“You say sorry when you pull someone’s hair, Hannah,” Audrey informed me as I gathered her mess of sunshine curls to make a high ponytail.
Clearly her advisory was a cue for me to apologize for getting a tangle of bright blond strands stuck in my comb. “That’s when you say you are sorry and you mean it,” she told me again.
Back in a pile of Once Upon a Times, I spent my days with a four year old, tracing Disney princesses and beading together friendship bracelets. With each passing day she taught me new things; from the origins of “raisin fingers” in the hot tub to how to really wear my hair so I can look as beautiful as possible. But more than anything, Audrey showed me that she knew the word “sorry.” What it meant. Where it fit. And she was always very proud of that.
As she skipped through Target in her cowboy boots and Snow White costume, I would catch myself thinking, “Oh, Audrey. It is a very good thing to know how to say you’re sorry, but I hope you never say sorry for who you are. I hope that word never causes you to go back on yourself.”
Sometimes I desperately want to sit in the center of Barnes and Nobles and cut the word “sorry” out of every single dictionary in stock.
Because it is a word I’ve misunderstood. It is a five letter word that I have used, time & time again, as a strike against me. Apologizing For Who I Am. For What I Believe In. For What Breaks My Heart. For How My Heart Breaks. For My Dreams. For My Ambitions. For My Walking Away. & Letting Go. & Holding On.
Sorry has been the weapon I’ve used against my own soul.
The S grows sharp and cuts the spirit. The O is rounded but rugged, ripping apart the confidence. The Rs are double-edged and they pierce straight through happiness and the Y is that final cut that throws all off balance and into a realm of insecurity.
I will be the first to admit: I say it too much. I mean it too much. Some days I think my feet are just here to get muddy and be a living, breathing apology to the world.
And its sucked the life out of me. Its sucked the will out of me.
It has made me want to tread lightly–go quietly– in a life that demands Loudness out of me.
And suddenly I’m just one in a sea of sorrys. Sorry, so sorry. For wearing cowboy boots in Target. For having curves. For never letting go of childhood dreams. Yanking around a Suitcase Full Of Sorrow and passing out an apology to anyone willing to hear it only to drag feet back to a mirror at the end of the night, to the image of sad eyes staring back. Saying hurtful things like “not good enough” or “not pretty enough.”
It’s been too long. There’s been a breaking point.
A moment of clarity: Don’t be sorry for your bones & your marrow. Don’t be sorry for your frame & your structure & the fact that you are here, right here, and so there must be a purpose inside of you. There is a reason you’re here right now. Are you going to say sorry for that fact?
So here it is: A stepping stone in unapologies to make up for all the years I spent saying sorry for the things that I really should have been thanking the heavens for. Because They Make Me Who I Am.
Sorry but I am not sorry for preferring to sit in with a good book and a cup of tea rather than going out to the bar.
Sorry but I am not sorry for being an overachiever; for waking up at ungodly hours to get a workout in and for doing more things in two hours of my morning than most people do in a whole day.
Sorry but I am not sorry for pushing people. For believing in them even when I should just give up. Sorry but I am not sorry that I don’t believe in Should or Could or Would any longer. That I don’t play with houses made of cards, just bricks. Just stones. Just solid “Yes, I’ll do it.” & “Yes, we’ll make this happen in our lifetime.”
Sorry but I am not sorry for not being easily wooed by pick up lines or charming looks, I am not sorry that I have decided not to settle for less than I deserve.
Sorry but I am not sorry that I have learned. Through pain. Through tears. Through selling myself short & giving in to giving out. That it was hard but I value my own skin now. That I have ended it. That I think I deserve more than that now.
Sorry but I am not sorry that only one man will have me, only one man will get me and, until that point, I’ll stay waiting. Already loving him more than he knows.
Sorry but I am not sorry for believing. For trusting. For putting all faith in a God who knit me. & made me. & spun me from His fabrics. & gave me a life so long as I would learn to forget myself in all of it & just be His hands to hold His people.
Sorry but I am not sorry that I am a Light. That I am a Lantern. That I intend to shine. & even brighter than you know. That I know there is darkness, so much smog of darkness. That the only purpose that seems fitting to me is to be a light to the that darkness.
Sorry but I am not sorry for anyone coming to me and seeing that my heart is already broken with no hope of it ever being fixed. Broken Over Poverty. Ignorance. Hunger. Oppression. I let my heart lie broken. I think it’s beautiful that way. I am unapologetic about it.
Sorry but I am not sorry for not fitting into a small box or a quiet corner. I was made to be loud, to be fierce, to uncover my limitations only to limbo under them.
Sorry but I am not sorry for finally learning to liberate myself. To give myself the credit I deserve for thriving and being crazy all in the same day.That I am no longer wanting to be more like you. & less like me.
That I am going to learn satisfied for once. Satisfied. For once.