Don’t Apologize

“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for your mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone--profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.” -Danielle Laporte

Apologizing for being myself is a constant burden. Following the emotional turmoil of a particularly bad day in which my depression or anxiety affected me more than usual, I find myself letting people know that I am sorry. Perhaps for ruffling feathers or a distracted mind. Oftentimes I apologize for my quirks and dry humor as well.

This is who I am. And I am not a mistake.

Following social norms in childhood is particularly important in terms of climbing the social ladder. Looking back, all of it seems so silly! At the time, however, isolation was a terrible punishment for individuality. More than anything, I loved reading, writing, and playing the piano. I didn’t listen to the same music, go to the same dance classes, or play the same sports as the other kids--I felt like the odd one out. But abandoning myself for the costume I would have to wear was unthinkable. Nonetheless, the belief that I should be ashamed about who I am continued on to this day, at a deep level.

I remember back in middle school I talked about Alexander Pushkin and Sylvia Plath with a similar gusto to that typically reserved for hit movies and music. At the time I was excited about a new friend I had made. She seemed nice, with long, black braids and glasses. Unfortunately, I heard about her true opinion of me: weird and annoying. That’s what people had been saying about me all my life.

As it turns out, one person who accepts you can make all the difference. In my case, my best friend. Never has someone revolutionized my perspective so completely. She accepted all of who I was, so much so that I started to accept myself as well.

Don’t apologize--accept yourself for who you are.