In the month of February alone, I apologized for the following:
- Eating dinner because I didn’t know someone might ask me to dinner
- Getting my nails done because I didn’t know someone might ask me to get my nails done
- Someone being attracted to me
- Missing a phone call
- A Starbucks barista getting my order wrong
- Someone walking on my foot
- Not giving a menu to a waiter immediately after ordering my meal
- Expressing my feelings
- Asking a bartender for another drink (I mean, not like that’s his job or anything)
- Taking a Lyft from Hollywood to the West Side (again, not like that’s his job or anything)
- Texting someone when they may possibly be busy
- Going to my therapist with the same problems as usual
- Being in the way of moving guys when I wasn’t in the way of moving guys
- Being in the way of a runner when all they were doing was going around me because I am slower
- Not being comfortable enough for my cat
- Being TOO comfortable for my cat and having to get up
- Slamming a door… when nobody was even around
- Not wanting to go on a date with someone
- Being 3 minutes early for an interview
- The temperature outside
There have been plenty of studies on why women are so apologetic. Usually it has something to do with wanting to be polite, avoiding confrontation and being passive aggressive. I understand and can agree with those reasons. I do prefer to lead with politeness and avoid confrontation in most situations. But, I honestly don’t think I apologize as a way to be passive aggressive instead of declarative. (I.e. “I’m sorry, but do you mind turning the music down?” instead of simply saying, “Could you turn the music down?”) I apologize because I am either guilty, ashamed or generally sorry for being alive!
This is not something I enjoy about myself. Nor is it something other people enjoy about me, and for that I am sorry. Oops, there I go again.
The other day, for instance, I was talking to a guy I had met the previous night. After a seemingly normal day of texting and small talk, he asked when we were going to have sex. I said that it wasn’t going to happen and that I was both sorry about that and for leading him to think it would.
Obviously I know that I have nothing to be sorry about. I’m allowed to not be attracted to someone, and I’m also allowed to be attracted to someone but still not want to have sex with them AFTER ONE DAY OF TALKING TO THEM. But for whatever reason, protecting this person’s feelings mattered to me. I didn’t see any point in arguing with him, or calling him out for being ridiculous because honestly, I just didn’t really care that much. I figured that I might as well be polite and turn him down apologetically.
I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily. But there are times where it’s really stupid, and kind of fucks me up mentally.
When I apologize to a runner for having to go around me because I’m not as fast as her, then it’s a shameful apology. There’s literally no reason to be apologetic OR ashamed. Hey, a year ago I couldn’t run at all without an ankle going out, a knee buckling or my chest needing to be grasped 10 minutes in. I have made huge strides in my fitness level and I should be proud I’m running at all, not sorry.
When I apologize to someone for eating dinner right before they asked me to grab dinner, or for expressing my feelings, then it’s a guilty apology. I feel guilty for letting someone down. I feel guilty for making someone feel bad. I feel guilty all the time for inconveniencing people or not living up to their expectations.
It’s all such bullshit. And my poor therapist is OVER IT, you guys! (Just kidding. She’s a very nice woman and would never tell me that. Even though I’m sure she does think it.)
I’m tired of saying sorry. I’m tired of feeling as though I’m in the wrong 96% of the time. I’m entitled to feeling however I feel, I’m allowed to make mistakes, I’m allowed to say something incorrectly, I’m allowed to be a slow runner, I’m allowed to make decisions without consulting others, I’m allowed to feel happy about situations I maybe shouldn’t feel happy about… it’s all fucking okay. There are worse things in the world to worry about.
For me, it always comes back to other people’s perceptions running my life. I want to be seen as polite, kind, gracious, put together, etc. But I’m not always that way! I don’t even know anybody who is that way. Because we’re not fucking robots. There are days where I’m rude, angry, annoyed, frustrated, a total bitch and a total mess, and I shouldn’t feel the need to put on a fake smile to make other people get the sense that I’m a good person.
I am a good person… who has an off day every now and then. I’m a fun person who isn’t always down for being fun. I’m a kind person who sometimes says rude things. I’m a smart person who sometimes makes dumb choices. I’m a funny person who sometimes doesn’t like making jokes, or just doesn’t always make good ones, OKAY CO-WORKERS?!?! (I have no co-workers.)
Basically, this is me making an active attempt to stop apologizing for no reason. I know that I’m Irish and guilt and shame runs deep in my veins, but it’s time to cut the shit and give myself a break.
Although I am genuinely sorry about the temperature outside. I wish I could fix it, but I can’t. Sorry.