“Affliction comes to us not to make us sad, but sober. Not to make us sorry, but wise” – H. G. Wells
For quite a while during my life, “sorry” seemed to be my stop-word, ending almost every sentence I started. I came to realise this because at one point a co-worker pointed it out to me. She said: “You always apologise for everything, why do you do that? I’m not calling you out on a mistake, I am only informing you what jobs need to be done. There’s no reason to say you’re sorry all the time when you haven’t done anything wrong!”
So I guess in my case, Sir Elton John was partly right: I did not find it problematic at all to use the s-word.
He was right about others, though. Apparently sorry seems to be the hardest word for many people in my environment, especially if it concerns me. I suppose “sorry” is too much of a hurdle for most people to take.
It’s no secret I was bullied extremely all throughout high school, by as much as basically the entire school at one point (at least it felt like that). With the people in my class being the worst, I remember bumping into one of them at college one day. She had dyed her hair, so I didn’t recognise her straight away. Plus, as she noticed me, she smiled at me a warm smile and kindly nodded as if to say hello.
You can’t blame me for being confused there! She had never ever been nice to me! Not once. For six years straight, she was the main antagonist in my life. She only acknowledged my existence so she could make my life a living hell, and if she ever produced more than one nice syllable to be used for my good, it’s a lot!
I knew she had gone to a different city than me to carry on her education, and I never imagined seeing her face ever again. Until that very day during my senior year, when I walked to the elevators after class (Academic Writing in English for the Social Sciences, I’ll never forget. I came up with quite a few new English terms to describe my former tormentor, heh). The doors opened and as she came out I walked in. We nearly bumped and she smiled at me. Kindly smiled at me. Like we were old friends.
But before the elevator doors had closed, my brains had worked their memory-magic and my mouth shouted, just a little too loudly so she could hear: “Ohhh, that was that b**** from high school!”
I really hope she heard that. I really hope it made her heart jump a little with misery. How dare she be nice to me all of a sudden? Like nothing happened.
The thing is, she hurt me and never said sorry for that. She just kept on living her life, never once looking back, never once accepting that what she did to me for so many years was not cool. Never once apologising. Instead she forgot, and expected me to do so, too.
I’m okay with people moving on, but I can’t stand injustice. Don’t go all demonic on someone only to pretend nothing’s ever happened afterwards. Don’t hide behind lame excuses to cover up for your mistakes. Don’t erase yourself from someone’s life without telling them why. And don’t go on making someone else’s life a total misery, only because you’re not enjoying your own.
Part of why 2015 has been such a bad year is because I made it so. For myself.
I am still hung up over my aunt’s death and its aftermath. I find myself to be so extremely angry at my sister for cutting us out of her life, it literally makes me nauseous sometimes.
And then there’s the idiot who kept flirting with me only to ignore me for months the second he got a girlfriend. He contacted me and tried to reconnect (but only after his relationship didn’t work out, obviously). I said my piece and it felt so good for a while, but it’s secretly still bugging me endlessly.
Why can’t I let this all go? Because in every case I just described, nobody had the guts to tell me they were sorry. Not even in the case of the guy who was trying to regain my affection. You’d think that was the most logical thing to do: step one: apologise. But nothing. Not a peep. Only excuses and accusations (“you didn’t show up for the New Year’s party, although I consistently tried to get you to come”).
I don’t care if people don’t like me. I don’t care if they never want to see me again. All I care is for a little respect. You can grant me that, can’t you? Because if I do something wrong, I’ll be the first to admit.
I once cut someone out of my life because he told me he fancied me and I couldn’t deal with that. I completely freaked out and thought there was only one way out: destroying every form of contact with him.
Of course I was wrong, but it took me a while to get there. I asked myself how I’d feel if I was him, and then there was only one clear solution: I had done him wrong, terribly wrong, and I needed to say I was sorry. Even if it meant I was to grovel and get my knees dirty, I had to go deep and apologise. It didn’t matter if he would forgive me or not, he still needed to know I was sorry. That I knew I had been in the wrong.
Often I feel as if I have something tattooed on my forehead. Things such as: “Please be rude to me, I am a young woman so you’re allowed to”, or: “I am blonde and look innocent, so go ahead and assume I’m stupid.”
Ever since high school, though, I felt that whenever someone looked at me they saw written on my face: “Please hurt me, I’d really like that. I may resemble a human being, but I am most definitely not. I am a robot and I don’t have feelings.”
But I do have feelings. And they do get hurt. Just like yours.
The only difference, the only thing that separates me from most people, is that I have the guts to say it out loud. I am brave enough to say that what I did was wrong, and to apologise. I am willing to take that hurdle and admit I was wrong.
So this one is from me to me: I am sorry for making this year extra hard for you. I am sorry to keep telling you you’re not good enough. I am sorry I keep bothering you with bad memories and impossible high expectations. And I am sorry I ask so much of you and so little of others.
Admitting you’re wrong is difficult, yes. But not impossible. Don’t let your pride get in the way of jumping that hurdle and doing the right thing.
And if you never get a much-needed apology, don’t fret. Just be sorry for them instead.