“Do I look ugly” asks a lovely-to-behold adolescent daughter as she leaves for school each day.
“Did I make a fool of myself” asks a gifted dancer after each of her stunning performances.
A question, waiting for a response…a reassurance that the flawed part of us doesn’t show through our competent facade.
Sometimes the question is expressed in the form of an apology—the ever present litany of “I’m sorry” that seasons women’s writing and conversations. Women are much more experienced at using the words “I’m sorry” than men are. These words are not a mere perfunctory bow to politeness when uttered by most women. They contain a self-depreciating quality as if we are apologizing for our very existence—as if the answer to “what’s wrong with me” is embedded within our femaleness.
The search for an answer to the question “What’s wrong with me” consumes our valuable time, depletes our precious life energy, exhausts our limited resources, and distracts from taking responsibility for our lives.”
~Patricia Lynn Reilly, Be Full of Yourself
Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes