I’m sorry, you may not like what I’m about to say.
But here’s the thing: I’m going to say it because I’m really not sorry. I’m not sorry for having thoughts and feelings, or for vocalizing them. I’m really not sorry about my differing opinion or the values I hold. I’m definitely not sorry for speaking my mind or for drawing boundaries. I am just not sorry anymore.
My daughter is almost three now and she’s developing a feisty little personality. As I watch her grow every day, I’ve realized that she is the purest form of me – she’s a magnified version of all of my strengths and weaknesses. She is a fierce and stubborn. She is kind and thoughtful. She is both athletic and clumsy. She likes to do ten things at the same time, and never complete any of them. She likes to dance with the music blaring and has awful rhythm. She requests her own iced coffee at Starbucks (tall, decaf.) She is a mini-me by nature and follows my lead for everything else.
The day she tripped over her own feet (and I laughed because apparently that’s genetic), I stopped dead in my tracks as she looked up with her sweet, innocent little face and said “I’m sorry, mama.” My daughter has started apologizing for things that she absolutely does not need to apologize for… And I am completely at fault for that.
It’s on us to raise stronger daughters.
I’ve been apologizing for as long as I can remember. At times, I’ve apologized because I should, but most often, I’ve apologized because women are trained to. “Sorry” has come up in more conversations in my life than I can count – and that’s only including times when I apologized for the weather, for following up on an unanswered question, for sharing an opinion, for my coffee to be made as originally ordered and the like. Hell, I’ve even apologized to a man for making him late after he t-boned my car once.
Over apologizing isn’t just a bad habit – it’s a silencing one. Every time I use sorry to begin a conversation, I am immediately putting myself on lower ground than the person I am speaking to and enabling them to keep me there. I discredit myself when I apologize to someone for correcting a falsehood with my professional expertise. For all of my shouting from the rooftops about equality, I am getting in my own way. So, I’m just not sorry anymore.
I want to raise my daughter to be fierce as hell.
She’s already heading that way by nature, but there are things I need to do to make sure she owns her fire. Today, I’m going to start with a small list of things I am not sorry for:
I’m not sorry for missing non-urgent calls from clients on Sunday afternoons.
I’m not sorry for calling out sexism and misogyny, wherever I am.
I’m not sorry for someone bumping into me.
I’m not sorry for parenting the way I see fit.
I’m not sorry for standing up for myself.
I’m not sorry for my daughter being more into soccer and basketball than dolls and princesses.
I am not sorry that being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t the right fit for me.
I am not sorry that I reported an abusive superior to HR when it impacted my ability to do my job.
I am not sorry for determining that my values cannot be compromised on.
I am not sorry for choosing to take care of myself.
I am not sorry for having wants, needs, dreams and goals.
And for my daughter, I am not sorry for tripping over my own feet. Or down the stairs, Or up the stairs.
I’m just not sorry anymore.