There's a thing that happens when you're a few years from 30 and you have a child and you find yourself to be a relatively stable adult.
You listen to the angsty songs that defined your high school career and you look back at pictures that highlight drunken states you definitely don't remember and you watch Good Burger reunions with tears in your eyes.
You remember old lovers and lost relationships and now-foreign friends and you contemplate the minuscule chances of you actually ending up exactly where you are in this nostalgic moment.
And, for me, when I look back at my life, I realize that I have spent the majority of my time apologizing.
I've apologized for moments I couldn't control and choices I didn't make and decisions that weren't mine. I've apologized for taking up space or existing in a way that wasn't conducive to someone else's or simply being my authentic self. I've apologized for speaking my mind or asking questions or trying something new.
And now, I'm done.
I'm done saying sorry for the way in which I've used my body. I won't apologize for the number of lovers I've had or how much sex I've enjoyed or how promiscuous I've been. I won't apologize for expressing a very natural part of myself, especially when it makes me feel beautiful and exotic and fulfilled. I won't apologize for exploring a sexuality that is fluid and changing and gorgeous.
I'm done saying sorry for the clothes I wear. My wardrobe choices are not for the men who may see me or the society that may judge me. I put on that skirt because I liked how it made my legs looked. I wore those shoes because I like how slim they made me appear. I wore that shirt because my shoulders are worth exposing. I wore those yoga pants because, you guessed it, they're comfortable as hell.
I'm done saying sorry for claiming ownership over my reproductive abilities. I will not whisper about my choice to terminate a pregnancy I was incapable of nurturing. I will not murmur for being self-aware enough to know I couldn't be a good mom. I will not look at the ground when I purchase "Plan B" because our tried-and-true birth control methods failed. I will not live my life regretful and shamed, for deciding when to become a mother on my own terms and of my own volition.
I'm done saying sorry for having a voice. While I am consciously respectful of another person's right to disagree or think differently, I won't hide my opinion because another believes it to be wrong. I will not apologize for telling my own story, even if it makes someone uncomfortable or uneasy or exhausted. I will not pepper my truth with calculated suppression or thoughtful censorship, for the benefit of those who may or may not hear it.
I'm done saying sorry for being emotional. My capacity for empathy is not a weakness, but a strength. The heart that hangs slightly past my sleeve is not weak, but tried and true and strong. Crying for those who are experiencing pain doesn't mean that I want to make a situation about myself, it means that I am willing to shoulder a burden that is breaking the backs of my siblings in humanity.
I'm done saying sorry for the ways in which my body has been sexualized. I won't cower in a bathroom or cover my child's head when breastfeeding. I won't dress more conservatively or hide portions of my body because others find them to be distracting. I won't diminish the power of my body, because it is viewed as f*ckable instead of functioning.
I'm done saying sorry for being selfish. In partnership and parenthood, I have recognized the important need for self-care. I will not be made to feel guilty for leaving my son with my partner and taking time to appreciate silence or an open road or a newly-manicured nail. I will not be made to feel foolish for admitting when I can no longer handle a particular situation, and admitting that I need help.
I'm done spending the majority of my time, apologizing.
And while it will come as no surprise that in my past, present, and -- no doubt -- my future, I falter and fail and make mistakes that warrant a heartfelt apology, I will not willfully give my sympathetic voice to those who do not deserve it.
I have spent too much of my time apologizing, for simply being a woman.
I am no longer sorry. I am me.