No Apology Needed by Lisbeth Darsh

No Apology Needed by Lisbeth Darsh

Apologizing is a thing for women in our society. We apologize often, sometimes even for stuff we don’t need to apologize for. We say we’re sorry for what we’re responsible for, and for what we’re not responsible for.

We apologize for:

  • not hearing something
  • not being something
  • being too much of something
  • being too little of something
  • taking up space

I think we apologize too much.sorry for saying sorry

So, perhaps we should stop some of this serial string of sorries. Unless you have caused injury of some sort (physical, mental, emotional, etc.), ask yourself why you’re saying “Sorry.” If there’s a valid reason, go ahead. But if not? Press on.

And here’s a quick reminder of things you don’t have to apologize for in life:

Don’t apologize for taking up space at the gym

Nobody has any more right than you to the barbell, the squat rack, the rower, the devil’s tricycle, or the pull-up bar or anything else in the gym. If you are a member, then you’re entitled to use the equipment you paid to use. Don’t let gym-heads intimidate you into not using equipment, and don’t let them chase you into abandoning equipment. Don’t say “Sorry” for using something that you have the right to use. The dumbbells are not anyone’s personal property. We can all share. Nobody has to be sorry for using equipment in a fair manner.

Don’t apologize for not smiling

You are not obliged to smile 24/7. There is no law that says women in a public space must smile. If you feel happy? Smile. If you don’t feel happy, you don’t have to smile. Not even if some jack-wagon says to you, “Smile!” You don’t have to say “Sorry” and smile. You can just be who you are at that moment. It’s allowed—and it’s your life, not anyone else’s.

Don’t apologize for being competitive

How many women do you know who say things like “Oh, I’m not competitive”—like it’s something bad? Like competing is something women are not supposed to do? (I once stood in a cold lake in Northern California, with 50 other women waiting for the start of a triathlon, and heard them talk about how they weren’t competitive. With numbers marked on their arms. Having paid an entrance fee, and about to vie for prizes. Hmmm. Okay.) Or you hear, “Sorry, I’m not usually competitive.” Or they apologize for beating you: “Sorry, I was just kind of fast today.”

It’s okay to be competitive, even for women. Don’t accept the hype from society, and don’t apologize for wanting to win or for winning! And there’s no need to say you’re sorry if you beat a man. They’ll live. And some of them will be secretly thrilled.

Don’t apologize for enjoying what you enjoy

Some folks like to CrossFit. Some people like to run, or do yoga or powerlift or Olympic lift or walk or swim, or whatever. If you like to do it, you like to do it. Period. There’s no need to deprecate your sport of choice, or make explanations for it. You are active—that’s fantastic! 80% of Americans do not get the recommended amount of exercise in any given week. So the fact that you’re doing something is already a win. Keep doing it! And don’t make excuses for what you love. Just go out and do more of it. 

Don’t apologize for your size or your weight

Your size or weight is what it is right now at this very moment. Maybe you’re working on trying to lose fat or gain muscle—that’s all good. But that doesn’t mean that you’re less of a person or you have less of a right to exist in this world because you don’t have the perfect body you imagine in your mind. You are who you are right now. Maybe tomorrow you’ll be what you feel is a better you. But the you that exists right now is beautiful too, even if you can’t see that yet. Besides, you have company, because we are all works in progress.

strength is earnedDon’t apologize for the weight on your bar, or for muscles, or for being strong

Never. You earn strength. Nobody gives you strength. You take it through lots of hard work. So don’t feel weird that you have “big legs” or “broad shoulders” or a bodacious badonkadonk, or that you’re using a heavier weight than anyone else in your class. Just go right on with being your badass self. No apology needed. And, besides, the best people won’t expect one.

Don’t apologize for wearing shorts

I don’t care if your shorts are white, black, green, red or polka-dotted. I don’t care if they’re booty shorts or Bermuda shorts. If it’s hot and you want to wear shorts? Wear them! And don’t apologize to anyone for how your legs look. Just stride in, practice, and stride out. Let your work do the talking.

Most of all, don’t let this be the summer that you look back on and think, “I should have worn shorts more. I should have laughed more, and apologized less. I should have loved more and worried less. I should have let the sand trickle through our toes for an extra hour and brought messy sandwiches for us to eat there on the beach, instead of rushing home to be perfect and panted and vaguely discontented for reasons I could never quite name. I should have thrown my cares into the bottom of the ocean, and floated on the waves of my own happiness. I should have lived like that.”

Stop apologizing needlessly. Save the apologies for when you’ve erred. And let this summer and the rest of your life stand out in your memory as when you really started to live.