The world loves for us to apologize, doesn’t it? I don’t mean being remorseful over making a solid mistake, I am talking about the practice of feeling so incredibly pathetic and inadequate that we apologize simultaneously within a strain of honesty. In fact, we are so skilled at this subtle art of sorry that we don’t even have to utter the word… We deliver the message within tones indicative of the inevitable disappointment that we are surely bestowing upon those around us. A coworker may ask where we want to grab lunch and we know full well that we can not afford to go to lunch, and also that we brought leftovers from last night. So, instead we might scramble for excuses, as if having tight finances somehow makes us less than. We turn down the slice of cake with apologies about our diet, shame about our intolerances, etc. We do this with the small things, and the larger things. I’m sorry I dated people before I met you, I’m sorry that I can’t have a baby, I’m sorry that I have issues tied to past trauma… While we should become well practiced at being remorseful for hurts we’ve caused, there is never a reason to apologize about ourselves.
Take note- you probably subtly apologize forty times, in a given day. Ashamed you drank that coke, embarrassed you chose that movie, a mix of both shame and embarrassment that you love that band… Will people ridicule you for it? Maybe… But so what? We can’t all love the same things.
A few weeks ago my bff K was here visiting, and she was teasing me (lovingly, of course) for being obsessed with the Masked Singer. She couldn’t believe it when we encountered another friend who also loved the show. She thought we were both crazy because that show “looks absolutely ridiculous.” Sure, I could have not watched it that Wednesday, since she was here. That isn’t the choice I made. I giddily sat down to watch, and she sat there too, and it turned out it wasn’t quite what she thought. She found it interesting, and though that’s awesome, I wouldn’t have been hurt if she’d hated it. Are you a 47 year old woman who still listens to Brittany on your morning commute? That’s cool. Are you a grown adult who keeps Otter Pops in your freezer? Is your favorite food Kraft Mac & Cheese, but you embarrassingly pretend it is Rack of Lamb instead? Are you obsessed with Dr. Pimple Popper and a closet watcher of those things that ooze? Also cool… Whatever it is, (within legal and ethical boundaries obviously, I’m not a maniac) it’s fine. Bottom line: Give yourself the freedom to be you as authentically as possible, every single chance you can.
My very favorite movie is a little known French film entitled Amelie’. (In case you actually haven’t heard of it- that was a joke. It’s a world wide, award winning movie.) In it, the narrator takes a moment to talk about the unusual things that each character loves and derives great pleasure from. I think about it often- what my things are.
Let me ask you now, what are those simple, every day pleasures that bring you the sort of happiness that money can’t buy? (these things, they aren’t embarrassing, they are not things to be ashamed of. Love yourself and embrace yourself, quirks and all…) So, seriously, right now- grab a pad of paper and make a list. Listen to that precious, inner you and what they whisper to you. It matters. If you feel so bold, reply to this email or leave a comment and share a few…
My simple pleasures that bring me a happiness money can’t buy:
- lowercase letters where capital letters “belong”. It’s wrong. People judge. I don’t care. (Someone once told me it was a sign of a writer’s insecurity. Nah- it is just an odd thing that I take a thrill in.)
- using the ellipsis…
- the smell of fresh cut pears.
- salt on watermelon.
- K-pop & K-drama.
- dogs. ALL. of the dogs.
- shapes of clouds.
- the smell just above my husband’s lip, but just below his nose. (it is my favorite thing in the whole world- and it is free!)
- walking barefoot in the grass/barefoot on the beach.
- the sound of a baseball bat cracking as it hits a ball.
- equally- the sound a paddle makes, as it dips into the water. (when I was a little girl I would “row” my hands in the bathtub over and over and over again. It both thrills and soothes me.)
- that moment when you learn you have something unique in common with someone. (I wish I’d began a journal decades ago, collecting those moments.)
- Entertainment awards shows.
- researching who people are, behind their celebrity.
- watching bunnies/birds/squirrels in the yard.
- the smell of clean laundry.
- a heavy quilt, at the end of a long day.
- eating a soft serve ice cream cone with a spoon.
- Monopoly. (Sorry- not sorry!)
- And as previously mentioned- the Masked Singer.