Like many women, I frequently find myself saying “I’m sorry.” It doesn’t matter the circumstance; if I feel my presence, opinions, or personality are an inconvenience, you better believe I’m muttering a “sorry,’ and backing down. My desires, needs, wants? Unimportant. Shelved for the convenience of others’ comfort. I mentioned this to my therapist today when she told me to work on “just doing me.”
“I’m really not good at that,” I said. “It’s easier to just… not.”
She laughed, then grew serious again. “But isn’t it far scarier to live your life with yourself in the back seat?” She was right, of course. After all, that’s what I pay her for. And so, without further ado, I present you with a list of things for which I am finished apologizing.
Splashing and making noise while I swim. I’m not small. When I propel myself through the water, there will be water displacement. This is science, and is something I am unable to control. I will make my noise, breathe loudly, kick hard.
Not always wanting to talk on long drives. Seriously. Can’t we just sit in silence? Maybe listen to a podcast? I don’t hate you, I’m probably just tired.
Dipping my fries in honey mustard or ranch instead of ketchup. It’s just delicious.
Setting boundaries. Period.
Needing alone time. This goes with the long drives thing. I’m an introvert. Sometimes I just need to be alone, or at least not be actively engaging.
My political and religious beliefs. No, they aren’t a carbon copy of my parents’ and family’s beliefs. Yes, I engaged in critical thinking to come to my conclusions. No, I am not stupid just because I don’t believe exactly what you do.
Liking those awful little Totino’s party pizzas. Look. Sometimes it’s 9 pm and I haven’t eaten and I just want to sprinkle extra cheese on some glorified cardboard with highly processed “meat” and call it dinner.
My stomach, thighs, and general body shape. I am not small. I take up space. If you sit by me on an airplane, our arms and legs will probably touch. This doesn’t make me less of a person (in fact, it quite literally makes me more of a person). Sometimes my clothes might reveal the fact that I have a stomach/boobs/thighs. Because I DO HAVE THEM.
Not being head over heels in love with the USA right now. This country, right now? Is not great. It’s not welcoming the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free. It’s not treating all men as created equal. It certainly is not practicing religious equality. So no, I won’t be waving my tiny flag in a parade anytime soon.
Believing that LGBTQIA+ people are, in fact, people – deserving of full and equal rights. Do I really need to explain this? Still? In 2017?
Not running. I’ve tried. It is terrible. I do NOT feel better when I’m done. The runner’s high has to be a myth perpetuated by Big Running to try to trick me into screwing up my ankles and knees forever.
Taking care of myself. After growing up in a world where any self-care or acknowledgement of my own needs, desires, wants, or plans are selfish and my heart is “deceitful above all else,” learning to care for myself has been a steep learning curve filled with excuses and avoidance. No longer.
From here on out, I will be free.