A letter I read for Women Of Letters June 2011.
I’m sorry, but I won’t be writing an apology letter to Bindi, Rove or the Anzacs.
Or to people who spend long hours working jobs they hate to send their children to private schools to feel good about themselves.
I won’t be writing a letter of apology to women who change their surnames when they marry, or to people who drive four-wheel drives, or to fans of McLeod’s Daughters, The Footy Show or Two and a Half Men, or to people who listen to 3AW, to readers of the Herald Sun or people who shop at Chadstone.
And I won’t be writing a letter to The Age for supposedly offending people with bad-taste remarks, inappropriate language and being me.
And I’m not sorry that I won’t be apologising to people who prop up sexism, homophobia, xenophobia or division by supporting religion, because I proudly say God is bullshit. Your faith is simply religion-approved narcissism, exceptionalism and discrimination. Sorry, yes, even you.
I won’t be saying those things because I am not sorry. I have nothing to be sorry about. And, worse still, I’m not sorry I have nothing to apologise about.
I’m not sorry because I never, for a moment, thought about someone having sex with an eleven-year-old when I said, ‘I do hope Bindi gets laid.’ But others did.
And I’m not sorry I won’t be apologising to people who twist things in their heads to offend themselves and then look to me to apologise so they can feel better by blaming me for something they created.
And I’m not sorry I don’t feel compelled to explain to the tiny and noisy minority of fuckwits that I was simply doing what I do to draw attention to the fact every single female on the Logies red carpet was dressed to be sexually objectified. ‘Who are you dressed by?’ ‘Oh, look, she’s got her Logies body back.’
I never see the headline ‘How [insert name of high-profile man] got his Logies body back.’
I tweeted ‘I do hope Bindi Irwin gets laid’ because she was the only female not dressed to get laid. And I’m not sorry if you think I missed the mark, that it wasn’t funny or that I’m making excuses. You’re wrong and I don’t care. I’m not sorry and I will not pretend to be sorry.
Nor am I sorry for tweeting, ‘Rove and Tasma look so cute, I hope she doesn’t die too,’ because that’s what I meant. I’m sorry if you have some fucked-up notion of ‘respecting the dead’. Rove and Tasma are both beautiful and I hope neither of them die. I think about death every day. Not my own but that of the people I love. Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic. And I’m sorry but I didn’t write that – it’s a line from W.H. Auden. But I did write this: ‘You can only truly live with the thought of death at your side constantly tapping you on the shoulder.’
And, Anzacs, you’re all dead. I don’t have to apologise to you. But you wouldn’t have wanted me to. You would have been cheering me on as I said:
‘Anzac Day celebrations refuse to recognise the chest-thumping, dick-swinging and back-stabbing politicians who create the death, suffering, torture and poverty of war.’
Cheered me on as I said:
‘Politicians should only be allowed to wage wars in which they’re happy to stand in the frontline with their own children.’
Cheered me on as I said:
‘Anyone who lived through war who is not a fucktard says no parades, no medals. Everyone who suffered and struggled should be remembered. Stop war happening again.’
Cheered me on as I said:
‘Anzac Day. Fuck respect. Respect is just code for “support our selective narrative used to prop up our power that we use to oppress”.’
Cheered me on as I said:
‘Remember war. The whole truth. Not the selective version. All the heroes. All the victims. Not just Anzac Day. Let’s move on and learn.’
When I sent those tweets, Anzacs would have held up their beers and said, ‘Good on you, love. Where were you when they were lying to us, manipulating us and making us go to war? I was scared and I came home broken.’
And to you tragic losers who get your identity from the fact some old dead relative you never met shot other men and you’ve twisted it into something that makes you feel good about yourself, I am not sorry I said:
‘I abhor people whose self-esteem is fuelled by nationalism-approved misogyny, homophobia, racism or cruelty administered by relatives who killed people because they knew no better.’
And I’m not sorry I said:
‘Live your own life. Make your own mark. Stop feeling big because your dead relative killed people because they knew no better.’
I am not sorry. But I am sorry I didn’t say it louder and more often.
And I’m not sorry about what happened at The Age. That they tried to gag the girl from the wrong side of the tracks for saying ‘the emperor is not wearing any clothes’ because no one was listening to them any more and they were overwhelmed by relevance deprivation, envy and misogyny. And still are.
And I’m not sorry to say that I miss my readers, I miss the column, and I’m not sorry those who felt validated by my weekly rants still miss the weekly rants. Those readers still grab me in the street and say, ‘I miss you.’ And I say, ‘I miss you too.’ I’m not sorry those readers may now feel marginalised because a voice they identified with is no longer being broadcast. The Age proved everything I have ever said about power, decisions, control, fear and the gatekeepers of information better than any column I could have written. And I thank them for their transparency.
And I am not sorry to say that I was not at all surprised when it happened.
I’m not sorry that when I sat down to write this letter for you all today, I thought long and hard and realised I have nothing I’m sorry about.
I’m not sorry that my house is grubby, covered in dog hair and full of people and visitors eating, swearing, laughing, messing and playing music. Badly.
I’m not sorry that I have never been even close to my ideal weight according to the BMI, but I feel unapologetically sexy, healthy, beautiful and forty-two.
Loving your body exactly as it is, is an act of civil disobedience. I’m sorry I didn’t write that. Joanna Macy did.
I’m not sorry I had an abortion. I’m not sorry I had an affair. And I am not sorry I like Brazilians so much I have one permanently.
I’m not sorry that I am no longer in a relationship with the father of my children but that I still care for him and we communicate every day. I’m proud of how we have gotten to the best possible place with the least amount of damage.
I am not sorry that all of us are better off and happier for it.
I’m not sorry the kids are better than fine. I’m not sorry that it clashes with your world order and assumptions that all family split-ups cause damage and that parents should stay together regardless. I’m not sorry that we are happy.
When we split up I saw many couples around us quietly smug and warm with schadenfreude. Then when I fell madly in love only five weeks later those same couples seemed resentful, angry and bitter.
I’m not sorry that I have sex almost every day. Beautiful sex with a man I adore and who adores me, who I have waited and wept for my whole life. A prince. Who calls me Princess Sparkle. And Baby Girl. You heard me. And I am not sorry that I love it.
I am not sorry I don’t care what my mum, my dad or my nanna thinks. Or what you think. I’ve never had a husband, but if I did I wouldn’t be sorry for not caring what he thinks. I only care what I think about what I do.
I’m not sorry that I feel good enough. That I look at those women’s magazines and laugh, thinking how sad those in them and those who read them are.
I’m not sorry that I feel sad for you if you feel pressure to spend money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like
I’m not sorry I am happy. And I’m not sorry you’re not happy, but I get no joy out of you being unhappy. It does not make me feel better about myself.
I’m not sorry I want us all to be happy.
I’m not sorry I am not angry and bitter. I’m not sorry I am happy and friendly and generous and, yes, also opinionated and passionate. I’m not sorry that I do not live up to some convenient stereotype of women with opinions and passions and creative lives being somehow unhappy and frustrated. I am not. I have a big, wild, messy, amazing life. I expect nothing less.
I am not sorry if it comforts you to think that what I say or do, I do to provoke or offend you personally. I don’t. It’s actually what I think. I’m not sorry you disagree or feel offended.
I only do truth and passion. You can’t fake passion. And I know nothing but truth.
I’m not sorry I don’t care what you think. You can be wrong. I’m not sorry I just don’t care. It’s not my job to convince you of anything. I don’t need you to agree with me to know I am right.
And I am not sorry that I say exactly what I think and that I’m happy for you to do the same. And even though I don’t think the same, I have no intention of silencing you.
I’m not sorry I am telling the truth and not thinking, ‘This is self-indulgent’. That I’m not thinking I should be apologising to my parents, my children, my world or myself.
And I am not sorry I have escaped from a world of blame and mea culpa.
I’m not sorry I don’t expect myself or anyone else to be perfect. I’m not sorry I never taught my children to say ‘I beg your pardon’ or ‘Pardon me’, but instead to say ‘Can you please move?’, ‘I didn’t hear you’ and ‘I just farted.’
Sorry, but I’m not sorry about anything. I feel no need to apologise or to be apologised to. If I cut you off in traffic accidently, I will give you a wave indicating that I realise that I have inconvenienced you. But I am not sorry. I am human.
I’m not sorry I don’t feel the need to be perfect, and nor do I expect you to be perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good. I will not prop up a system that enables blaming and shaming and the default setting of perfect and the belief that anything other than perfection is a transgression needing forgiveness. There are no mistakes, only detours, and it’s the detours that define us.
And I’m sorry but you don’t need to apologise to me either. Ever. If you have done something to hurt or inconvenience me, don’t apologise. Find out if everyone is okay, see if you can fix things or make things better, and change your behaviour so it doesn’t happen again. Your apology means nothing to me.
I’m sorry but I’m just not sorry. Apologising is a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Doing the right things in the future is the best apology for doing the bad things in the past.
I’m sorry I’m not being funny, because I’m sure that’s what some of you wanted. I’m sorry I just do what I like and refuse to lie down in the chalk outline drawn for me.
Never explain. Never apologise.
I hope you don’t die, and I hope you get laid.