Monday, February 22, 2016

Unapologetic, 4/100

"Sorry" might be one if my most-used words. I say it, of course, if I've hurt your feelings or your body. I say it if I bump into you, or if you bump into me, or if I think I was in the way. I say it if you're having a bad day, whether or not I had anything to do with it. I say it if I'm running late, if I need to change plans or if I suspect I may have inconvenienced you. I say it after expressing a strong opinion or anything controversial or emotional. I say it if I change the radio station just in case you were listening to that song. I say sorry to the cashier if I forgot to use the chip slot instead of swiping. I say if I've been saying it too much.

I'm not meek or submissive. I'm actually a pretty confident person and assertive when I need to be, but "sorry" flies out of my mouth before I have a chance to think about whether I've done anything to apologize for. I guess this could suggest the patriarchical conditioning as a woman to apologize for taking up space and existing, but that doesn't resonate with me. I have no problem internalizing and owning my right to exist and my value.

But, I don't want anyone to be able to hold anything over my head, and I have historically sacrificed my needs and wants for the benefit of those I care about. In the give and take account of human interaction, I always try to stay in the black, never in the red. It's safer there. I don't tally favors and will give my time and effort freely to the people I allow in my life, but if someone did, they'd never be able to say I owed them. (But they wouldn't last long anyway, favor tallyers have no place in my life). I hate being a burden and rarely ask for help. I've worked hard to give myself whatever I wanted because the idea of someone throwing it in my face that I wouldn't have x, y or z without them makes my skin crawl.

I do try to keep my life pruned of users and can usually spot them easily, but these tendencies can still create some imbalance with decent, well meaning people. If you take the reigns over and over its easy for people to think you want the reigns. Not just that the reigns must necessarily be taken by someone and you didn't feel like waiting around for them to be taken any longer. There's a difference. And unless you specifically spell it out, how's anyone to know you don't just love the reigns and would prefer if everyone else not touch them.

I have learned that I can be independent without sacrificing myself. I can meet in the middle and then stop, rather than going further to bridge the gap. I've learned that not only can I do this but that I must do this for the sake of self preservation and for there to be any hope of sustainability in my personal relationships. My impulse is to say sorry for drawing the line, sorry for my unwillingness to spread myself thin and bridge the gap, but I know it wouldn't do anyone any favors. There's nothing unreasonable about only giving as much as you have to spare. In the interest of maintaining long lasting relationships, it's the only way.

Sorry, not sorry.

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