Sorry — Not Sorry

When Apologizing is the WRONG Thing to Do

These are impolite times. The level of venom spewed into the world on any given day has reached epic proportions.

So, it’s probably not the best time to admit that I’m kind of over apologies.

Don’t get me wrong; I have no intention of adding to the world’s angst and anger. It’s just that now, after celebrating my fifty-eighth birthday (God, that stings), I finally realized that I’ve spent a good portion of my life apologizing for me, whether I really was sorry or not. In the process, I’ve often diluted myself, weakening my own ideas about who I am. Well, no more.

So, I’m not sorry for much, even if that sounds a little snarky. (After fifty-eight years, I think I’m entitled.) Here are a few specifics:

Shortly after clocking in at the half-century mark (I think I just threw up a little….), I realize that there are some people and things which have been part of my life for a very long time and I just don’t like them. The people or the things. I won’t offer details, but suffice it to say that there’s not too much I can do about any of it at this point aside from limiting contact and conducting any conversations with or about said people or things between only myself and my bathroom mirror.

There was a time when I thought the “right” thing to do was obsess over everything and beat myself up trying to please everyone while striving to make all right with the world. And then I realized that all I was doing was giving myself a giant migraine that’s lasted for the better part of my adult life.

So, I kind of don’t care anymore. I don’t care what people think about me and I’m pretty sure most people don’t care what I think about them. It’s either a stalemate or a form of détente, but it’s brought me a measure of peace. Either way, I don’t care. As for the fact that I don’t care? Sorry — Not Sorry.

To continue, I don’t always “fit in” with what’s expected as far as my neighbors and social acquaintances go. Specifically, my political and religious views, were they painted on a sign planted on my lawn, would likely have the locals surrounding my house with pitchforks and torches. (And if you must know, I think we as Americans deserve way better than what’s going on right now.)

I generally refrain from sharing my opinions, primarily because I try to avoid inciting riots in social situations. Plus, on those rare occasions when I’ve dared speak up, I end up feeling like a punching bag in a training gym. It’s not fun.

I’ll likely continue to stay silent at parties and dinners; watching people foam at the mouth during a meal is rather unappetizing. But know this: I do have an opinion and it’s quite possible that it doesn’t jive with yours. If you need complete conformity to allow me into your circle of trust, well, I guess I’ll be dining alone. Sorry — Not Sorry.

And finally, it’s time to admit it: I’ve turned into a bit of a slacker. Time was when a messy bathroom, dishes in the sink and the clothes mountain in the laundry room would send me over the edge. I’d tear through the house, spraying bleach on anything standing still, kids included, all the while barking at my family and wreaking havoc along the way.

A perfect house meant a perfect me. And it wasn’t only about cleaning. If circumstances dictated that I couldn’t make dinner or someone had to fend for themselves, I manufactured copious amounts of guilt. God forbid someone had to eat a bowl of cereal for dinner; I was the worst mother in the world.

Well, the occasional bowl of cereal never killed anyone. Plus, you can follow it with a wine chaser, which I’ve done. Nor have a messy bathroom or dishes in the sink caused World War III. So, I’ve given up my quest for perfection and in the process, lowered my blood pressure.

I’ll admit my grand kids have more than a little to do with that. Finger painting is so much more fun when you don’t worry about getting paint on the table. Consequently, should you come to my house, prepare yourself for a little dirt, wayward finger paint, and the possibility of being offered Cheerios. Sorry — Not Sorry.

I’ve finally decided to accept myself for who I am, warts and all. I’m not perfect, but I’ve seen worse. (I won’t name names — we all have our own lists.) I am who I am, take it or leave it.

And if you don’t like it, well, I’m sorry. But I’m really not.

Originally published at www.womensvoicesmagazine.com on June 20, 2013.

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