Behavior is a result of environment and time.
I was not born apologizing every time I spoke up.
I was a little girl who ran into life like there was no time to worry,
only time for horses, dolphins, and karaoke on cruise ships.
Time to glide across the world on an eighth of an inch of steel.
When did the words "I'm sorry"
creep out of the depths of accidental bumps and interrupted conversations
and into every sentence I spoke?
When did my vocabulary simplify into chopped up articles of speech,
plagued with apologetic outbursts begging forgiveness for materializing at all?
My therapist asked me to think about the first time
I apologized for my own existence.
That came later, but I remember exuberant outbursts
being met with eyes rolling like waves in a tsunami
icy, watery guilt washing over everything I was.
And the worst part was,
those waves started with you.
Now, I suffer from hypothermia,
shivering at even the summer tides licking at my feet.
Clutching at my sides, trying to make myself smaller;
quieter; less obtrusive.
It comes from years of feeling like I needed to apologize for being happy,
or being outgoing, or driven, or passionate,
or willing to forgive the shortcomings of others and see them as a whole.
Every time I found a blanket,
or a fire,
or a hand to hold,
I would imagine your eyes rolling.
And I would step back into the cold.
It has taken four years to wake up,
and see how often I utter the words "I'm sorry"
"I feel guilty"
"It's my fault"
And it's not.
It's time to stop running away from my past
and start running into the future I know I deserve.
I'm not sorry anymore.