Saturday, August 06, 2005

Apologies

Below is a apology I wrote to my sister for recent events. Below that is one to my mother, over the same events. I would rather have sent these directly to my family, or even said it to their faces, but 1) I'm a coward, so the face to face is out and 2) I doubt they'd read it if I mailed it to them. So, maybe this will help someone else find the right words some day.


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To my sister:

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you don’t know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t kick you out of my house over a silly argument.

I’m sorry that you believe I’m so shallow that the threat of not getting my loveseat finished would shut me up about something I think is important.

I’m sorry that you didn’t realize that when I said "Goodbye" it meant "You are free to leave whenever you wish. I’m not keeping you here." not "Get out of my house."

I’m sorry that I got so heated over the things we were talking about that I said some things that were vicious and nasty. I have a bad habit of that. I picked up that habit a long time ago, and I haven’t grown out of it yet. My friends, who see me more frequently than you do, all realize that I get hot-headed, and say things I don’t mean. They have learned to forgive me when it happens, because I’m not the only one who does it. I forgot that you didn’t know this about me, and couldn’t take it into account, even if you were inclined to do so.

Mostly, I’m sorry that your feelings got hurt, especially since I caused it. I have always felt very protective of you, even if you never saw it, never noticed it, never cared one way or the other about it. I have never forgotten a single time I hurt you, intentionally or incidentally, at least none of the times I know of. They all hurt me, too. The older I get, the more they hurt me. I don’t expect these words to make this most recent evidence of my hotheadedness go away. I don’t expect you to forget it. As I’ve said, I won’t. But even if you can’t forget, I hope that someday you will forgive.

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To my mother:

I wish you and I could treat each other like adults. You have been one my entire life, and I’ve been one for longer than you’re willing to admit.

You’ve claimed recently that you don’t fight anymore. I don’t believe that. You intentionally picked a fight with me and then were rude to Lena and I. From my perspective (and I’ll admit that it’s only one of many), you haven’t changed much in a decade and a half. You’re still baiting me like you did when I was a teenager.

You claim to want to put the past behind you, and don’t want it "thrown in your face." That would be fine, if you showed one ounce of willingness to let go of the past yourself.

Now, for the apology.

I’m sorry that I forgot these things about you and me. I’m sorry that I’m your favorite sparring partner, and that I let you goad me into a conversation that was bound to end badly. I let you do it. It’s my fault as much as it is yours. I wish it weren’t so, but no one can push me into fight mode faster than you can. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get over that.

If you were some crazy old woman, maybe then I could just let it go, let it wash over me, like I do with all the ignorant people I work with. But you’re my mother. You’re the one who tried to teach me about fairness, principle and protection of human dignity. Whether you realize that that’s what you were doing or not, it took.

You claim that I’m pushing people out of my life. I think what you really mean is that I’m pushing you, among others, out of my life. Well, I’m not trying to do that. I can’t help it if I’m stubborn about what I believe is right and wrong. I don’t ask anyone to agree with me about politics or anything else, for that matter. All I ask is that if you want to have your say, then I get mine. If you think that’s pushing people away, then all I can say is that you spend your time with the wrong people. My best friends in the world disagree with me on a lot of things. They know I disagree with them on those things. We can discuss them like adults. You and I used to be able to discuss issues like that without getting into fights. I remember a lot of discussions when I was a teenager about things like abortion, the ethics of war and a bunch of other stuff that we can’t even mention to each other, apparently.

I am sorry that I projected all those "standard" conservative values on you, though. It was unfair, and I shouldn’t have done it. I don’t know if you’re anti-gay rights or not. I doubt I ever will, now. You’re good at punishing me like that, by withholding information. It used to infuriate me as a child, and it still does. Another character flaw of mine, I suppose.

Again, I wish you and I were better at this whole parent/adult son thing. I wish I wasn’t so mean to you when you make me mad. I wish you weren’t so good at making me mad in the first place. I’m more sorry than you will probably ever believe that what happened, happened. I hope that some day, you’ll forgive me for it. I don’t like the past being held against me any more than you do.

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Those were hard words for me to write the first time. It's not really any easier to put them up here. I know that this site is supposedly anonymous, but my friends (and maybe my family) will all someday read this, if they aren't already. They know who and what I'm talking about in detail. Saying I'm sorry has never been easy for me. It's that stupid cocky side of my personality again, I suppose.

A word of free advice, keeping in mind that you get what you pay for:

Don't let yourself get into a position where you have to come up with words like this. It sucks out loud.

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"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain

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Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu