1. Being on my period.
Multiple times. There were times I apologized in advance to a guy because we wouldn’t be able to mess around. The problem with this, other than I should have never been sorry about the natural process of my reproductive system, was that I should have never felt like I owed a man anything. In different situations with different men, things got hot and heavy and they became frustrated because they “couldn’t” take it further. Again, my reaction was to say, “I’m sorry.”
Well, you know what, I was frustrated too. Frustrated because I, too, have sexual needs, because *surprise, surprise* men aren’t the only ones who become aroused. And frustrated, because said men were too much of children to just man the fuck up and have sex with me.
There is no reason to ever be apologetic about the biology of your body. Especially not to a male who acts disgusted by it. I don’t understand men that aren’t willing to have sex with a beautiful girl because she’s menstruating. I get it, I’m bleeding, I’m not asking you to get your hands dirty and finger me. But if we’re having sex and wearing a condom, what is the problem? If we’re safe enough and past the point in our relationship or situationship where we don’t use one, still, what is the problem? It’s like guys have this misconception that we’re oozing and spraying out gallons of blood. This isn’t the case. We actually only lose about 2-5 tablespoons in the entirety of our period. And in the late days of menstruation, there’s like nothing there. And to be clear, having sex actually lessens the flow. And let’s be honest, dudes have been known to be more stupid about where they stick their penises in.
2. Calling him a rapist.
Yes. I did that. I apologized to my rapists.
In one instance, I had blacked out one night and woke up in a bed with most of my clothes missing. It took some time for me to grasp the actuality of what had occurred. He was supposed to be my friend. All I could remember from the night before was knocking back drink after drink and shot after shot, then blank. Then I remembered two of them helping me, almost carrying me, down the hallway. Then blank. When he put the blame on me because he said I couldn’t handle my alcohol, because he said I shouldn’t have put myself in that situation, I actually blamed myself and apologized for calling him a rapist. It took me a long time to realize that inebriation doesn’t mean I played a role in my own sexual assault. Irresponsibility does not warrant rape.
In another situation, he was my boyfriend. I didn’t want it. I said no. I said no again and again. I tried pushing him off of me. My strength was nothing compared to his. My throat hurt from screaming no. I remember that the last “no” came out almost inaudibly and as a whisper. He was doing it anyway. So when it was over and I cried and asked him how he could do such a thing to me, when I looked him in the eyes and asked how he could violate me, he said, “you’re my girlfriend, I didn’t rape you.” He became enraged at the use of the word rape. I sat there in literal physical and emotional pain, feeling used and betrayed by someone who was supposed to love me and take care of me and actually apologized for putting that label on him. I know now that just because he had his way with me before, didn’t give him a right to do it when he pleased and on his terms. I know now that giving consent once or multiple times before, doesn’t mean you’ve guaranteed consent for every time after.
3. My guilty pleasures.
Time and time again, my ex would complain about Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules taking up space in our DVR. He didn’t know how such a “cool girl” could actually be into “trash TV.” I’d shrug my shoulders and just nod and agree. My response would usually be to say something like, “I know. I just can’t stop watching. Sorry.” What I should have told him was to fuck off, that I wasn’t exactly thrilled about him making me sit through every Monday Night Football and Saturday college football games.
4. Being too sensitive.
There was this long-term boyfriend that I had who would constantly dismiss my feelings because he claimed that I wasn’t thinking logically and that I was too overly emotional to feel the “right” way about things. His favorite go-to, other than calling me crazy, was to accuse me of overreacting about things because I was too sensitive. He also constantly expressed annoyance at my sensitivity.
And he was right, I was a sensitive person, but he didn’t have the right to use that trait of mine, which is actually a lovely thing, and turn it into ammunition for his fight. It was his fallback when he was wrong when he got called out, when he was the reason I felt hurt, or when he was guilty of something. According to him, I was just being too sensitive, I was just overreacting. This happened so often, that I sometimes believed I had something to be sorry for. I would apologize for being hurt, for being too sensitive and for caring too much about things.
If he’s reading this now, I would just like to say, yes, I’m sensitive, and I am not sorry because that never was the problem. You were the problem. Your inability to sympathize with others and take into account their feelings and well-being was the problem. The problem was that you were one cold and calculating narcissist. The difference between you and I was that I had human emotion and you only knew anger.
On many occasions, I’ve been told by men that I should get rid of my sailor’s mouth. There have been a few men tell me that a lady thinks before speaking, that she doesn’t swear or raise her voice. I started watching myself when I spoke, especially around said men, but I’m done with that. Because FUCK that. I no longer excuse myself for using language to express myself. I am done apologizing for speaking my mind the way I see fit. If that happens to include swearing, raising my voice, or expressing my opinion, which may or may not be unpopular, then so be it.
6. My attire.
I started doing this too early. I was young and naive and mistook “overprotection” and possessiveness for love. I remember thinking I looked lovely, being excited to see him. It was summer. It was young love. It was teenage hormones and feeling all sorts of things I had never felt for this older guy. I was smooth skin and tanned legs, dewy lip gloss, and Gucci Rush I had stolen from my mom. I didn’t think the jean skirt I had chosen to wear would set him off. So when he looked at me in disgust and said, “it took me months to see that high up your legs and now you want to just show them off to everyone,” when he didn’t talk to me for hours that night, I felt the need to change into different clothes and apologize. So my relationship carried on like this.
Fast-forward years later to a different boyfriend. He constantly criticized my fondness for darker colors and my “hybrid boho and goth” style. “Why do you wear so much black?” “Are you sure you want to wear black jewelry on top of an outfit that is just black on black?” “Why aren’t you like other girls?” “Can’t you add some color to your clothes?” “That skirt looks a little bit hippie. Are you sure you like it?” So, I would apologize for my tastes and added more colors to my wardrobe. I bought things “other girls” were wearing, some even things I would never wear, just to please him a little bit. I didn’t feel like myself in any of them.
Now, older and wiser, I know better. No one except me and my tastes have authority over my wardrobe. I will be unapologetic in my beauty and fashion statements, and they are statements I, alone, will make.
6. Not smiling.
I’ve been asked, “why the long face,” or, “why don’t you give smiling a try.” My responses have sometimes been to lie and say, “sorry, it’s just a bad day.” Or to sometimes just shrug, and say sorry. Now, I tell a man to mind his own business. I don’t have to be smiling every second of the day. I am not your Stepford Miss anything.
7. Not always looking presentable & personal upkeep.
Men seriously have no idea how much effort goes into looking “our best.” It is 2018, we’re busy and hustling out here, there’s not always time to doll ourselves up. We shouldn’t apologize for it. Ever. I can opt out of heels and makeup, and if he isn’t fine with it I will find someone who is.
I also don’t always have time to shave my legs or get a bikini wax. Also, THOSE VISITS TO THE WAXER DON’T COME CHEAP. If I’m going to go a few weeks without, they can just deal with it. Again, it’s my person, it’s my body, and I shouldn’t have to be altering or doing things to it to please anybody that isn’t me.
8. Having high expectations.
I’ve apologized for having high standards, for wanting things done well, for being disappointed when someone let me down. For expecting too much. This has often been the case with men. I was “asking for too much.” They’d hurt me, lie to me, betray me, let me down in some way, and somehow it came back to it being my fault for having high expectations. Wrongly so, in many instances I apologized.
As women, we’ve all been there. We’ve all felt a little hesitant to voice our demands. Afraid that in doing so, we would come off as either needy or bitchy. In the workplace, with family, in friendships, with relationships, we all work so hard, that we shouldn’t apologize for asking more from the people we surround ourselves with.
9. Saying no.
I have learned that the word no doesn’t have to be followed by a sorry or a because. If I want to say no, I’m going to say no. Whatever my reason for doing so, whether I’m too tired, I simply can’t, I have too much on my plate, or I simply don’t feel like it, I don’t owe anyone an apology or an explanation.
10. My past.
Never again. I am who I am and have been who I have been. I have lived my life the way I have lived it and done the things I’ve done, whether I am proud of them or not, doesn’t even matter. I am who I am today because of my past. I’m not perfect and I’m still learning. I will not be made ashamed of my past ever again.
*Sidenote: I will also never apologize about my sexual history, because doing so means I have something to be ashamed about, and I don’t. I will not let anyone slut shame me, nor will I slut shame myself.
11. Wanting time to myself.
We all need to take of ourselves first. I am done apologizing for my need for solitude from time to time. I respect another person’s need for this, for space, for the time to do the things they want to do without me or by themselves. And I expect the same thing in return.
12. Turning down sex.
His ego would get bruised and there would be this anger swell up in his eyes if I ever turned him down. I found myself asking for his forgiveness for turning down sex. I found myself having to explain why, whatever was the case. Whether I turned sex down, period, or a specific act. He’d actually shut me out for hours after. He would make me feel like I had done something wrong, like I had something to be sorry for.
I (all of us) should never be sorry about turning down sex or a sexual act. Nobody has ownership over our bodies. We aren’t withholding sex. Our bodies are ours, not theirs. I am a person with a spirit and a self, not a plaything. Turning down sex shouldn’t come with an apology. It’s my body. I decide when and if I want to. I decide what my boundaries are.
13. Attention from other men.
I dated this guy that was a little jealous. When we were out and I got attention from other men he’d flip out. It wasn’t something I was seeking. It wasn’t something I was asking for. He’d actually get angry with me. I would apologize when I had nothing to be sorry for. The problem was his insecurities. I wasn’t the problem. If anything, he should have been thankful for the attention and looks I got, if anything he should have felt proud of me and to be with me. He should have felt glad that I was with him, when I could be doing anything else with anybody else.
14. Expecting chivalry (and things I shouldn’t be sorry for).
We had been together for about four years. By this point, the relationship was dwindling, by this point I was doing everything I could to keep it together. Which was probably one of the reasons I gave an apology I shouldn’t have.
We were out on a date having dinner one night. It had started pouring outside. We had plans to go out to this bar and meet up with some friends after. I didn’t want to walk back to his truck in the rain. I didn’t want to get soaked and completely mess up my make-up and hair if we were going out. I told him I would wait for him up front to pull up. He looked at me and said, “like fuck you are.” We had just gotten done having a conversation about politics during dinner. Our political viewpoints were one of the biggest issues in our relationship, because me – a hardcore liberal, and him – a conservative, didn’t always see eye to eye on things. I had completely obliterated some point he was trying to make and fact checked him. I thought everything was cool, but apparently he was still reeling from it. Because according to him, me, a feminist, shouldn’t expect chivalry if I want to be treated equally to a man. I called him an asshole and a piece of shit, loud enough for people in the restaurant to hear.
He made me walk back to his truck, in the pouring rain. It wasn’t a short walk, either, and I was wearing heels. The whole time I was fuming and I was in utter shock and disbelief. Some at that he would try to “make a point” by doing this, and some at his argument, that as a feminist, I shouldn’t expect chivalry.
I embarrassed him in front of our friends and told them all what had happened, I wanted to make him feel like what he was, a fucking asshole. Later on that night, still fighting about it, I just gave in and apologized, when I damn well knew I shouldn’t have. I just didn’t want to fight. I just wanted to salvage what I knew was already long gone.
I learned two big things that night. One was that I will never say sorry when I don’t have something to be sorry for. Especially if I’m right. Even if it is to protect something or someone who means something to me. I will never again give an apology where one isn’t due.
And second, I shouldn’t have to forgo chivalry as a feminist. Just because I demand equality and respect and want it to be acknowledged that women are just as capable, doesn’t mean I want to be “treated like a man.” Me wanting equal pay and believing women deserve the same rights men do, believing women should have control of their own bodies, doesn’t mean I don’t get to expect chivalry. I love having doors opened for me, being taken out to dinner, having chairs pulled out for me, having a car pulled up so I don’t have to walk in the rain, and this doesn’t make me a hypocrite. I’m tired of being told it does.
15. Showing emotion.
Because this isn’t something anyone should ever be sorry for.
16. My body.
In whatever shape, at whatever dip or peak on the fluctuating weight graph, it is mine. I have tried to change it by dropping to a weight below what was considered healthy for me to please a man in the past. I often apologized for the hips and ass I can’t seem to get rid of because he liked his girls bony and skinny. Never again. This body is mine and it is perfectly imperfect. The only definition of beautiful that matters is my own.
17. Not being enough.
Because I have and always will be enough.