1. Don’t Apologize for Inconsequential Reasons.
I say I’m sorry for stupid shit a lot. A ridiculous amount in fact. One day I set a goal for myself to pay attention to the amount of times I apologize for everyday acts and it was, well, I had to stop by 10 a.m. This is exhausting and quite frankly, at my age, a little ridiculous. Especially because I should save all those forgiveness credits for when I really need them. Like when I inadvertently insult your boyfriend, accidentally door a cyclist, or yell at a small child.
2. Being Yourself.
Sadly, what I think I’m really doing with all these apologies is asking you to forgive my needs, my desires, opinions and thoughts, even, my physical presence. And this is, ironically, unforgivable. No person is worth more or less than any other. I need to remind myself of this for myself. Loving yourself should mean never having to say you’re sorry.
3. Being Honest.
Honesty is important. Listening to the honesty is even more so. Don’t feel bad for telling someone the truth. You said it because you care, because you want the person or the situation or the sandwich you’re eating to be better in the future. You didn’t do it to make anyone cry or incite a tantrum of mean words. If they respond by calling you a bitch, asshole, or c*nt maybe they weren’t ready to hear your truth or maybe your delivery wasn’t the best. Forgive yourself and work on it for the next time.
4. Your Clothes.
I like to dress like a kindergartner. Seriously that is how my best friend describes my style. I prefer to say I “power-clash,” combining colors, patterns, and stripes, until I feel like a walking Lichtenstein. Clothes are an expression of how you feel on the inside. I guess most of the time I’m trying to recapture being five-years-old, when I was young and free and fearless. Don’t let others make you feel bad for choosing a certain sartorial path. So wear that seersucker suit, that studded belt, those Doc Martens from 1996. I think you look fabulous.
5. What You Look Like.
I think women are taught to do this at a young age, seek forgiveness for their physical flaws. I have been doing it since I was eight. Apologizing for not being the living, breathing embodiment of perfection. I was freckled skin, gap-toothed, chubby everywhere and never good enough. Yeah sure, glossy magazines and insensitive television commentators did it to me, but so did classmates and loved ones and myself. It’s not okay that it happened, but it is also not okay to keep letting it happen. I can’t change my face or my body (within reason) and I don’t want to want to anymore. It’s fucking exhausting and cliché. These are my curves and they fill out a dress quite nicely, thank you.
6. Being Career-Driven.
Although I don’t live to work, I do understand the inclination. I love my job and I talk about it a lot outside of work. I have many friends with the same profession and sometimes we get together and tell stories from “the job.” There are a lot of extra hours and special trips dedicated to job-related tasks. And I don’t mind, but someone I’m with might. If they don’t get it, then they don’t get you, full stop.
7. The Mistakes of the Past.
No. Don’t even start the thought, let alone the sentence. Don’t recreate the story and tell it to your friends by way of explanation. It happened, you did it or participated and that’s okay. The sooner you own it, the sooner you can forgive yourself and move on from whatever or whoever it is. But you certainly don’t need to get on the soapbox of misery tour and relive that shit with no other purpose to than to berate yourself. That’s unproductive.
Breaking the habit is hard. It begins with not saying I’m sorry for I’m sorry. That’s meta-confusing.
9. For Wanting to Find Love.
Even when it makes you into the silliest and most vapid version of yourself, never say you’re sorry for trying to find it. Love, bone-vibrating love is elusive and tricky to navigate. You are going to need to save your apologies for all the mistakes you’re going to make in the relationship, so stop using them to beg your friends’ forgiveness for talking about finding “him” all the time! They were single once too, even if it does feel like that was ages ago.
10. How You Spend Your Money.
I am single and live alone. That means the majority of my money goes to rent and bills related to my apartment. People tell me to get a roommate. People tell me to cut out my cable or any other small expenditures that brighten up my life. I work two jobs at any given time. I will work like a dog to attempt to afford the lifestyle to which I aspire to become accustomed. Don’t expect me to beg forgiveness because I can still be financially irresponsible at 33.
11. The Shit You Say on the Internet.
Unless it’s racist or sexist or homophobic or generally hateful (which, come on really, 2013) you shouldn’t apologize for the dumb things you are putting out there for the world to see. Because everyone else is putting their shit out there too and most of the time, I’m willing to bet, their shit is only half as funny or perverse or cute as yours. We are all now members of this highly connected universe where everyone is interacting with everyone during every moment of everyday for on and on and ever.
Because of this, we sometimes forget that not everyone needs to know about the break-ups or the bad day, but we post about it anyway. Because it is your community now, your extended group of friends. If they want to tune it out they can, but you can keep on singing the song of yourself.