This morning I found myself about to apologise for my appearance. I have been fighting an infection, and I hadn’t bothered to ‘put my face on’ as my mother would say, I was in my pilates gear and looking, how shall we put it, like me. Without the effort. And as I rushed to meet someone, I was thinking in my head how I’ll apologise for my appearance as if I was somehow offending them by looking like myself (without the effort). WTF? Yesterday I was caught off-guard when I thought I was about to meet one of my ex’s partners. I felt I wasn’t looking my best as if I should have to prove myself to them.
Why the hell should I apologise to anyone for the way I look? With or without effort?
And I thought about all the times I have apologised for being me – the way I’ve looked, the way I’ve felt, the way I’ve behaved. Girls are brought up to be good, kind, pleasing and – my pet hate – to smile. Why do men always tell you to smile when you walk past? What have YOU done to make ME smile I wonder? Why should I give my smile away for free?
Why should I say I’m fine when I feel like shit? Why should I excuse my greasy hair and make-up-free face when when I’m not well? Why should I feel bad because I get angry when I have plenty to be angry about? Why should I say sorry for being cross when THEY are the ones who have behaved badly?
Because that is what is expected of us good girls. Well this is one woman who is going to be good at being myself and not apologising for it. I have three girls to raise, and while I want them to be good at stuff, I especially want them to learn to be good to themselves. Not good pleasing others. Not good keeping their anger, or madness, or ideas, or ambitions or desires muted in case they appear too loud or brash or unfeminine.
I am no longer going to apologise for my age, or my tired face, or my anger, or my madness, or my sadness, or my gaiety, or my humour, or my hormonal horror moments, or my happiness, or my giddiness, or my frivolity or my seriousness. I will apologise for being late or rude. But not for being myself.
In this, International Woman’s Day I want to celebrate being me. With or without the effort.
A friend bought me a lipstick recently, for those va va voom moments we all love to have. Admittedly today I’m not feeling very va va voom (and am not going to apologise for that). But when my next va va voom moment comes, I will smack my lips and pout in red and smile -not because I’ve made the effort for someone else, and not because someone else has asked me to smile. No, I shall put on my lipstick and smile for me and no-one else. Sorry.