Driving home tonight, I read a billboard outside a church. It was advertising their women’s worship meeting. The tag line they used was, “Want the last word? Apologize!”. Because that’s all any woman would really want, right? The last word. And she should consider eating shit to get it.
I’ve been teaching my baby girl some basic sign language. Words like More. Drink. Food. Bath. Please. Thank you. But after she had smacked the ever living crap out of her brother for the third time in a day, I realized I was going to have to teach her another one: Sorry. And a little piece of me recoiled in horror.
I grew up apologizing. Constantly. It was always me who was in the way. I should have been the one to think ahead, anticipate what others would need. To this day, I apologize to inanimate objects. “Whoops, sorry!”, I have said, to more than one door jamb on which I’ve stubbed a toe. I’m not sure whether it’s because I grew up with very little self-esteem. Or that I grew up with role models who all had poor self-esteem. Maybe it was because I thought that as a girl, I was automatically inferior. Hell, maybe it’s because I’m Canadian. Whatever the reason, I grew up saying “Sorry”. A lot.
I have so many hopes for that chubby, curly-haired little girl. That she will like herself. That she will always raise her hand when she knows the answer. That she will make enough money. That money will not be the most important thing to her. That she will experience love – as someone’s equal partner. But I do not hope that she ever feels compelled to apologize where it is not warranted.