Living My Truths

Discarding the apology habit

In the wake of my most revealing blog post to date, I initially wanted to follow up with a post of gratitude. I’m so very thankful for the overwhelmingly positive response and the outpouring of support from close friends and acquaintances alike.

But my motivations for writing about gratitude were much more complicated than merely saying ‘thank you’ to those who read and were kind in response.

I lead a very privileged and blessed life, and I also wanted to highlight how lucky I am, in a myriad of ways.

But deeper still, in a part of me that almost went unacknowledged, I wanted to write about gratitude to assuage the few that I upset or alienated with my post about self-harm.

When I recognized this is as a partial motivator, I knew I couldn’t follow through (even though it’s nearly complete and ready to publish). I realized that I felt like I needed to apologize for what I’d written, for bringing up rarely talked about subjects, for making anyone feel uncomfortable.

It is such backwards logic to think that I need to apologize to anyone for sharing my experiences.

It’s not surprising, though. The roots of this knee-jerk response run deep. It is woven into the fabric of our society. It’s a culture where we (women especially) say ‘sorry’ way too much — as a conversation starter, instead of ‘excuse me,’ sometimes for no reason at all. It’s also deeply rooted in my personal history of seeking validation through people-pleasing.

This commercial has been widely circulated because of how true it rings to many women:

There is a bigger case to be made here about the connection to a history of subjugation and the expectations placed on women. There are also deeper reasons why some people feel threatened by acts of vulnerability and conversations that push surface-level boundaries. Instead of diving into those ideas today, I’ll leave them here as food for thought.

So to sum up, I’m not sorry. If you need clarification on why I’m writing about tough subjects with such honesty, visit this post. If you’re still uncomfortable with what I say, don’t read it.

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4 thoughts on “Discarding the apology habit

  1. Love this. You make a good point about the subtle sexism in everyday language, one that typically goes unacknowledged. The socially constructed need to please others through mannerisms in the day to day is just one way sexism can exist just beneath (or above, if you’d rather) the surface.

    Keep up the good fight, keep up the good work!
    Excited to hear more

    • Thank you so much for your comment.

      I absolutely agree, and think it’s the more subtle, less blatant forms of exclusion (whether in the form of sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, etc.) that can be among the most damaging.

      Unexamined language, deeply ingrained belief systems, and institutional/systemic discrimination have profound effects on our daily lives — and yet, are less obvious, and therefore not credible in the eyes of many.

  2. Love this, Julie!!! I struggle with the same tendency to apologize for no reason…almost as if my very presence in the world is a burden to others. But I’m working on it! Love you so much. Can’t wait to see you on Wednesday ❤️

    • It’s such an ingrained and automatic response that it’s often hard to catch — noticing it is definitely a step in the right direction 😉 I feel you on the presence being a burden thing.

      I love you very much, and I can’t wait for the day when you don’t care in the least about what anyone thinks. I want to see that true, uncensored Amanda shine through. So excited to see you ❤

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