I started drinking coffee when I was pregnant with my first child ten years ago. Up until that point in my life I simply could not wrap my head around why people would drink coffee. While I was pregnant I could not get over how delicious coffee smelled, and so began my addiction. I have drank decaf through three pregnancies and while nursing babies. I have cut back to two cups a day when my anxiety was high and my heart would threaten to beat out of my chest if I added caffeine to my mornings. My husband bought me a French press and I have enjoyed coffee at home every morning since. I enjoy holding the warm mug, breathing in the aroma, taking that first hot sip… Okay, so this isn’t really a post just about coffee.
The other day while I was stealing away three hours to myself I stopped to order a cuppa at my favorite coffee shop. After a moment of pleasant interaction with the barista I placed my order with a flurry of apologies. See, because of my life I choose to order a dressed up version of crazy instead of a simple cup of joe. I feel it necessary to tell you that I do drink my coffee black most days, this seems to justify my beverage order (does coffee need justification?). So, here it is; Medium Berry White Mocha made hot with dark chocolate, decaf, almond milk, no whip…please.
I giggle at the order because my husband teases me a little about being a high-maintenance girl. Now; I drink beer from a bottle, know what to do if my car starts running too hot on the freeway, and spend most of my summer covered in dirt and sweat, but I like things the way that I like them. This “high-maintenance-ness” is true of my coffee first, before most other things. I wondered as I left, why did I apologize four times to the person behind the counter for my order? Is it not okay for me to know the way that I like my coffee and ask for it to be made that way? I find this to be true of myself in other areas as well. I frequently apologize simply for being me. Why do I do that?
I am late most of the time. I cancel plans often. I frequently show up with dirty hair. I am always sorry. “Sorry that I’m late…”, “Sorry, but we can’t make it after all…”, “Sorry, this gypsy life…”. Why am I sorry? I have no idea! Because usually, I’m not. I’ll apologize because that’s what polite people do in society, but I am mostly not sorry. If I’m late it’s either because someone was melting down or they were totally into something else and I didn’t want them to melt down by telling them it was time to leave. If I cancel plans it’s because I genuinely didn’t want to be there…that’s not nice or popular, but it’s true of me. I like to stay home, it’s really cozy here. And I am not sorry that my hair is a mess! It is a metaphor for my life and my life is messy. I feel like I should go back and type that in all caps with periods in between the individual words like the people do, but I am not that cool (and I am okay with that). Plus, I have a lot of hair and a lot of children, I’d rather give attention to my kids.
The point here is; I apologize for being me. Reread that please, I don’t ask forgiveness for messing up, but for simply being. What the heck!? Why is this just hitting me now? I have likely done this my entire life, I am a grown up person responsible for small people, why do I only realize today that I should not be sorry for breathing? Sure, I know there are legitimate reasons to apologize and that having manners and respect for others is important. I’m talking about more than that here. What I am trying to get across is that I feel like the me who I am is not satisfactory enough to be accepted at face value. That I simply must apologize for all of the shortcomings I believe to be true of myself, people couldn’t possibly accept me like this. Could they?
I had thought that I was fairly secure in who I was. Up until this realization, I believed that I was happy being me and that I had moved past a lot of the insecurities of young adult-hood. I am questioning that today. I’m beginning to realize that in my “I’m sorry’s” I am failing myself and on top of that I am setting my kids up for a life of the same. When I have to make concessions for the very things that make me “me” I am lessening myself. Is that a thing?
Now that I have realized this frequent string of apologies I have decided to set about righting it. I have a feeling that this is going to take a devoted, conscious effort. I can start by not apologizing to the barista for purchasing something from her, but I need to take this deeper. What is the heart issue? I fear that it can actually be summed up in this simple thought that I have wrestled with before; I am not ______ enough.
I am not smart/pretty/strong/devoted/invested/giving enough.
It lands here; I am not good enough.
But, see, I know that I am. I know my value and my worth are only found in Christ and I am secure in that. I have seen the love my Father in Heaven has for me and I do not question it. I also feel that this world will never really accept me because I know my value and where it is found. I know that God is the enough that I need and that I am never going to be enough without Him. I have to fill in that blank with “I am not, but I know that God is enough”. Now if I know these truths in my heart I must begin to live them out loud. I can no longer timidly ask forgiveness for my strangeness when I feel that my differences are perfectly; me.
I am thankful for this realization, for this deeper look into myself. I’ve made a quiet plan to be un-apologetically me. I suppose this entire post is me apologizing for that in a way. Clearly there is a lot more to process, let’s not go there now as there is no time to begin writing again today. For this moment, this morning, I have decided to take it one interaction at a time, I’m pretty sure I will stumble through at first. It will be difficult to give up words that have become common in my day to day. I’m working on finding replacements for the “I’m sorry’s” that typically escape my mouth.
I’m starting with “Thanks”. I have found that in my life, when I am thankful I am better able to enjoy my situation. I keep track of the things that I am thankful for, and not just the nice things like giggles with my littles at bedtime, but the things that are hard and, eventually bring about good. This thankfulness has brought about change in me that I didn’t really expect and I am optimistic that if I apply it to the times I am normally sorry it will continue to see the benefits. By saying; “Thanks for understanding” instead of “I’m sorry”, I change the entire tone of the conversation. It brings about a connection instead of causing someone to look at me as an inconvenience. At least, my intent is that it will.
As is normal for me, I don’t know what the next step will be or when it will come. The path is winding and the journey is long, at least now I realize that I don’t have to be sorry for walking my own road. I can, and will, be joyful and thankful that I get to take the trail at all. Perhaps, in that, there will be a little more light around the next bend when it comes.