So, in the past month I’ve seen these articles: Sorry, We’re Not Sorry: The 20 Things Women Should No Longer Have To Apologize For and 18 Things Men Shouldn’t Apologize For.
And I would definitely say that I enjoyed each one for its boldness, accuracy, and perspective.
These articles got me thinking… I took notice of how both authors were able to cover things that most women and men can relate to and/or have experienced criticism for and I appreciated the overall relevance of the articles… but it sparked something else inside me, too.
There is one thing that I feel individuals, both male and female, are judged for on a daily basis.
For the way they speak and who they choose to speak to, the way they dress, where they come from, what they believe in, the interests and dreams they have, the way they laugh, the music they listen to, whether they go out on the weekend or stay in, the list goes on and on…
I used to think that, in college, judgement and mean people would cease to exist. I don’t know why. Or maybe I do. Because everyone always tells you that and they act like that’s how it will be.
And every time some drama brews or someone is rude to you between 9th and 12th grade you think, “Damn I can’t wait to graduate and go to _________ college where everyone will just be nice and chill and accepting, I won’t have to deal with this anymore, blah blah blah.”
Don’t get me wrong, college is fantastic and there are far more people who fit the “nice, chill, and accepting” description than in high school, simply because we are getting older and maturing, but it’s not the utopia I had expected since age 15. It’s not just college that allows for all this to exist, it’s just life.
Whether you’re 12, 20, or 50 there is always going to be someone or something that challenges you. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but this is just the reality. It could be a fellow student or a coworker or whoever; you’re just not going to mesh with everyone.
So, why change who you are? Because no matter what, you cannot please everyone.
I am still in the process of accepting this. I have struggled with it since middle school (AKA: hell), but I know deep down that I do not have to like everyone and not everyone has to like me.
I’ve realized that that’s fine because I like me. I truly like who I am, what I stand for, and what I am working towards in my life.
So without further adieu, here are 11 things that I, Mallory St.George, simply will not apologize for:
1) My social media presence. I am fully aware that I tweet a lot. I also Instagram, use Snapchat, and post on Facebook a lot, too. I’m a millennial. I’m a member of Generation Y. I grew up in Silicon Valley. I am majoring in Journalism for gosh sakes, which in this day and age is undoubtedly intertwined with online media. So, big surprise, I love it.
I love condensing a message into 140 characters, I can look at a photo and know what filter you used (even if you double-filtered), I even use hashtags in my lecture notes. Okay… maybe that last one is kind of weird, but #whatever.
2) My inner child. I turned 20 last week and I legitimately asked for a plush Disney Pocahontas doll for my collection of Disney Princess dolls. I love juice boxes and I enjoy watching Hannah Montana, Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and That’s So Raven episodes on YouTube. For my birthday my mom also gave me this pink, plastic water bottle for kids from the Target $1 section with a little princess on it and the phrase, “Learning How To Dance” on it. It was a joke gift……. and I love it. I have it next to me right now.
3) My alone time. I don’t just enjoy and crave time to myself, I need it. If I don’t have at least 30 minutes of time to myself on a daily basis I will feel overwhelmed and grumpy. My mom is the same way and so is my brother. If I choose to take my dinner into a separate room, it’s nothing personal. I just need a break from being around people in general. I have gotten sushi, gone to the movies, and even to a concert alone. Yes, by choice. It’s awesome. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me.
4) What I choose to and not to eat. Whether it be Brie cheese, Taco Bell, a pizza bagel, or a $12.00 sandwich, I am really not sorry for my love of food. Do I care how many calories are in my Crunchwrap Supreme (no tomatoes)? Nope. Because it’s not like I sit around all day doing nothing. I am an active person and as a result of that my body is just the way I like it. So when I refuse cake, it’s not because I’m worried about “getting fat”, it’s because I legitimately do not like the way it tastes. Same goes for cupcakes and Hot Cheetos. I just don’t like the taste, so sue me.
5) My values. I am Christian, but I do not consider myself a largely religious person. I believe in God and I pray in both good times and bad times, I believe in Heaven, and I agree with a lot of what the religion teaches. There are, however, certain things that more extremist Christians believe that I simply cannot agree with. Does this mean I’m not a “true Christian”? I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s what He is going to judge me for. I believe that it’s more important to be a good person because that’s how I was raised. I wasn’t raised in any religion. And to me that’s what Christianity is about: acceptance, forgiveness, and love.
6) My red lipstick. I discovered the power of red lipstick in high school and now I know I will never ever give it up. I don’t wear it every day, but even if I did, who cares? Having Fruit Punch-colored lips that pack a punch is just another way to boost my mood. I don’t wear it for anyone else, I wear it for me. I once had a fellow student who worked at KCPR, Cal Poly’s radio station, with me notice it. He told me that I didn’t need to wear lipstick for the radio because “no one is even going to see what I look like”. Oh, I’m sorry, were you under the impression that that’s the only reason I want to wear it? Try again.
7) My weirdness. I honestly think everyone has a weird side, but I feel like I am often told by my friends that I am extra weird. Well you know what? My dad always said, “Weird is good. Strange is bad.” So as long as I manage not to cross that border, fine, call me “weird” because I totally am. I am fully aware of my sense of humor, awkward tendencies, and odd quirks. But I will continue to snort when I laugh (mostly because I can’t help that) and pour my milk before my cereal.
8) Speaking my mind. Now this something I used to do a lot. Up until about my senior year of high school I would never hesitate to voice my opinion, but there are things that have happened in the past two years in many realms of my life (from team sports to relationships to professional situations to friendships) that have made me more silent. And anyone who knows me knows that “silent” is usually not the word to describe me. I have elected to no longer let this be the case. I am going to do my best to tell my peers when it is inappropriate to use “gay” and “retarded”, I am going to be as feminist as I please, I am going to stand up for myself, and I am not going to let peer pressure or group mentality scare me from speaking up.
9) My body. I used to hate my thighs… that was until I realized there is no reason to be ashamed of muscle that has resulted out of 10 years of soccer, 3 of track, and 6 of dance. The same goes for my feet. They’re ugly and there is simply no denying that, in fact it’s almost laughable how callused and wrecked they are from dance, but I literally just don’t care. I love my feet and my thighs and my uneven eyelids that make me look like a sad puppy. I love every part of my body that was ever ridiculed. I love my freckles and moles and big cheeks and knees and every part of my body from my skin to my bones. There is nothing that will ever devalue it. There is nothing that will ever devalue anyone’s body.
10) My outgoingness. Is that even a word? I don’t care. My blog, my rules. I have been outgoing in every sense of the word since I was a toddler. Just remember, just because someone does not shy away from attention does not mean that they are always seeking it. I have also always loved making friends and have found it comes naturally because I genuinely believe that the majority of people lead interesting and dynamic lives. You can never meet enough people and never make enough friends. Every individual can contribute new perspectives and indirectly or directly teach you something valuable. I will forever be the girl raising her hand in class without a second thought. Okay, I will forever be the girl doing MOST things without a second thought. I rarely get embarrassed. #YOLO
11) My “issues” because EVERYONE has them.
You know that quote:
and it’s 100% true. You, reader, are either fighting a battle at this very moment or have fought one or 1,000 in the past, and we will both fight many more throughout the rest of our lives. It is rare to escape these battles unscathed… whether they be with ourselves, our family, friends, or the world around us. We all have triggers and fears and a plethora of other “problems” both big and small as a result of our past. There is nothing wrong with that. You need not be ashamed of these parts of you that have resulted from what you have been through.
I am not going to apologize for my OCD or anxiety because they are parts of me. You do not need to apologize for your depression or eating disorder or parents’ divorce. Your so-called “issues” are beautiful because they make you YOU and they are going to help you grow as a person. We’re going to grow into even more beautiful people when we work through these things. It’s so easy to forget this when you’re sinking in your struggles like an ant in quicksand, I do it often. But at the end of the day I know God will not give me anything that I can’t handle. I am proud to have “issues” because we all do and that makes me human. #yayimnotanalien
So… *takes a deep breath* those are 11 of the things that I will simply not apologize for. You may be wondering (or you may not be, but I’m going to keep rolling with this anyways), what I will apologize for.
I will apologize if I hurt your feelings. I will apologize if I have done wrong. I will apologize if I have incorrectly assumed. I will apologize if I was not honest. I will apologize if I flaked. I will apologize if I have been MIA or unreliable. I will apologize if I made a rude comment. I will apologize if I do not follow through. I will apologize if I forget something important. I will apologize if I don’t do my best. I will apologize if I am ungrateful.
I will apologize for a lot, but being me is not one of the things that list.