Yesterday was my first day back at work after a 10 day vacation. Literally within seconds of opening the teen space one of my
favorites regular teens (we’re not supposed to have favorites, right?) flung the door open and proceeded to shout:
MS. SARAH HAVE YOU SEEN STAR WARS YET?
Have I seen Star Wars yet? Girl please.
I literally jumped up and down and replied that yes, I had, and yes it was amazing, and yes, Rey was totally my favorite even though Leia will always be awesome and hold a special place in my heart Rey Rey REY EFFING REY is the best omg.
And this teen, (let’s call him S) almost-but-not-quite (he is a teen after all) jumped up and down with me right there in the teen space. We proceeded to spend a good hour talking about fan theories (Rey is totes Luke’s daughter, we are in perfect agreement about that) and debating the value of the prequels (he likes them, I refuse to acknowledge their existence) and quoting all our favorite moments and lines.
About 45 minutes into this conversation another one of my
favorites regulars came in (let’s call her Y) and immediately joined the conversation. The three of us sat there debating and recanting and generally being excited, and at one point Y got really Really excited about the moment where Rey got the lightsaber and as she was gushing about how great it was, it was like she ran into a wall of silent self-policing. She shut her own fangirling down and said,
I’m sorry, I just… it was my favorite part.
The excited look on her face disappeared and was replaced by a sheepish expression I know only too well.
‘I’m sorry’ for having feelings. ‘I’m sorry’ for voicing my opinion. ‘I’m sorry’ for existing in this world that was created for men.
I saw myself at her age. Fuck, I saw myself right now, trained and programmed to apologize for breathing air and taking up space.
And in that instant I made a choice. I looked at them both and said,
EFF THAT! I’m not sorry! That part was awesome. I freaking loved it and I’m gonna fangirl about it for months and I’m so completely not sorry.
They laughed and and the conversation moved on and I don’t know if it was as meaningful a moment for them as it was for me. Maybe, maybe not. You can never tell with teenagers.
But I knew right then what my New Year’s Resolution is.
To stop. fucking. apologizing.
Of course I’ll apologize when an apology is due, when I hurt someone or cause pain – that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the constant presence of “sorry” in my professional and personal conversations.
Saying “I’m sorry, can I interrupt you?” when I mean, “Is this a good time to talk?” at work.
Saying “I’m sorry, that’s just want I think,” when I mean, “This is what I think.”
Saying “I’m sorry for rambling,” when I mean “Thank you for listening.”
Because I’m not sorry.
I’m not sorry for voicing my opinion. I’m not sorry for taking up space in the world. I’m not sorry for my knowledge or expertise or calling you out on your shit. I’m not sorry for my body, or for dressing the way I want that makes me feel good about myself. I’m not sorry for having ambition, or being professionally successful. I’m Not. Fucking. Sorry.
So I’m going to stop saying it. Or try at least.
Already, one single day into this resolution, I have slipped. I’ve said, “sorry,” when I had no call to apologize, when I was simply doing my job. It’s hard, to eliminate this word from my vocabulary, but I am determined to stop apologizing for Existing in the World.
If not only for myself – which is a totally valid reason to do anything by itself – but also for my teens. To try and lead by example, showing the girls that they deserve to take up as much space, love things as much, say what they think just as loud as the boys. And showing the boys that they aren’t innately entitled to a larger amount of life. They have shit they can learn from us too. And for all the gender neutral/flexible/ non-binary people? They don’t have to apologize either for being exactly who they are.
If people want to call me a bitch, then fine.
I’m here. I’m me. And I’m #notsorry.