Have you ever noticed the way many women enter a room? Kind of sidling in sideways, hugging the walls, not making eye contact, sitting down in the first empty seat in the back?
We sit with our legs drawn close together, preferably pulled in close and even under the chair – just like our mothers taught us to do. Our shoulders are slightly rounded and our arms held close to our sides so as not to bring attention to our breasts or take up too much room.
We are shouting silently, “Excuse me. Please don’t notice me. I’m sorry I’m taking up space on the planet. I apologize for disturbing you. I apologize for me.”
We’ve got to stop doing that! We’ve got to enter a room and take a seat like we belong there, because we do. Like we are allowed to be noticed, because we are. Like our presence and existence are a blessing, because they are.
We’ve also got to stop doing it when we speak and write. Our communications are peppered with apologies, either direct or indirect ones. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.
I like to think I’m fairly straight forward and sometimes even outspoken in my writing. But the first sentence I typed for this post (and then erased) was “Warning: This is a rant!”
My words were an indirect apology. It would have been more honest if I had just written, “Please excuse me for voicing an opinion. Please don’t hate me for speaking my mind.”
I know there are a gajillion and one reasons why women apologize so much. I also know there are times when “I’m sorry” is exactly the right thing to say. But most of the time apologizing is a bad habit we need to break. When we find ourselves apologizing to the furniture when we bump into it, then it’s time for a change!
It’s time to go on an apology strike. Don’t use the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” or “Excuse me” for two entire days. That includes all the indirect ways you say (or write) it too. If you knock down a little old lady, then you can give her your best I’m sorry face (you know you have one), but don’t say the words.
I know it’s going to be difficult, but we need to break this bad habit. Oops! Is “I know it’s going to be difficult, but” a half-assed apology? I think it is. Let me rephrase that.
We need to break this bad habit. I’m sick and tired of apologizing for my existence and the space I take up on the planet. Aren’t you?