KARACHI: I spent all of last week huddled in a thermal blanket, courtesy of a runny nose and high fever. During the course of my ailment, which I like think of as a near-death experience, I found myself apologising more than usual: apologising for not being able to show up at work, apologising for not being able to meet friends, and even apologising for not being able to fetch a glass of water for myself. Every time I asked for forgiveness from someone, I realised I wasn’t forgiving myself in the process. Despite being told it was ‘okay’ I couldn’t do something, I continued to feel helpless and sorry. At one point, the weight of that guilt became so much I thought I was going to collapse. And as I sat there popping antibiotics in my last and final attempt to get better, I couldn’t help but wonder: have I developed apology-resistance?
In life, we tend to apologise for a lot of things. Sometimes to other people but mostly to ourselves, and both are causes of concern when overdone. There are times when it makes sense to apologise to someone: for example when you honk at a pedestrian on the road for no reason or when you let a work thing make you lose your cool with a friend or when you cut a line. But then there are times when you don’t need to be sorry: for example when you walk away from something or someone toxic or when you stay up an extra hour to continue doing what’s making you happy or when you just feel your feelings. Those are things no one should have to apologise for, but we still do.
Here’s what I want to ask myself: if my life were a sketchbook and some of my sketches were mistakes then would I want myself reaching for the eraser all the time? Or would I want to draw on?
When I came across Global Forgiveness Day, I realised the only person who is craving forgiveness from me is myself. So stay with me as I forgive myself for a few things:
1. Sleeping those extra ‘five’ minutes every day: They always help me stay sane
2. Saying goodbye to all those who weren’t adding to my life in any way: I love y’all but I love me more
3. Not knowing who I want to be in the next five years: I will figure it out one day but today is not that day
4. Loving my dog more than any other dog in the world: They are all super cute but he’s the best
5. Marrying young: No my career isn’t over, it’s just getting started
6. Prioritising: Without it, I’ll always be apologising
7. Missing my parents when I’m with my husband: There’s enough love to go around for everyone
8. Missing my husband when I’m with my parents: Like I said, enough love for everyone
9. Just wanting to be alone sometimes: We all need our space
10. Not wanting to be alone sometimes: Throw in a hug and an unlimited supply of cuddles
11. Having put on weight: I understand the need to be healthy and fit but today is the day I eat that extra plate of cheese fries
12. Not being able to do it all: My need to overachieve needs to take a backseat when my mental health is concerned
Because if I keep making apologies for myself, will I ever be at peace with who I am?
Also, #sorrynotsorry for the Carrie Bradshaw style of writing. I rewatched Sex and the City while I was sick.