This message is going to make some people pretty mad, but I’m going to say this anyways. For you. For me. For all of us who have been giving our all every single day, yet continually come up short: I’m not sorry I’m letting you down.
Don’t get me wrong, I was sorry. For the last nine months I’ve been really sorry, saying it more times than I can count. I’ve been bending over backwards trying to give people what they want and need from me.
Trying to live up to the measurements of the person I was before. Trying to hold everything together and still be the friend, daughter, sibling, and person they once knew. But I’m not that person anymore, and I’m so very tired.
The fact is, I’ve given everything I have to the last nine months of my life and work. I’ve shown up to the best of my ability and tried my absolute hardest. I’ve given my all, but it hasn’t been enough.
It hasn’t been even close to enough.
When loss came along and knocked me on my ass, I fought like hell to stay upright and keep everything moving forward as it was supposed to. I picked myself up off the floor of my kitchen or rolled myself out of bed to face the day more times than I can count. Because I had obligations and relationships and people depending on me. Some days, getting myself out of bed was honestly all I had.
Not enough credit is given to those of us fighting to find our footing in the darkest seasons of our lives… to those of us who are drowning inside a pain we can’t always name, who just managed to get out of bed, let alone face the day and all that it asks of us.
For most of the year, I did okay… I kept it together, kept on top of all the people and things that demanded my attention, and managed to give others what they needed. Until the summer arrived and it became apparent that I’d run on the fumes of the aftermath for as long as was possible. Until the trauma and PTSD said, “slow it down sweet girl, you have no choice now.” Until my brain stopped working and I went into straight survival mode, fighting to maintain a grip on my life and all I’d built.
Those mid summer months will be remembered as the months where I disappointed a lot of people I truly care for, because I simply had nothing to give anymore. I couldn’t be smiley and happy. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t come out and play or show up for things I said I’d show up for, if I even remembered.
And a couple weekends ago when another person I love dearly looked at me and told me in his own words that I was letting him down, I cracked. I piled into my car, tears streaming down my face, and I went home where I proceeded to cry the hardest I’ve cried in months for at least 10 long hours.
“I’m not going to apologize for doing what I need,” I texted. “I don’t want you to apologize,” he replied. “Sometimes I forget how much you’ve been through.”
In that moment of deciding to stop apologizing, I reclaimed my power and a whole lot of my footing.
I’m not sorry I didn’t respond to your email as quickly as you’d have liked, or that I didn’t listen to your voicemail. I’m not sorry I’ve been MIA when it comes to hanging out, or I completely missed that text message you sent over the weekend. I’m not sorry that I can’t be the person you need or want me to be in any given moment, for any given situation. I’m not sorry that I chose to sit at home with my cats rather than “rallying” for whatever fun thing you wanted me to do with you. I’m not sorry that sometimes I’m too tired or sad or overwhelmed to give you 100%.
I’m not sorry I’m not who I was before.
I’m not sorry because I know I’m doing the best that I can, and someone has to step up and take care of me. Someone has to take a stand for my healing and grieving and the person I am today. I’m not sorry that the person I am isn’t the person you expect me to be. I’m just not sorry.
Let me be clear here: not being sorry isn’t permission to be lazy and inconsiderate.
It’s not permission to blow things off or take actions that hurt others. Nope. It’s about acknowledging that there are times in our lives where we only have so much to give, and sometimes that’s not going to be enough for other people. Sometimes you have to be the champion for the broken parts and the ways you’ve shifted, so that you can continue growing and healing and moving forward with your life, because no one’s going to do it for you.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a person or three that will stand by you when you stop apologizing. Who will remind you to do what you need to do to heal and mend and get back to 100%, even if that 100% looks completely different than what it was before. Hold them tight, they’re your people. They’re the ones that will come out the other side with you, with bonds more sealed in love and tears than any you’ve ever experienced.
And the ones who fall away? Let them fall away. There are people who are meant to come into our lives for a season or a reason, and they may not be meant to stay, as much as we wish they could. The ones that get angry at you for doing what you need to do, they aren’t your people. They are added weight, sometimes toxic, and certainly not serving you and your highest good. Let them fall away.
Keep doing the best that you can do, even when you fall short.
Even when that’s just rolling out of bed and finding the strength to stand upright for longer than five minutes at a time. Even when it’s just returning one phone call or email. Handling one important detail of the day. Because the more you care for you and honor what you have to give, the sooner you’ll find your strength again.