I’m sorry. Some people often say that saying “I’m sorry” is difficult. It doesn’t come easy to some folks. I don’t understand that because I always say I’m sorry, even when I shouldn’t. I would say it is almost compulsive. I apologize to the wall when I bump into it. I also apologize when other people hurt me. Clearly, it was something I did that required me to apologize. That has been my life. For as long as I can remember I have always apologized first regardless if I was at fault or not.
I don’t like making mistakes. I like hurting people even less. I have learned that I am rarely in the wrong and the one that should apologize. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes and sometimes I should apologize. Saying sorry has never been difficult for me. Not saying I’m sorry when I am not in the wrong is where I struggle.
I remember listening to a lecture once where the presenter said we should replace I am sorry with something else to break the habit of saying those words. Doing this would not only break our habits but give the words “I’m sorry” more validity when we actually do say them, to ourselves and to others. There is truth to this. Many people have told me that I always say I’m sorry. That made me think even harder about why I say it.
As true as this is in all aspects of my life, this is also true in my sex life. I was sorry and said so if I didn’t orgasm. I was sorry and sad so if they didn’t orgasm. I was sorry and said so if I didn’t look good enough in the outfit I was asked to wear. I was always sorry. There were times when I was excused for my discretions. I believed it was “ok” but I never let go that I had done wrong, disappointed, not lived up to his expectations.
Then one day, while we were grocery shopping I picked up the wrong brand of noodles. He looked at me and said, “Now Toy, you know that isn’t the kind I buy, don’t you?” I was instantly mortified and responded, “I’m sorry, I forgot which kind you prefer.” His next response will stay with me forever. He didn’t realize that he said or how he said it but it was strong and has stuck with me. “Why are you sorry, Toy? It was a simple mistake. You don’t always have to apologize to me for honest mistakes, you simply need to learn from them.” And there it was, my reprieve.
He was never too hard on me for things, big or little. I think he enjoyed being able to teach me and guide me. His words in this situation meant much more to me than picking the right noodles next time. It was about learning from my mistakes and making different decisions next time. The thing is I know this. He didn’t teach me something new. He stated something I already knew but was always too afraid to act on.
Looking back on that day now is difficult for multiple reasons. We aren’t together any longer and that still stings a bit, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t take the lessons that matter from the time we were together. I have noticed that I do not apologize as much as I use to. I find replacement words when I can and I think twice maybe three times before saying I’m sorry, or looking for replacement words. Sometimes I just say nothing. Sometimes I apologize for the misunderstanding but refrain from apologizing at all.
It is a hard task for me. What I have tried to do is separate the things I truly need to apologize for from the things I feel bad about but weren’t my fault. For example, it isn’t my fault he couldn’t get his shit together, that is on him. I feel bad for him that he is still struggling, but I am not sorry about it. I am not sorry because I am not the reason he is still struggling. He may not be solely responsible for where he is in his life right now but that isn’t on me. I did my best to be what he needed. I wasn’t all he needed but that doesn’t mean I have to apologize for what and who I am.
That is perhaps the best lesson he ever taught me.