One morning I sat in my Jeep and sobbed, I sobbed until nothing was left as I gasped for air and felt like my chest was being wrung by a medieval rack. Emotions completely dislocated from my body and exhausted from the torment. That is the day I realized how much I hated apologies. I found myself retching in oppression because I could no longer be unapologetic. I struggled to just be myself.
The Chad watched me as I sobbed, helpless to carry my burden. The burden of sheer and total brokenness. The girl with an untamed spirit. The blond haired girl with wild ideas of making the world a better place, snake bitten wit and selflessness only assigned to saints. All broken. Shattered to smithereens over a single pathetic event, but that event carried an enormous weight in addition to being so freeing.
Being fired from Wells Fargo was quite possibly the most liberating moment of my life. I would no longer have to endure the torture and torment of a single man day-in and day-out as he manipulated others to believe I was incorrigible and obnoxious. I was free from his berating moments behind closed doors that I only captured on my iPhone as a method of protection which proved to be less than fruitful later. I was free from his games and devilish trickery, I was free from his verbal abuse and violent outbursts. Finally I could breathe, I could prevail in goodness, that my good nature, my ability, that being me could prevail.
But with my freedom came more torture. A torture only God could free me from as I wracked myself into a hell of masochism, self deprecation and unforgiving torment. Thinking I was no longer good enough. Thinking that if I spoke up, the words would be useless. Thinking that if I was honest I would only cause more strife. So I swallowed thoughts as I became full of feeling. Thinking that if I shared my feelings they would be heard; with love, care, concern by a village of those in my life who would help lift me through my dark puddle. But I found myself broken and alone because of my fear to be vulnerable, being myself.
Honor. Loyalty. Honesty. Justice. Truth. Love and nobility. All seemed to fall by the wayside…and seemingly still do. Somehow being me was a continued struggle. My torment was the fear to be me.
The last several weeks I have been confined to a mental hell. Like having a quorum in my head. All these parts of me debating the various outcomes, scenarios, feelings, I can understand mental illness when battling with yourself between righteousness and what’s socially acceptable as “right” for the sake of preventing ruffled feathers. Or just the attempt to be socially accepted. Truly a headache.
I’m sorry. My apologies. Condolences. With deepest regret. Words often muttered for shame of an error or for breaking the even tide of the sailing ship. Apologies should only happen when we have deeply wronged another to share our sorrow as a method of forgiveness for the egregious error. Lately I find having to say, “I am sorry” rolling too easily off my tongue because my given nature seems offensive to others. My honesty requires apology. My love for others and sharing the truth requires apology. My loyalty in where I stand with honor based on unashamed love for all people, requires apology. Being me, wanting justice, sharing love, insisting on whats noble, honorable, seems to require apology.
So what happens when we err on the side of being who we are with our God given gifts? Do we apologize for who we are and hide in shame in order to be embraced by the societal norms. Hide that not everything about us is vanilla, cookie cutter, like everyone else? Or do we live out who we are with unapologetic pride of self because we should feel no shame for who we are?
With each passing day I arrive at home physically and emotionally exhausted from my own retching turmoil waring inside me. Trying to do what I feel is expected of me in order to maintain a level of acceptability both in my every day life and at work. Embracing some vanilla. I’ve always been more of a spumoni, chocolate and caramel with walnuts or a mint chocolate chip girl, whatever the situation would fancy.
You see I find myself in a predicament where being vulnerable of exposing my true self has led to moments of being an outcast. Damned for being different. Judged for caring. An outcast for being different and caring. I apologize, I cry in shame, I rage in silence for the oppression of not being myself. Like the former little girl who would run home from grade school after being tormented and bullied for being different; bullied and different for being passionate, for my empathy, genuine sincerity and selfless giving. Today I feel ill for the constant apologies. I sit alone with thoughts dancing as to what about me is so drastically different that I am set aside, cast out, felt a leper among my own people. Constantly apologizing when no harm has been caused.
Struggling in a crisis of confidence and identity that I have never experienced before. Who am I? Why am I trying so hard to be a person I am not? Why do I feel this way? Why do I feel I cannot be who God made me? Why am I constantly apologizing? Why am I in hiding?
I hide because of my audience. For the first time in my life I have been reluctant to speak my mind, share my knowledge, expound my thoughts, share my love and write all of these on my blog for others to read and say “I’m so glad I am not alone.” I hide my thoughts from my so-called friends who couldn’t dare be bothered. Or their feelings are hurt because I spoke up in love when they hurt my feelings. Or they take my feedback as a personal attack and judgment because I like to see a bigger picture. I hide my feelings because someone could use them against me. I smuggle thoughts in and out of work and home to avoid being fired…again. I refrain from writing for fear of passive-aggressive confrontation, because that shit drives me crazy and then my temper overflows. For once in my life I am afraid of being myself.
My dad tried to tell me that I needed to be broken in order to serve the Lord. My Bible devotional tried to tell me that I am like Noah, called to be different to change the world. So why is it so damn hard to be different? Why does being me, being different, require so many apologies? Who knew that being different would bear such a burden, maybe if I knew the consequences I might have been more prepared. Maybe I wouldn’t have to apologize so much. Or maybe I should be unapologetic for who I am. Maybe others could start apologizing for trying to ask me to be someone I am not.