Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Why are we always apologizing for expressing ourselves? -- Guest Post
Today I found out that I have Lyme Disease. It has already invaded my joints, judging from puffy tautness of my left hand knuckles and wrist. I have no memory of yanking a tick from my skin. But that’s beside the point.
Yesterday in my online journal I complained about how much my wrist hurt. Immediately after posting that I posted an apology for whining.
That got me thinking.
It’s a strange business communicating online. On Facebook we’re expected to put on public faces and post photos of our loved ones, or, save that, repost inspirational quotes or photos of cute baby animals. Online journals traditionally eschew that for intimacy with a handpicked built-in audience who will celebrate your joys, comfort you in your grief, help you solve an issue you’re currently experiencing.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is how we’re apt to apologize for complaining online about something.
Doesn’t that sound weird to you?
If we want to vent, whine, or complain about something in our own space why do we suddenly feel the need to apologize? Is it because we shouldn’t express the, shall we say, less sunshiny sides of ourselves? Is it because we’re afraid we’ll alienate our audience? What if we can’t stop whining? Why do we feel we need permission to vent about an actual medical condition?
Maybe our support systems are too preoccupied to listen to our woes. Perhaps our friends live too far away for us to drop in for coffee and a chat.
Maybe we should just shut up, put on the proverbial big girl panties and deal.
BUT WHY DO WE FEEL WE HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR ALL OF THIS?
I sure as hell don’t know. All I know is that I’ve been diagnosed with a disease which, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc not only with my nervous system but also with my short-term memory. I’m already past the too-tired-to-move stage.
As I said in my online journal, I know, in the greater scheme of things, Lyme is a mere blip and it boggles my mind that someone as relatively healthy as me has it.
I apologized in my own online journal because I didn’t want my friends – my audience – to think badly of me. I still have that tiny “what if they don’t like me anymore?” shred left over from junior high. I don’t want them to think I’m tedious or I’ve branded myself as The Woman With Lyme. Ergo, I apologize. In my own space.
Heck, apologizing can just be as tedious as whining.
Here’s a thought: Maybe, just maybe, if we all stopped apologizing we’d be more apt to accept ourselves as the flawed humans we are.
I have Lyme Disease which now explains all the niggling conditions I’ve had for the past few months.
As soon as I finish this I’m going to take my first dose of doxycycline and call it a night.
And I’m not apologizing for it.
Kathi B. is a writer and baker living in New England.