But throughout this whole ordeal, I kept apologizing.I do this, too. I'm constantly saying, "Oh, I'm sorry." Had a bad day? I'm sorry. You didn't get that promotion you wanted? So sorry. You made a mistake, and I'm the one who's sorry. We have a joke with some friends that everything is always Chris's fault, but Ed will apologize.
For what? I'm not sure.
Maybe for being a bother to the waitress and manager? That makes no sense, because it wasn't like I was making outrageous demands. These were simple requests that were not out of the ordinary because they were right (the coupon and the ticket).
It was like I was apologizing for my existence. Why say you're sorry when you're not the one at fault? Unless you're just used to apologizing all the time.
Which I am.
Maybe it's just because, through the years of being fat, I've come to always apologize simple for existing, for getting in the way, for causing any sort of problem.Yeah, I know that feeling. Anyway, in her comments, I talked about some of my favorite books, The Liaden series by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I'd mangled my way around one of the things someone says, trying to explain my point. Unfortunately, I both misremembered the quote, and actually mashed together two separate conversations, so I'll repeat them here for your benefit.
"I'll never live it down." [Priscilla] sighed. "Will it help if I say I'm sorry?"
"Are you sorry? You might ask me to forgive it, if you think I'm offended. But Liadens don't in general say that they're sorry. It's an admission of guilt, you see. Asking forgiveness acknowledges the other person's right to feel slighted, hurt, or offended without endagering your right to act as you find necessary."Conflict of Honors, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
"... Liadens are very formal. Very--structured. There are six ways to ask forgiveness--six different postures, six distinct phrases, and six seperate bows--and none of the six are what a Terran would call an apology. Apologies are--very rare."Plan B, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Sometimes I wish we had a High Liaden (the formal speach, used for speaking with all but the closest of friends and relatives) and a Low Liaden. High Liaden has several different modes (Adult to Adult, Pilot to Pilot, Younger Sibling to Elder, to a Delm Not One's Own, and even such obscurities as Parents of One's Most Valued Mentor...) which allows people to express themselves in relation to the status of the other speaker, to give honor where honor is due, and of course, to very subtly insult someone. (Sticking to Low Liaden when someone else is speaking High is considered VERY rude. But some people can get away with it.)
In any case, the comments that Allison made on her blog reminded me very much of these scenes. Do we (fat women) apologize too much, because we think we are at fault? That our existence is causing a problem for someone else?
Is is also a little bit of self-martyrdom. By apologizing - for the lousy day - am I taking on a burden that isn't mine, for the purposes of making the other person acknowledge me?
"God, it's been a tough day at work today."
"You didn't do anything! You're fine. Perfect, even. It's just..."
Am I secretly asking to be reassured that it's not my fault? That I'm not the reason the other person is upset or angry?
It's a little reminder to myself. I don't need to apologize for being here. I don't need to apologize for taking up space, for being human, or for the weather. I can express sympathy without accepting, or offering, any blame.
Apologies should be rare.