I wrote a long, ramble-y rough draft of post for HelloGiggles about how I feel bad for the amount of apologizing I do. Then I gave it to my husband to read. He brought it up while we were out on a drive one Sunday, like the old married couple that we are.
“Wait, so what is this about?” he asked.
“How much I hate that I say ‘sorry’ all the time.” Obviously.
“Oh, I didn’t get that,” he replied. “It seems more like you’re pissed off about how you’re perceived and are sticking up for yourself.”
“Maybe I am,” I said.
“Do you really feel bad about saying sorry all the time, or do you actually mean it when you apologize?”
“Hm,” I said. “Maybe both?”
“It sounds like you need to think more about it before you write the piece.”
“Screw you for always being right, husband!” I shouted. Not really. I looked out the window as Burbank rolled by and sang along to the Katy Perry song I had forced him to listen to.
The truth is, I don’t know why I say “sorry” all the time. I just know that I do it. A lot. In meetings at work before I express my opinion. When crowding other people at the milk station at Starbucks. While awkwardly standing on one leg as I put on my shoes and bump butts with the people around me after yoga class. E-mailing a friend too many times about a small thing that has me upset. Possessing a deep love for Twilight. Explaining to people why I sometimes buy the kind of diapers that are really bad for the environment. (Because they work better, guys! It’s the truth. Sorry. Ugh, see what just happened?)
And I do feel sorry for doing those things, but I am even more sorry for being a person who feels the need to apologize constantly, especially in situations when no apology is needed. See how it’s a vicious, deadly cycle?
Like with the diapers thing: Is it because I truly feel bad about destroying this beautiful planet that so graciously houses us, or because I felt guilty about not being some sentient earth goddess of a mom, or because I care what people will think of me and am trying to anticipate and deflect their negative reaction?
Eh, it’s all of the above.
And while I am sure there are a host of therapy-appropriate reasons why I feel the need to apologize profusely — mom issues, I desperately want people to like me, I had boobs as a 9-year-old and was taller than everyone else and that made me slouch and gave me self-esteem issues — I do know this: the constant apologizing takes away from the actual power of the word “sorry” at times when you truly mean it.
So let me try this: I am not sorry for having an opinion. I am not sorry I take extra long to slowly pour soy milk into my Americano. I am not sorry our butts touched as I shoved my sweaty feet into my Toms after yoga. I am not sorry I emailed you six times about the same thing. I am not — and never will be — sorry for unabashedly loving Twilight. The books AND the movies. And I’m definitely not sorry about buying diapers that hold my daughter’s pee overnight. Because if you woke up to a baby drenched in her own urine you’d buy them too — even if they might be destroying the planet.
There you have it! No more apologies! Except to my husband – maybe I do play Katy Perry in the car too much.
[Photo: Andrew Macpherson]