My entire existence has been an apology.

Since I can remember, I have been constantly apologizing for things beyond my control, I have always felt sorry to be myself.

I was born into a society that welcomed baby boys with open arms but would look into the crib of a baby girl, turn to her mother and say "next time".

I understood this situation very clearly and started finding ways to fill the gap between what I deserved and what I got.

I watched many movies and read a lot of books and found that the best way I could earn respect and find worth was to be obedient and good.

The first form of apology I learned was subservience.

I remember being a seven-year-old girl getting scolded being unable to risk deviance to prove she was right.

I remember never wanting to be loud, never wanting to play on the playground with my mates, never wanting to make eye contact, never wanting to get in trouble-- never wanting to do anything that could remotely lead to be being a disgrace (because being one of three girls in a family of three children is enough of a disgrace).

I remember being an eight-year-old girl aspiring for perfection (which in my head was defined as marrying a rich and respected man from my tribe, cooking and cleaning for him like a good wife should) because that's the best way I could apologize for being the wrong sex.

I remember being a nine-year-old girl in full cooperation with parents who wanted to do all they could to shield their daughter from a world that hates girls, I stayed at home at all times, never spoke too loudly and never had strong opinions.

I remember being a ten-year-old full of ambition and wit ready to tame it all in order to be a woman that society would value.

I remember being eleven, gaining definition and forming questions;

Who would I be if I wasn't bent and broken into conformity?

What if little girls lived their lives without being scared or sorry?

Could I truly be happy without being society's perfect woman?

I'm a few years older now and I have some questions and a few answers but what I know for sure is that I never needed to apologize and I was never the problem, society was.

Words by Ebibode Jojo