#NotSorry: 5 Things I No Longer Apologize For

You may have noticed that women apologize a lot. A whole lot. While it’s appropriate to say, “Sorry!” when we’ve, say, stepped on another’s toe, apologizing for being ourselves hurts us and, by way of example, others.

A few years ago, the ever-sparkly Natalie Hartford published a blog post called 5 Things I’ll Never Apologize For, which basically says, “This is who I am. Deal with it!” (Woot!)

I’ve thought of her post many times since, particularly upon realizing I’m no longer apologetic for aspects of myself that once left me guilt-ridden.

Here are five of those things:

1. For not being a night owl.

I think I’m genetically predisposed to turn into a mushy-headed pumpkin by 9pm. (I don’t even know what that is. Anyway…) I used to feel dorky for wanting to eat dinner at 5pm or donning PJs when “hipper” friends were taking pre-going out naps. Not anymore.

Proof that turning in early can be sweeter.

Proof that turning in early can be sweeter.

If I stay out late, I know I’ll pay the price the next day; feeling groggy and not on top of my game. My work and relationships are too important to do so regularly.

Nurturing what makes us feel healthiest and most alive—especially when it isn’t the norm—shows strength and self-respect.

2. For being passionate and outspoken.

I sometimes think I was born an activist. As a kid, I campaigned for endangered animals, protested for planet-friendlier school lunch dishes and co-organized events to raise awareness about child abuse. Then there was my first walk-out. (How dare my piano teacher deny me M&Ms for neglecting my homework expressing my artistry through improvisation?)

By my early 20s, I’d lost some of that confidence and occasionally felt I was on an annoying “high horse.” Does everything have to be a world-altering mission? No. But it’s important to me to feel that I’m contributing to positive change, or at least trying.

Writing and speaking have helped me see that using my voice and passion for greater good is my happy place, and washed away concerns over what others might think. (And, wouldn’t you know? Most folks don’t shun me anyway.) Now, rather than feel crushed by injustices I see, I find peace in knowing I can do something. And I’m not afraid to speak up.

You know you're in your happy place when someone walks in on you taking blog-prep-selfies and you keep on shooting. ;)

You know you’re in your happy place when someone walks in on you taking blog-prep-selfies and you keep on shooting. 😉

Meeting my awesome husband also helped. Early on in our relationship, he caught me apologizing for babbling on and on enthusiastically sharing. “It’s the best part of my day,” he said. *swoon* (Yep, I married right.)

We all deserve to nurture our passions, and what makes us feel obscure or alone at times could actually be what makes our lives extraordinary. People who truly care about us will embrace them.

3. For not having perfectly groomed appendages.

Does anyone else fight the urge to yelp, “Hurry up! I’m bored!” when having your nails done? Ugh. Now that I meditate, I could probably handle it. Regardless, nail treatments feel like a waste of precious time and money I could be investing elsewhere.

When I first moved to LA, I often had gels added to my nails, fearing that others would judge my “imperfections.” Now, I embrace my imperfect, guitar-playing, typing-fanatical hands.

photo-165

Dear Nails: Thank you for showing the world how much I value typing and strumming over aesthetics, and for putting up with my bashing. I promise not to have you ground down and covered up again. Sincerely, Me

What we see as “flaws” are often quirks that reflect who we are. Not sweating over them is a huge relief.

4. For not caring much about fashion —at least not enough to appear totally put together very often.

Looking back on my life, I see a direct correlation between how much time and energy I put into my appearance and insecurity. That’s not to say these are linked for all women, of course.

One sign you're not putting much thought into your wardrobe… #whoops

One sign you’re not putting much thought into your wardrobe… #whoops

I admire women who consistently look like they’ve just stepped out of a style mag, but I’m so not one of them. While I enjoy dressing up for special occasions, I prefer spending my time and energy elsewhere. As long as I’m clean and comfy, I’m a-okay.

When we fixate on our looks, what we need to change almost surely lies deeper than our hairstyle or wardrobe.

**If you’re a low-maintanence gal, too, this Elite Daily article is a must-read: The Science of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear The Same Thing Every Day

5. For taking up space.

Last year my friend Sheri, I and another friend were standing and chatting in an open hotel lobby. When a group of people walked our direction, I apologized and stepped aside, giving them ample (if not necessary) room to pass.

“You don’t need to apologize for taking up space,” Sheri said without hesitation. “We have a right to be here.”

Woah. (See why I adore her?) In the following weeks, I noticed that I had a tendency to offer up my space to others in this way; it was a dangling thread of insecurity I hadn’t yet clipped.

Owning the space we stand in is empowering, and it’s never too late to grow.  

Why stay small?

Because why not?

Whether we say the words or not, feeling regretful for who we authentically are can hold us back in all sorts of ways.

As Natalie shared in her post, she dresses provocatively, cusses regularly and speaks her mind–without regret. Is she judged for these traits on occasion? Probably. But they’re also three of the reasons I, and many others, love her. It would break our hearts if she held back. We should have that same compassion for ourselves. Don’t you think?

What have you stopped apologizing for? Do you relate to any on my list? I’d love to hear from you! ♥

Leave a comment

43 Comments

  1. Great messages August! Living authentically sets us up for better self-care in so many unexpected ways – like the ones you pointed out.

    Reply
  2. Wonderful post August! I’ve been a chronic apologizer all my life, so much so my hubby would stop everything when I did and say ‘Why are telling me you’re sorry? You didn’t do anything wrong!’ (That’s why he’s a Keeper!)
    As a child of dysfunction and alcoholic parent, I’ve always felt my designation as the ‘fixer’, people pleaser, keeper of the peace, and general background person, which has made me a great hostess(!), but a lousy self-care person. But I’m working on it. One thing I don’t apologize for anymore is my taste in entertainment. If I like a cheesy movie or tv show, I like it. If you don’t, oh well, that’s fine, too. Also, I never apologize for being a writer, as in ‘I’m working on-trying to be-someday-aspiring writer.’ I’m a writer.

    Reply
    • Aw. I’m so glad you have a supportive partner, too! I’m also thrilled to hear that you’re working on self-care.

      Love the concept you brought you up: Would you rather be a great hostess or truly happy, healthy and authentic? Not that you can’t be both. 🙂

      And yes, WE ARE WRITERS! Being unapologetic about that can strengthen our work.

      Reply
  3. This is one of your best posts- the taking up space hits home… at a corporate training I noticed all the gals were in heels and skirts, which I love, yes, but the attire didn’t allow them to take over the room….they were balancing precariously, crossing legs and becoming smaller in trying to stay tucked in and unmussed! I was the lone ranger who wore pantsuits long before corporate wanted to see slacks on women. It certainly worked for me- I will admit, there’s still plenty of heel height from the cuff level, BUT I can TAKE up my SPACE and they see, hear and FEEL my presence.

    Reply
    • Such excellent points. Our wardrobe choices can really affect how we hold ourselves and maneuver. I enjoy wearing heels for special occasions, but I’ve learned to prioritize comfort most. Boots, walking sandals and running shoes are my foot-ware staples. Really touched that this struck you!

      Reply
  4. love this, especially #5. << that hit home and got me thinking. Great post, August. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Good morning lovely August, Do you know that the people I love most are outspoken and never totally put together yet they are also the sweetest ones I know. Thoughtful, kind and beautiful from the inside out. I could name some, but I won’t. They know who they are. This is a great post that should resonate with most of us.

    Reply
    • Hi there, Velda! Well no wonder we’re in the same banned. 😉 (Will that ever get old? I think not!) Truly, heart and authenticity are the best accessories, IMO. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness.

      Reply
  6. LOVE you and LOVE this post and thank you so much for the compliments. You are truly a gift to the world just as you are. And I know I speak for everyone when I say, we wouldn’t want you to change a thing…we adore you just as you are! And even better is knowing YOU adore YOU!!

    MUAH…xoxoxox

    P.S. I also love the taking up space one. wow!!!

    Reply
    • Oh, thanks so much, amazing woman! That means oodles from you. I’ve honestly thought of that post of yours so many times. You’re an inspiration! xoxo Much love.

      Reply
  7. You are the dream woman of every mature there is. Or was. Or whatever. Your husband could not be more lucky. Your friends and business associates could not be more lucky. The best part of my day is when my wife tells me detailed, funny stories. And she’s at the top of the class – as are you. I think I’ve read enough of your work to know that you’re as honest as one can possibly be, and anyone who disparages your wit, your love of life, and all the rest (world class model looks) is either jealous or has an anger issue. God bless, you are wonderful :3

    Reply
  8. Thank you August, and good morning! Wonderful, inspiring blog post, and since you asked, I shall contribute 🙂 I thank you for posting your five. Here are mine.
    1. For not being a morning person, and not feeling comfortable with, or having patience for, doing too much at that time of day, other than letting the dogs out for their morning constitutional, before coffee! I now say; “I’m grumpy in the mornings – deal with it. 😉
    2. For being an introvert. I have found that “button” some of we introverts press in order to be a little more social at gatherings, but sometimes it doesn’t work. When I was very young, I actually used to think there was something wrong with me, and used to apologize inwardly, until I met more introverts. Now, I don’t.
    3. For not feeling I have the time or energy, (or inclination), to wear makeup, get my nails done, follow the latest trend in hair-do’s, follow fashion, or own many pairs of fancy shoes. I tried makeup once upon a time, but did not like how it felt on my face, so stopped using it. Thankfully, I am happy enough in my own skin that I don’t feel the need to cover it up with “war paint” 🙂 I also wear a lot of black. a) because I REALLY like black, and b) it makes it so easy to pick out a coordinating “outfit” for the day!! (I do like to be coordinated, but I’m not overboard about it). I must stress, however, that I only “dress up” when I’m going out of the house, or if we are having visitors, (the latter for the sake of decency), since most of the time I lull about the house in my pajamas. Yes, my PJ’s are coordinated, too 😉
    4. For sometimes having to say NO to arrangements, because of health or life in general getting in the way. Or because I just don’t want to. Sometimes, priorities change or we don’t feel like doing something, so we shouldn’t feel bullied or guilt-tripped into it. I used to, for fear of hurting feelings, but I don’t anymore. So, if I do agree to do something, know that it is because I WANT to and am able to, not because I would feel guilty if I didn’t 😉
    5. Finally, for being weird and unusual. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, and never felt the need to “fit in”. Occasionally, especially when I was much younger, it would get me down to be called “weird” or “freaky” or “just not with the times”, but now I embrace my uniqueness. Life is way too short to feel guilty about being yourself. 🙂
    Have a wonderful day, August!! ❤

    Reply
    • I love your list, Alice! And would be more than happy to chat with you over lunch or early dinner one day, when we’re both well awake. 😉 Power to the weirdos!! ❤

      Reply
  9. Reblogged this on Alice White Author and commented:
    Wonderful, inspiring blog post, from my friend and fellow author August McLaughlin. I thank you for posting your five, August. Here are mine.
    1. For not being a morning person, and not feeling comfortable with, or having patience for, doing too much at that time of day, other than letting the dogs out for their morning constitutional, before coffee! I now say; “I’m grumpy in the mornings – deal with it.” 😉
    2. For being an introvert. I have found that “button” some of we introverts press in order to be a little more social at gatherings, but sometimes it doesn’t work. When I was very young, I actually used to think there was something wrong with me, and used to apologize inwardly, until I met more introverts. Now, I don’t.
    3. For not feeling I have the time or energy, (or inclination), to wear makeup, get my nails done, follow the latest trend in hair-do’s, follow fashion, or own many pairs of fancy shoes. I tried makeup once upon a time, but did not like how it felt on my face, so stopped using it. Thankfully, I am happy enough in my own skin that I don’t feel the need to cover it up with “war paint” 🙂 I also wear a lot of black. a) because I REALLY like black, and b) it makes it so easy to pick out a coordinating “outfit” for the day!! (I do like to be coordinated, but I’m not overboard about it). I must stress, however, that I only “dress up” when I’m going out of the house, or if we are having visitors, (the latter for the sake of decency), since most of the time I lull about the house in my pajamas. Yes, my PJ’s are coordinated, too 😉
    4. For sometimes having to say NO to arrangements, because of health or life in general getting in the way. Or because I just don’t want to. Sometimes, priorities change or we don’t feel like doing something, so we shouldn’t feel bullied or guilt-tripped into it. I used to, for fear of hurting feelings, but I don’t anymore. So, if I do agree to do something, know that it is because I WANT to and am able to, not because I would feel guilty if I didn’t 😉
    5. Finally, for being weird and unusual. I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, and never felt the need to “fit in”. Occasionally, especially when I was much younger, it would get me down to be called “weird” or “freaky” or “just not with the times”, but now I embrace my uniqueness. Life is way too short to feel guilty about being yourself. 🙂

    Reply
  10. Nice post, so true!

    Reply
  11. I think not apologizing for being outspoken is a big one for me! I’m definitely low-maintenance and I’m fine with that!!
    Love your list! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Love this and totally identify with all except maybe #2 🙂 Ever said sorry when seomone tells you you say sorry too much? haha that’s pretty bad!

    Reply
  13. LOVE your nails! Of course, this is coming from someone who would rather scrub toilets than ever smell nail polish or remover too. 😀

    Great article, August.

    Reply
  14. Catherine Johnson

     /  April 16, 2015

    Great attitude and message, August. Though I paint my own nails way too often I am right there with dressing down during the week. It feels even more special then when you do dress up. Here in Canada all the women look amazing every day, it seems weird.

    Reply
  15. This is something I totally needed to read! Thank you! 🙂

    Reply
  16. I love it girl! I’ve stopped apologizing for being ME and speaking my mind. Some won’t like me but that’s their problem. 😉 TGIF!

    Reply
  17. I relate to every one of these, except #1. For that one, I would substitute I don’t apologize anymore for not being a morning person. You should see the looks I get when I inform people that I never schedule anything before 10:30 in the morning if I can help it (actually I prefer 11 or noon). Used to apologize. Now I just stare them down and say, “Hey we all have our own biorhythms. I’m retired so I don’t have to get up and I ain’t gonna.”

    Reply
    • I relate so much to that, in reverse, Kassandra. 🙂 Knowing what works for us and what boundaries help us function best is so important. “We all have our own biorhythms” — LOVE. I may have to borrow that. 😉

      Reply
  18. I love this blog post August. And yes, I do have a little list of five things I don’t apologize for. I’ll keep it short: I do not apologize for:.. 1… being as emotional as I am. This is part of who I am. 2. … doing things my way. I don’t say I never make mistakes, but at least they’re my mistakes and I learn from them. 3. … my look. I might have a bad hair day – so what? 4…. my taste in fashion and music. To others I might not have the best taste – but it’s mine and I love it. 5… my humor. I love to laugh. Some think I don’t take life serious enough – they might be wrong… but that’s not my problem.

    Reply
  19. Kourtney Heintz

     /  April 22, 2015

    Great post August! I’m guilty of apologizing for these things too. I also tend to say “I’m sorry” when I really mean “I’m sorry to hear that.” Now, I think I’ll rework that to “Oh no, that’s terrible.” 🙂

    Reply
  20. I love this August! 🙂

    Reply
  21. I’ve noticed that the more I assert myself and the less I apologize for simply being in the world, the more my self-confidence has increased. May seem like a no-brainer to some, but when you’re stuck in a state of low self-esteem you don’t see the obvious. I think you have to live it to know it. I also think you’re more balanced and have a better attitude because, thanks to speaking your mind and exhibiting your beliefs all the time, you’re regularly exorcising your demons and making it quite clear where everyone else stands with you. Nothing is hidden, so you don’t feel guilty for keeping it in the dark. Yeah, you’ll lose some “friends” along the way, but if they can’t take you as you really are…

    Reply
  22. I love this so much! As a recovering apologist, this resonates so deeply. I used to apologize for pretty much everything. I’m still more prone than I’d like to be, but I’m not apologizing for that. =)

    I am learning. I often take the moment, when I hear myself doing it, to stop and rephrase. It helps make me more aware….and that helps me to stop being sorry just for existing!

    I no longer apologize for writing, for needing some time for myself and my own passions, for arranging my life and priorities that make sense to me, or for sometimes staying up all night, (especially when the moon is full), and sleeping well into the afternoon.

    Or for writing erotic, Star Trek fan fiction, or perhaps best of all, erotic Star Trek fan fiction!

    Reply
    • Woo hoo! Go Shan! “Recovering apologist” made me smile big time. What a groovy phrase, and what worthy recovery. 🙂 Keep at it, awesome one.

      Reply
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