not stop. If you’re mine, even just a little, you know this.
But hear this.
As women, we are asked to apologize for absolutely everything. We even start answers to questions, or questions of others with “sorry, I just wanted to ask…” or “sorry I thought it might be good to point out that…” I find myself doing it at work and I can’t help it. I hear younger women doing it and I want to correct them gently, but for some reason stop myself. The hashtag #sorrynotsorry exists because we even need to apologize publicly when we’re NOT SORRY.
I realized today when my own boundaries were being pushed that there was some part of me still apologizing. Saying “please.” Like I needed to use my manners when telling another human to back the fuck up. I laid out a clear boundary and it was being pushed. Over and over. And I felt like I had to be nice.
As a woman, facing aggression is just so woven into the fabric of our experience that we don’t even notice it anymore. Boys will be boys. Mean girls happen. There’s a whole list of transgressions available for our use; bump into these babies and be guaranteed a public shaming. And it’s a tough list to navigate; just when you think you’ve got it down, you walk just a little too far to the right of the line and BAM, you’re into shame-ville.
Be good. Be sexy. Not too sexy. Don’t LIKE sex. Have enough sex so he stays. Leave if he hurts you. Don’t leave too soon cause maybe you could work it out. Discuss marriage and babies cause you should want them. Don’t pressure him too much into marriage and babies or he might leave. Have strong opinions. Don’t share your opinions too often. Be skinny. Oh that’s too skinny, eat a fucking burger. You need to take care of yourself as a mom of small kids. You are spending way too much time away from your kids. Should you be dating? When are you going to get married again? Teach your kids that women are leaders. You’re working a lot of hours lately, aren’t you?
The worst part? Often, the aggression comes from women. It comes from people who should get it. Which I think is what’s stuck in my ribcage. When did we get permission to engage in shit like this against other women?
I could go on and on about sisterhood and lifting each other up– but I feel like you know all that already and frankly, I’m still a little too pissed off to go there. What I am saying is about me. About my promise to try just a little bit harder to stop apologizing. I will not shrink. I will make decisions about my own life. I’ve spent so many years allowing other people to make those choices… their large and small aggressions shifting my own plans, dreams and hopes. In ways I honestly did not even realize at the time. I want to be a women that other, younger, women look at and go, “oh her, yeah, she’s badass. She’s doing her thing. She’s not afraid.” That’s it. That’s all I want. Cause I am done. Being sorry.