In the last few months I have read a number of wonderful posts. While the content of each was different, I noticed that they all began with the same negative introduction:
You will probably find this boring / You may think that this is rubbish / I doubt anybody will be interested in this…
I have learned over time to try and ignore it – I often find that I am pleasantly surprised by the wonderful writing that follows, but admittedly there are times where I have been put off by these self-deprecating opening sentences – the writer is almost apologising for having a thought or an interest in something before they have even given potential readers a chance to form an opinion about it.
What seems to be the predominant reason for the creation of many blogs is that people have an urge to write and feel that they have something important to say, regardless of the content they create. It may be read by one or two people, it may be read by millions, but I find that lots of bloggers feel that the act of blogging is just as fulfilling as the response to the post itself. So why are so many people apologising for this?
While I am rarely apologetic in the blogging world, it made me think about all of the things that I apologise for on a regular basis in my daily life. Being British, it is a natural part of our vocabulary to use ‘sorry’ as a synonym for ‘excuse me,’ but I have also been known to suffer from anxiety and paranoia which causes me to be naturally apologetic in my conversation. The use of the word ‘sorry’ within these conversations highlights the fact that I feel inadequate and vulnerable, which has the potential to make others feel uncomfortable and there have been many occasions where I have been told to stop it by close family and friends.
Of course, it is important to be genuinely apologetic when our actions have resulted in somebody else being hurt or inconvenienced, but in the spirit of positivity and stepping out of my comfort zone in 2015, here are the things that I’m not sorry for:
1. Instantly removing myself from the company of racists, sexists, and homophobes. I can’t abide those people.
2. Wanting to have a work/life balance. In my 20’s, I lived to work. In my 30’s, I work to live. My physical and mental health has suffered because of it and I realised a while ago that being happy and healthy is much more important than earning a big salary.
3. Feeling the way that I feel about a situation. I cannot control how I feel about something, but what I can control is how I choose to deal with it.
4. Taking some time for me. There is nothing wrong with spending two hours at a time in the bath. A few of my friends think this is ridiculous. I don’t… It’s definitely the best way to spend a Sunday night. Or any night, in fact.
5. Posting pictures of my cats on the blog or any of my social media accounts. I have to look at pictures of my friends children – they are my equivalent, my family. If I have to look at little Billy in his new hat, or little Billy at the park, or little Billy with ice-cream or chocolate all over his face (which are all undeniably cute) then others can look at Daisy in a hat too.
6. Being ‘fussy’ with my food – there are so many who like to comment on my personal culinary tastes. I love tomatoes and tomato ketchup, but dislike tomato soup. I like peas, particularly petite pois, but hate mushy peas. I hate all variants of egg – omelettes, boiled, fried, poached, but really like Spanish omelette. I also like to put chips (and by chips, I mean fries) in my soup. There’s nothing nicer than soup and chips – try it, or at least don’t comment about it when I do.
7. Sobbing hysterically at animal charity adverts on the TV. And at romantic moments in my favourite films and books. And at beautiful cards and letters I have received. In fact, I don’t apologise for crying at any point – crying is good for the soul.
8. Hating, and I know that hate is a strong word, but perfectly acceptable in this situation, everything about the Twilight Saga. Bella Swan is the worst role-model for young impressionable teenage girls and… I’ll stop there, or this post will be twice as long.
9. Adoring karaoke sessions on a Friday night. I’m not exactly going to win the next X Factor, but I can hold a tune and there’s nothing better than having a few drinks and singing my heart out to a crowd of complete strangers. It’s fun and therapeutic.
10. Not wanting to have children or get married yet, despite being in a secure and happy long-term relationship.
11. Removing people from my life that were toxic. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
12. Taking photographs of everything. I love recording a beautiful moment or a fabulous place.
13. Writing about my battles with mental health issues – it’s still a taboo subject in many areas of society, but I make no apologies when I tell others that I’m struggling.
14. Ringing in sick to work when I’m ill. If I’m ill, I’m ill – there’s no point going in and infecting the entire cohort of staff and students at my school. And when I’m well, I’ll give it 100%, and work most evenings and weekends unpaid.
15. Smoking a cigarette, and thoroughly enjoying it! I don’t do it that often but I know the risks, I don’t do it in people’s personal space, and mind your own business!
16. Not learning to drive. I had lessons when I was 17 years old and I crashed my learner car into a car transporter, and have never been back. Trust me, the world is a safer place without me behind the wheel!
17. Instantly judging someone who is rude to employees working in the service industry – bar and fast-food staff, waiters, retail assistants, baristas… I’ve been there and all are challenging and exhausting roles and those that work within them deserve to be treated with respect.
18. While I’m on the subject of judging others, I’m not sorry for judging those that wear fur for fashion. That’s a whole post in itself…
19. Dressing like a teenage boy. I like jeans and sweaters most of the time. It’s comfortable.
20. Asking for what I want. I’m an adult, I’m polite and respectful and I never demand anything, but as I’ve aged, I have learned to be more articulate in requesting things that I need.
21. Similarly, asking for help. This is something that I have learned to do recently – I used to try and take on everything myself and would find that I couldn’t cope with the pressure. Now, I make no apologies for asking for help from others.
22. Being proud of my achievements. Pride is not to be confused with arrogance – I don’t believe I am better than anyone else, but I proud of things that I have done well.
23. Having a dream, taking the risk and working my hardest to achieve it. Some have been hugely supportive. Others have scoffed. However, my belief is what keeps me going.
It’s important to remember that we don’t owe anyone explanations in the form of apologies. The act of explaining ourselves is often an attempt to justify our actions to another person, as if a decision needs validation. We don’t have to explain ourselves for the way that we choose to live and who we choose to live with. We don’t have to explain our priorities in life and what we do with our time. We don’t have to explain our likes and dislikes, our passions, beliefs, hobbies, interests, ideals and ambitions. We don’t have to explain our decisions to have or to not have children. If what you are doing makes you genuinely happy and fulfilled, you’re doing it right. So for all of these things, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry for liking who I am and how I live. I’m far from perfect, I have a million flaws, but I do my best.
Therefore, I am going to set a challenge both for myself and for you. Stop apologising for having an opinion and wanting to share your thoughts! Don’t begin your posts with a negative statement – send your message into the blogosphere and be proud of it!
What about you? What do you apologise for that you shouldn’t?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks