Tag Archives: ambition

5 Things Women Should Stop Apologizing For (Assuming We Ever Did)

(Throwback Thursday-this was originally published 9/2013)

“Lo siento”

“Je suis désolé.”

“Mi dispiace.”

“Es tut mir leid.”

“I’m sorry.”

I tend to apologize a lot for things I don’t need to. Sometimes it’s to keep the peace, but mostly it’s because I’m a ‘people-pleaser’ and feel guilty every time someone expresses the slightest bit of frustration with me. This has been my undoing so many times that I’ve come to think that the words, ‘I’m sorry’ should be banished from every language on the planet. I know I’m not alone in this. There are a few things, though, that I will never apologize for. In fact, I don’t think any woman should. The list is pretty long, but here are the five things that I feel are the most important.

1) Standing up for herself. I know several women who were raised not to show anger or frustration. Apparently they were supposed to ignore things that bothered them for the sake of being ‘ladylike’. Some of these women are from England, a society many people think would be ‘beyond’ this sort of thing. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked about “PMS” when I complain about something I’d be able to buy my own private island, preferably staffed with shirtless firemen to serve my every need. Ditto being called a ‘bitch’. Comments like that say a lot more about the person making them than they do about us.

2) Not looking (or even wanting to look) like a supermodel. That’s the whole point of this magazine-celebrating those of us who have curves! Marilyn Monroe, a woman who is considered the bastion of beauty the world over, wore a size 12! If you’ve ever seen Mad Men, you’ve seen Christine Hendricks (http://www.stylehasnosize.com/tag/christina-hendricks/). I don’t know what size she wears, but it’s clear that she hasn’t missed many meals. Ditto Catherine Zeta-Jones, Adele, Queen Latifah…the list goes on. We’re gorgeous, and anyone who doesn’t appreciate that isn’t worth your time.

3) Choosing to work outside the home. Economics aside, some people think a woman who does this is selfish, doesn’t love her kids or intentionally being obstinate-ignoring traditional gender roles just for the sake of doing it. Sure, this might be true for some people, but most have completely different reasons. My mother, for instance, felt a lot better about herself once she got her real estate license. Regardless of how much money she made, it got her out of the house and allowed her to meet more people. Tell me-if my mother were depressed because she wasn’t ‘allowed’ to do these things while we were in school, what good would that do us? If depression were to suck all of the energy out of her the way it does to a lot of other people, would she have had anything left to give us kids? No. Contrary to what some people think, working outside the home can actually make someone a better mother.

On the other hand…

4) Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve heard such women criticized by some of the more strident feminists as ‘continuing the patriarchal society structure that kept women back’. I can see their point, but I couldn’t disagree more. Feminism, for me, is about choices.

The problem, as I see it, is that some of us have been told that we only have so many options when it comes to career and family life. Even if it’s not explicitly said, I’ve known women in male-dominated fields who have been made to feel as though they don’t ‘belong’. It is much better now than it was in my mother’s generation, but some societies and religious groups still hold to what they view as ‘proper’ gender roles. Feminism has, among other things, given us the ability to choose what we do and where we go in life rather than having someone else (fathers, husbands, etc) make those decisions for us. Some women want to be SAHMs (Stay-At-Home Moms), and there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I admire them; I don’t know that I’d have the patience!

5) Wanting to be appreciated for what we do. While we don’t, to quote Jesus, ‘do our deeds in public to be praised [paraphrase!],” it’s always nice to know our ‘good deeds’ do not go unnoticed. I’ve heard things like ‘you do this because that’s what you’re supposed to do-no one thanks a secretary for doing her job”. Um, I beg to differ. I’ve had employers do just that. They know that we’re the backbone; without us, their business couldn’t run. That makes me want to try that much harder to please them.

The point is that we, whatever roles we take in our lives, lay the foundation for the things that stand now and those which are to come. In raising a family, we are grooming our children to make a difference in the world. In being a wife or partner, we are giving another person the love and support they need to go about their daily life. In the professional world, we support our employers and colleagues. If we work outside the home, we help ‘bring home the bacon’ needed to do all of the things mentioned above. We are always going to be somebody’s mother, daughter, sister or friend. If you think about it, we really run the world. We let the men think that they do, but we know the truth. 🙂

We have been given the gift of strength and an indomitable spirit. That, my friends, should never be apologized for.

Would it *really* have been any different?

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of things in my life that I wish I had done or had not done. You know, the whole “woulda, coulda, shoulda” thing. A lot of times, I think I would have been happier with jobs had I studied psychology or religion rather than communication, or I think what it would have been like had I actually been able to work a the job I was going to my first day at when I got into my wreck. It’s mostly jobs I think about, mostly because I’ve spent about half my life working outside the home for money. That’s really all I know; I’m on disability right now, and it killed me to apply because that meant admitting to the government that I couldn’t work. Worse than that, I had to admit it to myself.

But lately I’ve looked back and thought, would I really have been any happier? Professionally, that is. Would I have had an easier time of it had I studied something else? What if the thing that has made the difference isn’t job related at all?

What if it is the bipolar that has caused the problems? I don’t want to have it run my life, but sometimes I don’t know how it can’t. I think the part I’m having now started when I was in college. I did socialize a lot more than I did in high school and was kind of a drama queen, however unintentionally. Certain ex-boyfriends (namely, PR*) took up a lot of time and energy, so much that I often wish I’d never met him. I don’t regret much more in my personal life because I have the most wonderful husband in the world, but professionally is where I mostly wonder. Would things had been any different had I studied something else…would I have been able to get through the school? I think back at how I wanted to go to law school…I shelved that idea for a different reason, but I wonder now if I would have done very well at the job or if I would have been able to get through law school, with the concentration issues I have. Would I have been able to keep jobs for any longer than I have so far? Would I be any happier?

Okay, sorry to ramble, but I hope you see what I was thinking about. Would things really been any better had I actually done the “coulda, woulda, shouldas” I think about? What about you? What are some of your “coulda, woulda, shouldas”?

*’PR’ stands for Psycho Rapist…that’s not the only nickname I’ve used for him, or even the most colorful, but he doesn’t deserve to have me call him by his real name. Actually, he really doesn’t even deserve this amount of thought. Sometimes I still have flashbacks, but that’s another post.

The List Everyone Should Have

Kick the bucket. Buy the farm. Take the dirt nap. Go to be with Jesus.  Live six feet under. Become worm food. Return to whence you came.  It doesn’t matter what cute (or just plain creepy) name you call it, all of us are going to die at some point. The idea is to make the best of what time you have.  Here is a list of things I would like to accomplish before I…well, you know…

Write something that becomes widely known *cough, shameless plug, cough*

Go to every inhabited continent at least once

Dance the Funky Chicken with Sev at our 50th wedding anniversary

Stop worrying what so many people think of me

Have dinner with a celebrity I admire

See a screenplay or read a novel written by one of my friends…this is a real possibility

Visit Jerusalem

Learn to let stuff go

Dye my hair blue (no, not really…although I’ve already done purple, but not intentionally)

Live through something most people wouldn’t have, and I shouldn’t have either…oops, already done that

See a *very* big-name band in concert (U2, Aerosmith, Elton John/Billy Joel on the same stage)

Learn to be okay in my own skin on an ongoing basis…I am most of the time but I’d like to be all of the time

Have sex in a public place

Go on a game show

Dip a hand or foot in the River Jordan

Learn to sing (without setting the neighborhood dogs a-howl)

Learn not to be as stand-offish as I can be sometimes…I love everyone but don’t always know how to open up or get close to people

Have chocolate-covered bacon or some other random combination of my favorite food items

Have sex on the beach (no, not the drink…)

Have a real conversation with a world leader (religious, political, whatever)

Forget about a certain ex, or at least get to where it doesn’t bug me when he comes to mind

Work along side a celebrity I admire (preferably writing for print or visual media, but volunteer work will do)

Hell, get to where I can work full-time again, successfully

Learn to take professional-quality pictures and travel to beautiful places doing so

Get into a full-scale food or water fight in public

Go water-skiing

Okay, maybe these aren’t all that exciting.  But then, neither am I. 🙂  I’m sure I’ll think of more at some point.  I’m off to go start on 12 and 17…yeah, don’t I wish! 🙂

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