"I'm sorry." How many times have I uttered this phrase?
I don't think I could even count how many times those words have left my mouth (and no, it's not because I struggle with math). It's because those two words, that one phrase, have probably been the most spoken words in my entire existence.
Whenever I bump into someone, when I drop something on someone, when I interrupt them while talking. These moments I apologize and it is justified.
But then there are moments when I am waiting in line and someone behind me is annoyed by the wait, "I'm sorry."
There are times when I am made to feel bad about my constantly busy schedule, "I'm sorry."
There are instances when I do well on a test and a classmate is angered by my mark, "I'm sorry."
Sometimes when I am walking on the street and someone completely bumps into me, "I'm sorry." Without even expecting them to say the same.
There are countless moments I can recall when my first reaction was to apologize, even when I did not have to. The words tumbled from my mouth faster than the carbon dioxide my lungs were working to exhale.
There was a story circulating the internet for some time that a woman was in the way of an elderly lady at a coffee shop. She apologized and moved over. The elderly lady explained to the woman that she needed to stop apologizing for her existence.
The woman, upon reflection, realized that the words "I'm sorry" was her most expressed phrase. She apologized when she upset or disappointed someone with her decisions, she moved out of the way of others and apologized for blocking a path that was just as rightly hers, when she spoke too loudly or expressed her opinion, the list went on and on.
When I was younger, I had a volleyball coach who would yell at me every time I apologized on the court. I mean, I was a competitive athlete and I would legitimately apologize if I was corrected on my form or technique, if I served the ball too hard, etc. He used to make me run. I thought that I was being polite.
What I didn't realize, though, was that I literally have spent the majority of my life apologizing for my own existence. I constantly feel a need to express my sorrow for taking up space.
I have felt like my wants and desires are not normal to have and that I, myself, must apologize for who I am as a human being- maybe because I don't fit into society's expectations, maybe because some of the people I meet say I should be apologetic for my thoughts and actions, I'm not really sure which one wins out in the end.
I do, however, know that I am tired of being sorry. I am sick of the phrase slipping out of my mouth almost reflexively, involuntarily. I am tired of being sorry for things I should not be sorry for. And I am trying to stop.
Now I know what you're thinking. Apologies are necessary to be considered an upstanding citizen of society, a good friend and sibling and daughter, a decent significant other, and so on.
I do not plan on removing "I'm sorry" from my vocabulary. Rather, I intend to apologize for things that I should be sorry for- running into people accidentally, having to cancel plans, hurting someone's feelings, etc.
I do not, however, plan to apologize for who I am.
I am loud and opinionated and constantly day dreaming. I am driven and determined, with my sights set on a life of traveling and a career I am passionate about. I snapchat way too much and bite my nails. I play my music way louder than is social acceptable. I'm obsessed with dogs and have to pet every single one I see on the street.
I am here and I am breathing and I am alive and I am taking up space. And I am not sorry for that. And I don't plan on being sorry for it ever again.