I find myself apologizing for a lot of things: bumping into mannequins, getting angry with someone, burning a cheese pizza, accidentally dropping my almost-three-year-old niece.
And for those things, I usually am sorry. Maybe not the mannequin part, but if it was a real person, then yes.
But what I’m not sorry for is my appearance and the way I am.
“Sorry I didn’t put any makeup on.”
“Sorry we’re squished in the back seat. My thighs and butt are too big.”
“Sorry my anxiety is acting up and I can’t go out tonight.”
“Sorry I didn’t finish the paper, I had a mental breakdown.”
“Sorry for the scars on my thighs. I’ll try to keep them covered in the summer.”
“Sorry my hair is a mess.”
I’ve spent so much of my life being self-conscious of who I am and what I look like. I was never the “pretty girl” in school, nor will I ever be. It takes a long time to be okay with that fact, but it’s slowly becoming easier. I don’t cover my face with makeup or make sure my hair looks fabulous all the time. It’s just not who I am, and I refuse to apologize for it.
Yes, my thighs and butt are big, but that’s okay because I’m learning to love them. Yes, my thighs have scars on them. I’ve always been self-conscious of them, especially in the summer when everyone wears short shorts and bikini bottoms. I’m the person who usually has an awkward leg tan because I’m always making sure my scars aren’t in plain sight. But you know what? I don’t care anymore. Yes, they’re there. Yes, they’re from what you probably think they are. They’re a part of me now, and that’s okay. So damn it, I will wear bikini bottoms and swim with my friends and lay out in the sun just like you.
Sometimes my anxiety gets the best of me and I literally can’t do anything besides curl up in bed and cry. I know that some people understand and don’t push me. I also know that several others don’t understand, and I have to learn to not let their lack of understanding get to me. I’ve had to email several professors to request an extension on my papers due to mental breakdowns. It embarrassed me at first, but I don’t care about that anymore. People break and need time to mend. So if that means asking for a few extra days on a paper, then so be it. My health and sanity come first. It’s not a crime to fall apart sometimes.
If my scars, hair, body, or lack of makeup offend you, then as my dad says: “Use your neck muscles and look the other way.”
I will not apologize for who I am or what I look like.