Why do we say sorry so much?
Nice bit of patriarchy there Mum
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the word sorry and more to the point, how many times I seem to say it. This seems to be an awful lot.
I became aware of my over-use of it the other night. My husband had come home for work and I was busily working away on the laptop. He sat down and I immediately began apologizing for not making dinner and talking about how I wasn’t a good wife, whatever one of those is. Part of it was tongue-in-cheek, but nevertheless I said it.
My youngest looked at me shocked.
I say sorry so much
“Nice bit of patriarchy there Mum!” she said, which set the elder feminist off into a rant about how a wife is whatever you want it to be. This discussion went on for while, with me eventually retiring upstairs, wondering what I had really started.
But it got me thinking how often I really say sorry and why I say sorry so much. Is it something in me or is it women in general? I can count on one hand the amount of times I hear a man say sorry. The more I dug the more disturbed I got about my use of the word sorry and when I use it. I say no to a work job because there is no or low pay, I tell the truth, I go into strategic mode. I state my opinion and on and on and on, all followed by a sorry. In fact the only time I don’t seem to say it is when I’m alone and then I find myself saying it for getting in the cat’s way – what is wrong with me?
Good girls keep quiet
In essence they all seemed to have one thing in common. I say sorry when I do something I think is not how a girl or women behaves. Clearly, this is something stemming way back from childhood. Good girls keep quiet, be nice and don’t speak your mind people as won’t like it. I have written about this at length before but this last week I have really become aware how relevant it is. It’s like I consciously have to think to not say sorry. It’s a word I seem to have adopted to apologise for just being me. To apologise for being an independent, feisty, opinionated truth teller and why the heck should I apologise for that? These words that we add to sentences as women that diminish our power like just, sorry, if it’s ok with you;, all of them need to do one.
Conditioning is hard to get over; that patriarchal system that makes women feel that they should be less than they are has to stop.
I’m so hopeful for the next generation and the fact they pick these things up and call me out on them. I’m hoping that we have at least taught our daughters that they never need to apologise, say sorry or make themselves less than, just to make someone else feel better.
And as for me I’m a recovering apologiser and proud of it.