"Sorry I look like this. The kids have been a little difficult lately and I haven't had time to shower."
This is something I hear myself saying dozens of times a day.
To the cashier at the grocery store. The barista at Starbucks. The other people in my shared workspace. My friends on video chat.
Why am I always saying this? It's not like I've ever seen someone in yoga pants and a messy bun and thought to myself, "she certainly owes me an apology for looking like that." So why do I think I need to apologize to everyone else for how I look?
I've noticed my friends and co-workers do it, too. My employees and I use a video messaging system called Marco Polo to communicate about work since many of us work remotely. The app allows you to record a video message for the recipient, which they can watch back and reply at any time. It's how we get the majority of our work done. But I noticed recently that pretty much every time one of us leaves a message, it begins with, "Sorry I look like this," usually followed with a lengthy explanation of why we look like this.
It makes me sad that we feel the need to do that. And WHY? It's no one else's business why I'm a walking cloud of Febreze and dry shampoo today.
I'm a mess because I was giving extra snuggles. Because I was kissing a boo boo. Reading a book. Sharing a cookie. Well, these are my kids we're talking about so let's be real. I was probably putting one of them in time out.
And you know what? Maybe I'm a mess because I finally got some alone time and I decided I'd rather do literally annnnnnnnnything else but wash and dry my hair. Fight me.
The weirdest part is that I kind of like the way I look when I'm messy. It's not like I actually hate being without make up or perfectly blown out hair. I am ONLY apologizing because of what I think someone else thinks about my appearance. Well, if there is anything I've learned in my more-than-30-but-less-than-40 years on this earth (but need constantly reminded of) it's that everyone else is far too fixated on their own insecurities to notice my second-day floor-jeans.
I don't owe anyone an apology or an explanation for the way I look today, so I'm going to stop doing it. I urge you to do the same. It's disrespectful to ourselves. It's also disrespectful to our children, who pay very close attention to the way we talk about ourselves. I don't want my son or my daughter to grow up with the same kind of embarrassed, apologetic outlook on their appearance as I sometimes do. I want them to be confident, empowered, and strong.
That starts with me and the way I talk about myself. And it starts today.