One of things that drives me nuts about myself is the amount I apologise. For taking up people’s time, for asking questions when I don’t understand something. When I take up too much space, particularly in smaller spaces, like intimate restaurants where the tables and chairs are pushed close together. I carry shame with me wherever I go and I’m working on that.
Rationally, I know I have nothing to be sorry for. I’m not really the obnoxious person I think I am but even if I was loud and sloppy and all over the place, I still wouldn’t have anything to constantly apologise for. I know where this came from and although it might not be where it started, this is where the seed took hold and grew into a mighty oak of self-doubt.
Dredging up the past is not something I tend to enjoy but part of letting go of learned behaviours is understanding where they come from (I guess, I’m no expert). I know I became this person partly because of a no-good relationship in which I walked on egg shells. I was scared, though would never have admitted it then. Not physically scared but terrified of what would be said, of simmering rage and definitely of being alone. I was scared I would never escape the pain but I didn’t want to be alone. Somewhere along the line I started to believe the story I was being told, that I would never find anyone else who would put up with my shit.
That sort of constant narration makes a person smaller. It turns them inward. I was a whisper by the end of our time together, though thankfully I had just enough breath left to tell him I’d had enough. Once I found myself alone, I realised there were worse ways to live. And I rebuilt, stronger than ever.
My life is deliriously happy by comparison but I still have the scars, over a decade later. These scars are the belief that I’m not good enough – not smart enough, attractive enough, strong enough. They’re evident in the amount of times I say I’m sorry for microscopic (and mostly imagined) transgressions. I recently sent a 40 word text that had three apologies in it, and I’d done nothing wrong. My friend pointed it out and again, all I felt was shame.
I’m not sorry anymore. I no longer permit this person to have power over me. I am learning every day that I am enough. So with that in mind I won’t now add the disclaimer that I know I haven’t had it as hard as many, many other people. That I regret my moaning, the woe is me pity party for one up in here.
I won’t backtrack and say any of that because I’m not sorry about sharing my story, I’m just choosing now to no longer let it define me. I think for such a long time I did – but NO MORE.