One night, I sat in bed overanalyzing a situation as I’m inclined to do. Were my words understood? My actions accepted? Should I apologize on the off chance that someone might think differently of me if I didn’t? This was just one of many internal conversations over the years that have resulted in unnecessary follow-up texts and 3 a.m. wake-ups to obsess just a little bit more.
In many ways, I’m confidently living life on my own terms, but some of the deeper parts of me scream, “Like me, love me, validate me in every possible way.” That night, in my room, I chose not to send the text. Instead, I decided to stop apologizing, justifying, or otherwise worrying that someone might find the confident me off-putting or the insecure me unworthy of their time. Instead, I own who I am. All the different sides of me. After all, I’ve spent 42 years getting to this me, and I kind of like her.
I’m A Parenting Conundrum
One minute I’m letting my teenagers jump off cliffs, and the next minute I’m tracking my daughter’s every move on her iPhone. I put quinoa on their plates Tuesday and buy enough processed mac ‘n’ cheese at Costco to own stock in Kraft on Saturday. My teens get all kinds of side-eye from me at some of the YouTube videos they watch, while at the same time I’m setting my weekly line-up for our family Bachelor Fantasy Bracket before we all sit down to watch. (If those rookies think I’ve invested 14 years in this show to not beat them at this game, they are wrong!)
Mamas, say it with me for the cheap seats: “We don’t need to apologize for how we raise our kids!”
I Say Some Right Things (and So Many Wrong Things)
I’m terrible at handling other people’s emotional trauma. It’s so bad that I actually practice my reactions before big conversations or attending funerals. This is not me being disingenuous but more of an effort to prevent my awkward from overshadowing someone else’s time of need. Those are extreme examples, but even in normal everyday conversation, my sometimes
mostly crude humor or sarcastic tone without filter gets me in trouble. To be clear, I don’t toss around words to hurt people or make them feel bad. If that accidentally happens, you better believe I’m going to apologize and apologize swiftly, but my days of staying up and obsessing over every little word and phrase are over. On the flip side, I’ve got a strong fight-over-flight streak, so if busting down some doors are on the agenda, I’m your girl. Just plan for me to say something slightly insensitive while I do it.
I Dance On Bars On Saturday (and Go To Church On Sunday)
This falls under the category of choices that others question as being acceptable for a 42-year-old mom. Replace “dance on bars” with “wear glitter eye shadow and listen to explicit music,” and you get my point. Last year, my husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage at our favorite bar with our closest friends. It was amazing and one of the best nights of my life. Prince came on my carefully curated playlist as the evening wrapped up, so it seemed like fate was calling me to the bartop. No harm was done to that bar (or miraculously me}. The next day, someone saw the Facebook picture and suggested that dancing on a bar was a questionable choice. It was a joke laced with clear judgment. Here’s the deal: I’ve earned my right to make my own choices after a lifetime of good ones and some definite bad ones that I hopefully learned from. Plus, does anyone really think Jesus wanted bar dancing to be wasted on the young?
Non-Apology Honorable Mentions: Hating running and then bragging when I do it on Facebook. Reading sappy books with happily-ever-afters alongside controversial books that push my thinking. Ordering a glass of Rosé after an expensive glass of red.
Here’s to embracing my many sides, less apologizing, and more sleep in 2019 because of it!
Yes, I know there’s a book about not apologizing coming out from a very popular author, so don’t @ me. I won’t apologize for that, either. Trust me, she’ll make more money off her book than I will off of this blog post, so everyone is good here.