One of the thing of being English is that you say sorry a lot. You say sorry for almost everything — it is a part of the culture. You apologise when you make the lady in the till wait for two seconds longer while you are rummaging your bag to find that elusive pound coin. You apologise when someone thought you are queuing while you’re actually just standing there minding your own thing. I think it is a part of making thing less awkward. But what do I know. I am not English.
But my husband is English — and he does apologise a lot, just to make sure people would recognise his English-ness — as if that fair skin, blonde hair, and British accent is not enough. And yes he’s born and bred British, and he’s proud of it. I mean, like normal people feeling proud of their nationalities.
But today, he looked mournful, and told me after a long sad sigh:
“Darling I am sorry. I am sorry for being English.”
My heart broke.
I mean it is true that yesterday, for the first time I don’t want to support England team on Euro2016. For the first time I didn’t cheer for them nor Wales the day before. I put away my union jack mug which I normally use for my daily caffeine. And, I am selling my “St George cross” steel boned waist reducing corset.
I mean… who am I kidding? I might get an elocution course to adopt a perfect sound of BBC English accent, or made a long and elaborate speech about how the weather has been while drinking a nice cup of tea — but with this straight black hair, yellow complexion, and slightly slanted eyes I would never be English, would I? Why even bother to try? These people wouldn’t ever see me as one of them, would they?
But when my husband said those two sentences. I feel… ambivalent.
Not once I could put my husband in the same category with these racist idiots who took a childish decision to storm out from EU just because they’re angry. Not once I could see my husband as the same creature who attacks and make hateful remarks to people from different nationalities, ethnicities, nor religions. I could never be able to see her in the same picture with those who use the same word “PROUD”, going on the street telling people to go back to their own country.
But I can understand why he feel bad for being English — as this particular post-Brexit time is just the worst time to be a foreigner in this proud country.
It is the same when I feel slightly offended when these racist bastards make hateful comments to immigrants, or to ethnic minorities. It is the same when I feel incredibly upset when homophobic bastards make ignorant comments about LGBT in Indonesia. It is the sense of belonging that is tainted with negative emotion. Mine with upset and anger. His with shame and guilt.
And I am so sad that he feels that way.
He has done everything that is right. And I know if things go south, he will stand by me. But this is sadly something even he — My Mr.Fix-It– cannot fix.
And it is terrible terrible feeling.
This EU result is not only affecting the country as a whole, but also us as an individual. It might hit some people faster than the other — some might be in denial, or still hoping that things are going to settle down and get better.
I really hope all the scary things would never happen. I really wish for the best for everybody that once the dust has settled, it is not going to be ruins that we see. But for now I would stop talking about EU referendum and the shit that it has brought to us. I would go to my dearest husband, give him a little hug, and console him — while consoling myself.