Thursday, 5 April 2018

Screw saying sorry (for living the life YOU want to live)

How many times have you felt the need to apologise for a lifestyle choice? 

Saying sorry profusely for being "boring" because a work colleague or a stranger or an acquaintance is judging you for not living up to a certain expectation? I know I've probably uttered about 12345678 vague apologies in the past just to cast off judgement, a certain expectation I've failed to live up to or a "how boring are you" type of label. In past office jobs I always felt fearful on a Friday as the inevitable "so, what are you doing this weekend?' burning question would be thrown at me. I used to worry, to desperately try and make my plans sound more interesting and exciting than the reality. I felt like a failure because often it sounded as though I wasn't doing much at all. In actual fact I was, but my plans never seemed to quite cut it. 

If Graham was working the weekend then I'd be at home writing my book, driving to Starbucks, reading in the garden and in all honesty? That was about it. This is what I still sometimes get up to on a quiet weekend. I'd feel humiliated, embarrassed and ashamed of my weekend plans, just because other people felt they weren't "cool" enough or "exciting" enough. The worst part? I really felt like a let-down. 

I've never been drunk, smoked a cigarette or done drugs in my 28 years. There is no particular reason for this, other than the fact that I've just never really wanted to do any of those things. End of. It doesn't make me superior or inferior to anybody who has done the aforementioned. But it does mean I shouldn't have to apologise or feel like a let-down for not having done so. I've always felt the need to make an excuse, an apology or conjure up some magical reason for being such a disappointment to society. Not very often does it crop up in conversation that I've never been drunk, but, when it has done, people have been shocked by the admission. Shocked in a way that I might as well have announced I'm Britain's biggest mass murderer, or am planning a global bank robbery or something just as ludicrous. Some people have even seemed upset, disapproving or disappointed. Which is ridiculous, right?

What does it matter what choose to do? Why does it affect them so much? And worse still, why the judgement and disapproval? 

Upon returning to work after a long bank holiday weekend once a colleague had asked me what I'd gotten up to. "Well, Graham and I went to Leeds Castle, to the cinema, that kind of thing." I'd said, quite happily. "Don't you ever do anything?!" She'd retorted in a critical tone. "Yes... we do! We go to the cinema, out and about...' I'd attempted a feeble reply but she'd looked unconvinced. "No, I mean don't you ever go "out? Properly?"" I'm guessing she thought I was some kind of failure for not getting smashed, partying the weekend away and doing whatever else she thought a twenty-something girl should do. I went off to lunch feeling a bit upset, a bit judged. Were we boring? Did we lead mundane lives? Why had her crappy comment affected me so much when five minutes earlier I'd felt more than happy with how we'd spent our weekend? Now I think I would've politely told her to f*ck right off. 

It's funny how you get to that age where you stop feeling like the pathetic person for being judged and start seeing that, in actual fact, the only pathetic person is the one aiming judgement at you

Now I'm nearing the end of my twenties, you start hearing horror stories about the other end of the spectrum. Not: do you? - do you drink? Do you go clubbing? - but: are you? Are you getting married? Having kids? - Fortunately I haven't come across to many people trying to pin point me into marriage and kids and mortgage. My mum made me laugh, though. "You are going to be 28 soon! Don't you want to get married?" Like 28 is some kind of curse and if you haven't tied the knot then all hell will hail. I explained to her, quite simply, that marriage shouldn't be about to happen just because someone is turning 28. It should happen because the time is right and two people decide the time is right for them. I've had it a little bit, the odd person asking personal things and honestly? It's really no one else's business what choice a couple makes. Please stop putting us on the spot, asking probing questions and generally being nosy. Live and let live and if someone isn't making a lifestyle choice that you approve of, then do everyone a favour and just keep quiet. Can we say it louder? LIVE AND LET LIVE!!!

In the past I've often felt the need to apologise for not drinking, partying, etc. 

I've always said things like..... 

"I know, I'm so boring!"
"I'm such an old woman!"
"I'm just really dull, sorry!"
"I'm a lightweight, sorry!"
"Pathetic, isn't it?!"

Yes, it is pathetic. It's pathetic than anybody should be made to feel guilty for living the life they want to lead. Doing or not doing things they want or don't want to do. It's time to say SCREW SAYING SORRY. Why the f*ck should we feel guilty for what we decide to do with our own lives, in our own personal time? Number 1: it's nobody's business. Number 2: we have nothing to feel guilty about! Period.

Why people judge (and why you need to ignore them)
  • NARROW MINDED if they can't accept other people's choices, well... pretty sad!
  • NOTHING BETTER TO DO why else do they care so much about your plans?
  • A BIT PATHETIC, REALLY why else would they pass judgement? (Get a life). 
  • JEALOUSY/INSECURITY a theme here, but why else would they be so bitter? 

Stick to your guns. Stay strong and feel no guilt for doing what you love/not doing what they want/whatever those dicks are making you feel judged about! 

Sometimes hard, but vital. Why the hell do you need to? 

You don't owe anyone an explanation. You don't need to feel guilty! 

Change the subject, make it clear you don't want to talk about the situation further, if they're starting to unsettle you and you feel it's possible, tell them they're making you feel uncomfortable.

If people are making you feel uncomfortable with their judgement, I think it's perfectly okay to call them out. Ask them why it matters what you get up to in your own time. Does it affect them? Explain that you're starting to feel uncomfortable. That you don't want to be criticised for your own choices. 

I hope this post helps anyone out there who needs it. I know I've been judged many a time for not living up to certain expectations but I have nothing to prove & neither do you. Screw saying sorry! Have you dealt with judgemental people?