Midwestern women apologize, on average, 900 times per minute, dontcha know. We don’t actually mean, “I’m sorry” like we feel regret, we just say it instead of “excuse me,” “thank you,” “hello” or “sandwich.” It’s as natural as breathing for us. Ope, sorry about that. It’s as natural as breathing in the summer months. In the winter, breathing hurts like knives.
Lookit, this is dumb. We’re apologizing for existing. Or it appears like we’re sorry for existing. We need to stop saying it. We apologize all the time because it’s POLITENESS at all costs where we grew up, and because women have always been expected to be small and quiet. NOT ANY MORE. Have you heard??
Intentionally saying ‘thank you’ instead of ‘I’m sorry’ is an empowering and effective way to get out of this verbal hostage. Try it! It really works! Robb and I have been doing it for a while now, and it has made some really cool changes in our communication.
But, srsly. Here are things I’ve heard midwestern women apologize for just this week. Do they sound familiar? You betcha!
**“I’m sorry I don’t have my face on!” Don’t be sorry- that is AMAZING. We want to see your robot head underneath. Or is it all muscle and bone and sinew, with giant eyeballs rolling around in your meat skull? Oh, you just meant you’re not wearing make-up. That’s nothing. We can actually still tell you’re you, even without your Kabuki situation. Don’t mention it at all.
**“I’m sorry” I’m standing here in the hallway where you have to pass.” Are you able to dissolve into space like some Harry Potter shit? I want to see it! Can you apparate? Is there a portal through the floor through which you can escape? If not, and you’re just walking down this hall and my body is also walking down this hall, why are you sorry? Your non-magic options are just passing without any verbal exchange or eye contact like people do in most parts of the world, or, since you’re from Michigan, you can lock eyes and say “excuse me” or “good morning” or “cold as a witch’s tit, eh?” Those are all better than “sorry.”
**“I’m sorry I didn’t shave.” Damnit, Claudia. Why are you a mammal? You can’t be a proper female human if you don’t spend your entire salary and pain tolerance removing every follicle on your mammalian body. That’s dumb. You don’t owe anyone your hairlessness.
**“I’m sorry I’m not dressed.” Wow! You showed up buck naked on my front porch for a playdate with our kids! Not going to lie, I am surprised. I wonder what my neighbors are thinking, and I’m a little concerned you might lose a nipple because it’s cold out. It’s always cold out. We live in the midwest. It’s terrible. However, if you simply have on a t-shirt you got at a garage sale in 1999 and some yoga pants, I DO NOT CARE. Good for you! I like that you’re comfortable enough with me to be comfortable. If you’d dressed in fancy clothes to come sit on the floor and drink coffee with me while our kids crawl on us and spill our coffee, I would have worried about you. Do not apologize for your clothes choices. You put them on on purpose. Enjoy it.
**“I’m sorry” I need to get your attention. Look, lady, you only repeated yourself seven times while that dude behind the bar ignored you before you raised your voice a hair above the din out of exasperation. Your loud roar probably didn’t make him tinkle in his pants. You don’t need to apologize. You’re not sorry, you’re pissed. That’s different.
**“I’m sorry” I laughed too loudly/showed my teeth/expressed too much joy. Yeah. That one is terrible. You should be sorry. Shut that nonsense down. We don’t do that here. 😉
Let’s commit to only being sorry for the things we actually should own, and use different, less regretful language for the other things. To writ: if you run someone over with your bike, yes, apologize, and help scrape what’s left of them off the street. If you just rode your bike sort of near someone, and they had to wait half a second for you to pass, just nod. If you think it necessary because your Grandma Vanhoosen may be watching, you can thank them for waiting, but don’t apologize.
I’m sorry, but you deserve to exist.