Last weekend I posted something on my personal twitter page that a lot of people disagreed with. I got hate tweets for two days about it, which was baffling to me, because when did having a differing opinion become so offensive to people? Are we all supposed to be cookie cutter versions of one another, never having or voicing a contrasting idea or thought or viewpoint or opinion? How boring would life be if that was the case?
I’ve been going through a personal metamorphosis as of late…one I plan to tell you guys more about in the days and weeks to come…one that hasn’t been easy and has stripped me of many of my long-held ways of thinking and has left me standing rather bare, yet also rather unafraid, in my truth. I’ve discovered that I have a habit of spending way too much time of apologizing for myself, if not always to other people, then in my own mind. Apologizing and excusing and deflecting and feeling embarrassed by my choices and my opinions and at times, even the things that make me happy…rather than just standing boldly and unapologetically and unflinchingly in my truth. However imperfect or embarrassing or wrong that truth may seem to other people.
Almost on cue the other night, I was watching my latest Netflix obsession, Hart of Dixie, and this scene stopped me in my tracks. No, Hart of Dixie isn’t exactly a deep, award-winning, academic show…but there is truth to be found everywhere, even in the simplest places, if you stop judging the source long enough to hear the message.
Wade: Sometimes I just think you’re just the saddest person in the world. You’re always looking over your shoulder wondering what life should be instead of taking it for what it is. You’re not honest about what makes you happy. You what I’m going to do tonight, I’m going to go home and play video games for two or three hours. What I’m not going to do is beat myself up for playing video games instead of saving the world. If I wanted to save the world, hell, I’ll do it tomorrow.
Erls: If you have time between video games.
Wade: EXACTLY! Cause it’s my choice. Just like it was your choice to stay in Bluebell, just like it was your choice to be a G.P. instead of a super sonic space surgeon or whatever. And it was your choice to go to bed with me. Clearly and something about every one of those choices make you happy. The problem is they don’t match up with the picture you have in your head about what your life should be.
Erls: You don’t know as much about me as you think.
Wade: You know what? Maybe you’re right. Maybe I don’t. But I do know this: You wanna be happy, Doc? Change your picture. Or change your life.
Just call me Erls Hart, because I have allowed the picture of who I SHOULD be and what I SHOULD be doing and what my life SHOULD look like to literally blind me to the joyful reality of what my life really is. I’ve been apologizing for so long for who I’m NOT that I haven’t allowed myself to celebrate who I AM. And I’m done. Finished. Absolutely through with walking through my life feeling embarrassed or inadequate or apologetic because I’m not anything other than what I am. In the spirit of this newfound freedom to just be ME…I decided to make out my list of all things about me that I am no longer apologizing for. So here goes…
1) That I’m single.
2) That I’m a woman.
3) That I’m a Christian.
4) That I’m a Democrat.
5) That I’m a feminist. (Or, a “Jesus Feminist,” as coined in one of my favorite books by Sarah Bessey.)
6) That as a writer, I haven’t read many classic books and I don’t care for them very much. (They bore me, in all honesty.)
7) That I can’t cook.
8) That as a movie lover, I haven’t seen many classic films (Again, in all honesty…they bore me. I mean, have you ever tried to watch Citizen Kane? I’d rather watch paint dry.)
9) That I’d rather stay in and read or watch movies or hang with a small group of friends than go out.
10) That I enjoy coloring and eating Cookie Crisp. Sometimes simultaneously. I have a childlike heart that loves childlike things and I’m tired of feeling like I should be embarrassed about it.
11) That I don’t yet own my own home (or much of anything, sans my beloved VW Beetle.)
12) That I’m a TV nerd and I get way too emotionally attached to shows and characters.
These are just the first twelve things I could think of. I’m sure I’ll add more to the list. And I encourage you to make your own list of things about you and your life that you’re no longer apologizing for. This is not to say that because I’m not apologizing for these things about myself, I don’t want to continue to grow and improve and evolve as a person. I do. I want to learn to cook. I hope to be married someday. And I’m even open to watching and reading the classics. I want to be as well-rounded and open-minded and developed person as I can be. I’m not going to stop growing and changing and learning and maturing and getting better. But in the meantime between who I am and who I hope to be…I’m going to let myself off the hook a little and just enjoy the moment.
And I’m not going to apologize for it.