Anatomy of an apology

Hello readers,

Today’s blog post was completely unplanned, but I feel it’s really important for me to share it.

I was reading something online today, and reference was made to a comment that was negative. Guess what? I am 99.6% sure that negative comment was made by me.


So, I read that, and I felt it. It stung. I didn’t like that feeling. I felt ashamed and caught out and guilty, and defensive.

Quick – I need a distraction!

I went to do the dishes. Desperate times, right….

While I was doing the dishes I was engaged in an internal argument with several voices competing for my loyalty – ah, the joys of a multi-track mind.

One track was justifying myself, kidding myself that I didn’t really mean what I’d said, that the person was overreacting, that I now had cause to feel offended because of their response. That’s an old, old voice in my head. Duck and weave. Duck and weave. Just get the focus OFF what I did, and quick.

Another track was thinking, shit Annette, you’ve fallen back into thoughtlessness AND BEEN CALLED OUT ON IT! I hate the internet.

Another track was telling me to apologise, immediately.

After five or ten minutes of back and forth between these competing voices, I knew which voice to listen to.

Thankfully it was the one telling me to apologise.

Apologise. Do it now. Don’t waffle on, just say you were wrong (which I was) and that you are sorry (which I am).

Attractive stuff, right?

Has writing this broken the no. 1 blogging commandment – be all shiny and happy and look at what I made and how neat my house is and how I face adversity with grace, blah, blah, blah? No, I don’t think so. Those days are over, at least for the kind of blogs I like to read, and the one I’m determined to write.

As an interesting counter-melody, today’s FatMumSlim PhotoADay prompt is ‘Can’t Live Without’. Earlier this morning, I’d been thinking about what I’d post for that and how I’d capture it in a photo, and I was actually thinking that rather than be glib (HA! sweet irony) and say chocolate (which I can’t imagine living without) I’d go for something more meaningful, perhaps words, or language, or community.

And then I read about my negative stupidity and practically bolted away from my computer.

I’ve written the apology. I have no control over whether it will be received or believed. That’s okay – well actually, that sucks – but I was wrong and all I can do was say that, I was wrong, I am sincerely sorry. So I did that.

I rejected the temptation to write a long message, including the things the other voices wanted me to write – oh that’s just the way I am, I didn’t mean anything by it, diluting my apologies with justifications, avoidance, diversions… nope. I’m not going to pour salt into the wound by being a dickhead TWICE.

Any apology with the word ‘if’ in it – you know the ones the lawyers or HR Department craft, the kind politicians use after saying poor people don’t drive… I think they are a waste of time. Had I written “if my mean comment on the internet hurt you, I’m sorry” it would be doubly offensive.

There’s something really powerful and important that today has reminded me of – when I am wrong, when I use my words as weapons, or to withhold encouragement or praise, it is actually a profoundly valuable thing to be called out on that. It’s not pleasant, but it is necessary for my growth. I needed to feel ashamed and have that argument with myself, to come to the right choice and try and make amends for what I did. So there’s that, and don’t do that anymore.

So, there you have it dear readers. As well as being someone who has many good qualities, I can also be an idiot. Who knew? (I did.)

I think I’ve settled on an idea for the #fmsphotoaday picture.

Thanks for listening.