Have you ever heard a woman apologize about her body?
Listen closely to the people chatting around you. At the gym. At the grocery store. Navigating the parking lot, bus, or subway. I bet you’ll hear several apologies today without even trying that hard. They’re everywhere.
“I’m sorry for looking like this. I didn’t have a chance to shower and do my hair,” apologizes the mom who literally created a new human life five months ago.
“I’m sorry, gosh, oops, so, so sorry,” says the woman whose beautiful booty knocks over a glass in a restaurant that’s crammed with too many tables.
“I’m sorry, I need a different size,” says the woman to the clothing store attendant.
“My knee is acting up again. Sorry, I need to skip this part,” another woman says to the fitness instructor at the gym.
“Sorry, I’m a mess.” “Sorry, I’ve got perimenopause brain and my memory sucks right now.” “Sorry, I had surgery last month.”
Sometimes we apologize verbally, out loud to the people around us.
Sometimes we apologize without necessarily using the word, “Sorry.” Sometimes we apologize not with our words, but with our actions—by staying home, canceling plans, keeping silent instead of speaking up, hiding in a variety of ways.
Sometimes we apologize internally, silently, inside our own minds. “I’m sorry for gaining wait, husband. I know I’m disgusting. You didn’t sign up for this.” “I’m sorry I haven’t been interested in sex lately. My body feels so tired.”
Recently, I interviewed a woman named Sonya Renee Taylor for The BARE Podcast. Sonya has a message that she passed along to me, that now I’m passing along to you:
The body is not an apology.
Whatever your age, whatever your size, and whether you’re dealing with an injury, illness, disability, dealing with any condition whether visible or invisible to passersby, please know that you never need to apologize for having a body.
Your body is not an apology. Your body is not a crime. Your body is not a mistake.
Your body is a miracle.
Today, pay close attention to your thoughts. If you catch yourself in the midst of an apology, try to stop yourself. Try to ask, “Why do I feel the need to apologize right now, just for existing?” Try to disrupt the pattern.
Are there scenarios in life when you ought to apologize? Sure. Apologize for being late. Apologize for making an insensitive, careless joke. Apologize for procrastinating and inconveniencing your colleagues at work. Go right ahead.
But the only apology you need to make about your body is this one: “Body, I’m sorry I’ve been cruel to you in the past. I pledge to you, I promise, that era is over. No more violence. No more hiding. And no more apologies.”
It’s incredible what happens when we stop apologizing for existing. We stand up taller. We smile. We make eye contact. We throw our shoulders back and our chests forward. We speak with confidence. We claim our square footage on this earth and build businesses, movements, legacies.
See if you can go one whole hour, then one whole day, and then one whole week without apologizing for having the body that you have.
It might feel easy. Or it might feel surprisingly hard at first. Try it. Commit to an apology-free existence. Watch how your power grows and grows.
The less you apologize, the more you rise.
PS. If you’ve been sleeping on The BARE Podcast, you can catch up on Season 1 and Season 2 here. And run, don’t walk, to the bookstore and get yourself a copy of The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor. Buy extra copies of this book and hand ‘em out to your mom, daughter, sister, girlfriends, every woman in your life.
PPS. Enrollment for THE SUMMER OF YES! is NOW OPEN. What if instead of having the same summer you’ve already had year in, year out…you flipped the script? Deets here!