I’m not doing much these days.
Sure, my usual things. Trying not to ruin a kid. Day job working. Attempting a relationship. I’m not putting out much writing work that’s worth advertising. I’m sure not getting any acting work. Which I should probably not at all be advertising. (Casting directors: It’s a self-imposed hiatus. I promise. For training and focusing. Truly. Sorry. I’ll be available. But, like always, my availability is limited. And, also like always, my hair looks nothing like it does in my head shots. Sorry. Call me.)
Not much. But you know what I am doing? Apologizing. Saying I’m sorry.
By the barrels. To everyone. And they’re sincere apologies. To me, they really are. Each one. Not some silly, flippant self-entitled sorries. The flagrantly vapid ones perpetrated by toddlers and teenagers and mafia hitmen in confessionals. The ones where just the perceived debasing act of apologizing is thought to absolve any wrongdoing or general, albeit intentional-at-the-time, assholery on the part of the perpetrator. No. I’m putting some earnest mea culpas out into the world. Because I feel like I should. Could just be the way back Jewish ancestry or the twelve years of Catholic school. But I feel like I’m letting everyone in my life down in a big, bad way. I know I’m coming up short and I want to be sure that it’s hard that I recognize not only that fact, but that I see with bright clarity that it’s not all right. And I want to properly apologize for it.
These are just the sorries I sounded off today:
- To my son, who I snapped at as we tried to hustle out the door to school. Kinda negated the fun of looking up our daily joke. (Doctor, doctor, I broke my leg in two places! Then, don’t go back to those two places.) I apologized for the snap and the joke.
- To my always understanding and awesome girls at work, who got my sorry as I came in late from school drop off. These are all business-handling working mothers, making it happen everyday on their own, who frankly don’t have time for my shit or my apologies about it.
- To every patient we made wait today. Because health care is always over-booked and short-staffed and excuses don’t make it any better.
- To the other reluctant participant of a relationship I’m really bad at supporting. This one was for letting me unload my bad brain thoughts and frustrations. There’s been not a small number of those lately. My thumb seems to always be on the scale for my side and that’s not fair. Doesn’t inspire next-step confidence and I know and regret that.
- A second time on the way out the door to my superwomen at work, for not staying later to help finishing bailing the ship. They all deserve raises. Big ones.
- To my son, again, and my mom, for being late to collect everyone after I finished work. No food court, MSG-laden noodles for us tonight because I was way behind schedule for birthday shopping.
- One more to the kid when we couldn’t find what he was looking for in the way of birthday swag. (Although that one may not have been on me. Far as I know, I am not the purchasing manager for that particular electronics outlet.)
- And again, to the young man, for keeping him out late. Because I should be able to bend the rules of time and physics when it comes to school night shopping. And we know how kids hate to stay up past bed time.
- Last one of the night, I think, was a muttered, exasperated exalt to anyone listening. Might have been to the driver behind me, laying on the horn, because I didn’t jump the red light and actually waited for the green. Could have been to my mother who was bothered by that jackweed driver’s noisy reminder. Could have been a one-last-time-for- good-measure sorry for my son, who was fast asleep in the back seat and missed the pathos of the whole thing. Don’t know. Just know I was sorry.
By my count, which shouldn’t be trusted, that’s nine big ones. Just today. Is that a lot? Too many? Not nearly enough? I have no idea.
I do know I feel guilty all the time. I always feel like there is an “I’m sorry” to be sent out there somewhere. Does that instinctive, emetic ask for forgiveness instead dilute the potency of a truly uttered and said-in-real-remorse apology? I hope not.
Because I really am sorry for all the things I’m not. For the things I don’t seem to be able to do or be to the people I care about, even if a true and aggressive effort is made on my part. If we go Jung, maybe I’m sorry for all the ugly things I’ve done to and thought about the little blonde girl who grew up to be me. But that’s a pretty tangled-up mind-storm for a plain, cold Tuesday. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. Maybe I do need to stay up later, cook more, read more, bake cookies. Maybe just pay more attention. Maybe try less and stop circling around my own head. Just be and stop apologizing and do.
Something to consider for tomorrow. But, for tonight, still twisting and twining thoughts about what I screwed up and what needs fixed. In what I say and the actions I choose. And in me. So more pauses and delays and sudden stops and un-signalled turns until I figure out what’s causing that catch and clunk in my particular engine. I’m trying to learn how to live and not apologize. It will take a while.
And I’m really sorry about that.