The Things I’m not Sorry for Anymore

Today is International Women’s Day and I am thankful. Thankful for the women I am surrounded by, for of the women that I look up too, that I am able to call myself a woman.

As I get older, I become more aware of the impact that strong, mindful, and powerfully independent women have had over my ‘becoming’. These influences have washed over me in ways that I am still realizing as I reflect on the people in my life.

In this noticing, I am starting to see all of the ‘sorry’s’. All of the things that were part of growing up as a girl that I was ashamed of or uncomfortable with.  All of the times I have slouched my shoulders, stood in the back, because maybe then I would be a little smaller, a little less bold. A little less stepping on someone’s toes, a little more status quo.

So last year I wrote this: 

I really wanted to whisper that I was sorry.
I swear it was burning against my lips
as I fought to bite it back and swallow it whole.
Why couldn’t I say it this time?
Because I swear I’m trying to change my thinking.
With every neuron in my weary brain I’m trying
to retrain the part of me
that as a woman
was taught that vulnerability is a burden.

So as a result of the woman in my life, what am I no longer apologizing for?
(This should probably read: what am I working towards not apologizing for. Big (baby) steps.)

A multitude of thanks to my closest friends, who are deeply in tune with themselves:

  • I am learning to not be sorry for having deep emotion. I am not sorry that my tears make you uncomfortable or that my past experiences have made me intolerant to ignorance or that I find your joke offensive.
  • I won’t apologize for pursuing my passions, even if they don’t take me on a direct path or an easy route. This journey is mine and I will live it boldly.

Thanks to the women I met at the Women’s March & the feminists around me who are fighting the good fight:

  • They have taught me that I am not sorry for being loud. For stating my opinion. I will unapologetically argue why misogynist views are incorrect. I will not apologize for why I am angry, or frustrated or heartbroken by the way that things still are.
  • On the other hand I will not apologize for celebrating. For over- emphasizing the importance of recognizing the strong women around us. I’m not sorry if you’re tired of hearing it.

To the poets, the fearless writers who bare their souls for the world to see, and for my friends who have led by example:

  • I’m not going to apologize that the statement, “are there any men here who can lift something for me?” makes me angry.
  • Never again will I apologize for not giving my body to someone just because they asked.. or didn’t. It is mine and no one else’s and I owe a lot to the women who have taught me this invaluable lesson.
  • I will be wild. I will be messy. I will be raw.
  • I will grow my body hair if I want to because if it grows there, that is where it belongs. (This is hard. Society please stop making this such a vulnerable thing.)
  • I will not be ashamed of my body. Clothed or naked: it is my home.

To my Mother and Grandmother, for showing me what it means to be a woman:

  • I will not apologize for demanding respect or to be heard.
  • I will not apologize for the biological factors that make me woman. I’m not sorry for the way hormones effect my emotions, or that I’m in pain because I have a period or that one day I will expect the utmost respect for the body that has birthed a child.
  • I will not apologize that I am a leader and that, unfortunately, parts of the world and certain demographics within it do not see a woman occupying that role. I was fortunate enough to be raised by strong women who taught me this is what I could be.

I don’t think I can finish off this blog without mentioning that I can fearlessly type all of these words because of my privilege. Feminism, point blank, is easier (and safer!) for the cis- white- heterosexual female, for the woman who was born into a safe socio-economical space, and for the ones with access to education and the foundation to succeed. (I’m talking food, and water and the ability to not have to work 3 jobs while supporting a family, access to health care, support networks etc.)  There are women around me and in all parts of the world who are doing feminism and living unapologetically far better than I, with 700 systemically embedded obstacles in their way. I am at a loss for words for their courage and stamina. For their strength and perseverance.

Remember:

“If your feminism doesn’t include women of colour, queer women, trans women, fat women, poor women, elderly women, disabled women, homeless women, sex workers, etc. then who is it even for?”

With love for of my beautiful- dazzling – courageous -strong- sisters,

Kolina

Election

I have written and deleted essentially every copy of this blog post. Because, and this doesn’t happen often, I honestly just don’t know what to say about last nights results. So forgive the rambles to follow.

I’m not even quite sure I should be writing one because I’m certain that just about everyone else who is infuriated by last night’s results has put this much more eloquently than I am about too.

I was up until 2:30 to hear the devastating news that a racists, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic asshole is now in control of the united states. This morning when I woke up I laid in bed and cried as a knot in my stomach that still hasn’t gone away formed. A churning, burning , pitting feeling because all I can think about is how terrified and unsafe every minority group in the united states must be feeling right now. Rewatching his acceptance speech this morning I felt sick as though I was watching some sort of version of the purge.

I am so privileged to be in a position where I have never been told that I cannot practice my religion, or that I cannot love who I choose to love etc etc. And last night instead of moving forward we went so many years backwards. But all of this you know. If you are reading this post you already know so I will not continue exhausting you. Because the truth is my head is spinning. I feel uneducated, I feel helpless, my head hurts and my heart feels heavy. Everything I’ve wanted to argue, someone has said it 10x better. Bear with me, I just need to get this off my chest.

I’d like to make it clear that I am so unbelievable angry and disappointed that hate is still winning. If you voted trump last night you chose hate. You chose segregation and discrimination. You chose to support the many wrongs that so many devoted individuals have been fighting to abolish for years and years. It makes me sick that one day I will tell my children that I watched as North America supported such a horrible man and put him in power. If I’m brutally honest the fact that such an influential country chose Donald Trump as their leader makes me reconsider having children at all.

Now this post is about the election. But I’d like to take this small opportunity to remind everyone that all around the world hate wins everyday. I’m so unbelievably disappointed that we can be this misinformed. That around the world we can settle for being this uneducated.  That we will continue with our warm and safe ignorance. I know that I am normally happy go lucky. But today I am scared. I am discouraged. I am uncertain of what humanity is playing at. 

I don’t know why last night happened. I don’t know if the developed world needed a slap right in the face to realize how much work we have left to do. Maybe all hell had to break loose before people FINALLY understand. However, we’re all pretty familiar with the fact that that once captains of the Titanic saw the iceberg it was too little too late. I don’t want to think like that though, it goes against my nature not to wonder if maybe this is all happening for some greater reason that I just don’t understand.  I’m just horrified at the thought of at how many people who would never have voted for trump in the first place will have to suffer before the people that did realize they really really- for lack of a better term- f*cked up.

So with all of this being said I hope you’re absolutely furious. Don’t let anyone tell you this this isn’t your problem if you are not an american citizen.  If you’re of that mindset I’ll politely and firmly demand that you do your research. If you don’t think what this man does in the United States will affect every other country on this planet you are so unbelievable mistaken.  If I can beg for anything from this outcome it will be that we fight harder, and for better . That we realize we all need to love a little more than necessary. That we shed the ignorant misconception that this world is a safe place for everyone just because you feel safe- because that is so clearly and utterly not the case.

Whether you voted for Hilary last night because  you genuinely wanted her as your President or because you could not stand the thought of a pig running your country- as your Canadian neighbour I want to thank you for standing against hate.

This is my rant. I know it doesn’t change anything. However I felt that if I remained silent  it would represent support of last nights decision. And so like I normally do when I’m upset, I wrote.

 

With love for all women, the LGBT+ community, all races, all religions,

all people,

Kolina