Moderator’s note: I am on vacation in America for the summer. I’ll be in Washington until July 7, and then I’ll be in Virginia! While this article is not specifically about jiu jitsu, after I read it I immediately saw the implications for women in jiu jitsu. How many new women have apologized for having better partners, “wasting” their training partners’ time, or not understanding? I think this is a fantastic challenge; I hope that everyone tries it and reports back!

[Jiu Jiu: Huffington Post wrote a response article to the following Pantene ad. It’s called “Pantene ‘Not Sorry’ Video Tells Women To Stop Apologizing So Much.” Yes, it’s a message by advertisers, but it still has a powerful message, and one I think many women (myself included!) need to hear. Check it out, then read Pamila’s article!]

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzL-vdQ3ObA]

I remember realizing that I danced in a way that would take up the smallest space possible.  I didn’t want to encroach on the space of others.  Even when there was plenty of room.  I didn’t want to be a spectacle.  I didn’t want to encroach on people’s peace of mind.

Fuck that.

And I started dancing big, holding my arms out, twirling about, moving step step step and over step step step.  I spread my legs wide.  I punched the air up and down.  When the dance floor got crowded, I held my elbows out to create my own little bubble of keep-your-fecking-arms-off-my-breasts.

We are allowed to take up space.  We are allowed to disagree.  We are allowed to ask our partners for help.  We are allowed to be tired and irritable at times.  We are allowed to be strong.  We are allowed to be different.  We are allowed to enjoy life.  We are allowed to breathe the air.  We are allowed to speak.  We are allowed to interrupt.  We are allowed to ask for clarity. We are allowed to be comfortable. We are allowed to have opinions. We are allowed to express joy.  We are allowed to be.

Because we are.

*******

I challenge you.  One full day.  Don’t use the word “Sorry” for a full 24 hours.  Then come back here and tell us how it was. Then, a week.  And give us an update.  What do you say ladies?

pamilajo is the author of Casa de Whimsy, a house of whimsical art from a non-artist artist.

Jiu Jiu’s note: Do you default to “Sorry”? Have you noticed that the women in jiu jitsu class say “Sorry” more than the men? If a male training partner knees you in the head accidentally, how do they respond? Do they simply ask if you’re okay or do they say they’re sorry? What about the women? I challenge you, not only to try this challenge, but to observe your training partners this week. Who is in with me?