I apologise for nearly everything. Someone bumps into me? I say sorry. It starts to rain while I’m out with someone? I say sorry. I feel I’m not talking enough? I say sorry. If the world were to explode into billions of fragments hurtling into space, I would clutch my shard of home, turn to the nearest person and bellow out the last apology I would ever make with my dying breath. I have a problem.
Apologies are my forte. I punctuate opinions and sudden flares of inspiration with an atonement for the petty sins my mind has reasoned to me. I can’t describe why I feel the world’s imperfection’s lie solely on my shoulders but it’s something I’ve never quite been able to shake. I mean, weather conditions change regularly independent of whether I eat cereal that morning or not so why does such global responsibility fall squarely on my shoulders in my mind?
Honestly, I still don’t know. It’s something I’ve thought about for the better part of the last 5 years and it’s something that still plagues my relationships with friends, strangers and business-y people. At first I thought it was endearing to people, that I cared enough to apologise for things blatantly out of my control but I’ve learned it’s annoying and feels insincere to those I talk to. I’ve been told it dilutes those moments when a “real” apology or justification is required. “It just doesn’t feel sincere when you say it anymore. You apologise for everything.”
They’re right. I’m diluting those moments when I really need it but, I have to admit, I mean every single “I’m sorry”. Every time I utter those forsaken words, I feel responsible for the weather or the mid-crowd collision. What if I’d looked up the forecast beforehand? Or decided that another day would suit? I picked the day or I agreed to the day and brought you out into the misery of this monsoon of Irish weather. What if I’d looked where I was going better? What if I’d anticipated that someone else might not be paying attention? I could have avoided that awkward bump and that angry glare and that stupid “I’m sorry” that I, now, mutter quietly in response.
I’ve managed to make it quieter but it’s still there. This niggling feeling of responsibility to apologise for problems just won’t leave me alone. The odd thing though? The more I say it, the more people hate it and so the more I apologise for apologising. This vicious circle of redemption never seems to end. I’m sorry.