It always seemed like I was saying sorry because I was really sorry, but for what, I did not always know. I was sorry for bothering people, or talking too much, or just because. In one word, I could smooth over whatever offense (real or imagined) there was.
People eventually started to tell me to stop saying I’m sorry all the time. This of course did not work, and usually I would just say it more.
In one word, I could smooth over whatever offense (real or imagined) there was.
Within the past year or so, though, I stopped saying sorry so much and for random reasons. I never thought about it again until this past holiday season when I suddenly relapsed. Finally someone asked me, “Why do you keep saying you’re sorry?”
I had to think about it. I always thought it was because I didn’t want to bother people or frustrate them. But then my mother said, “Maybe it is because YOU ARE SORRY YOU EXIST.” That hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course that’s not it!, I thought. But then I thought about it more, and specifically back to when it started.
So the reason I say sorry for no reason is not actually for no reason.
I am saying sorry for my disability and mental health issues.I am saying sorry for being who I am.
From a very young age I learned to hate myself and the part of me that made me “disabled.” For as long as I can remember, I felt that my family would be the perfect family if it wasn’t for me causing fights between my parents and misbehaving at holidays. I learned that me asking questions, and other aspects of my personality, were annoying or a hindrance to people. So the reason I say sorry for no reason is not actually for no reason. I am saying sorry for my disability and mental health issues. I am saying sorry for being who I am. Most of all I am saying sorry for existing.
So it is important to ask, WHY am I saying “Sorry”?
Founder of Jason’s Connection – an online resource for those with disabilities, mental health, aging and other needs. Jason was awarded an M.S. in Cultural Foundations of Education and Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies from Syracuse University. Jason is also a Project Coordinator and Research Associate at the Burton Blatt Institute, an international think tank for Disability Rights and Human Justice at Syracuse University. He regularly contributes to the blog in his own series called Jason’s View and travels the country consulting and speaking about disability issues and rights. To read more from Jason Harris, read Jason's View.