Sometimes Sorry Isn't Enough

I low-key wish I had a better, more legitimate, reason as to why I’ve been gone for so long, but the truth is that the past few months have really put me through the wringer emotionally and I couldn’t focus on repairing myself and my relationships and function as “Sexology Bae”. It felt disingenuous.

Instead of spending 18 paragraphs going into detail about everything that has gone wrong in my life recently, I found it better to welcome myself back into the blogosphere with a reflection and unpacking of the lessons I’ve learned over the past few months. My general goal as a writer is to write things I’d want to read, and this is something I really need to hear right now.

In relationships, romantic, platonic, or whatever, we’re bound to do things that hurt people we care about. Sometimes it’s by accident. Other times it’s an intentional lashing out because of our own pain. And occasionally it’s that fucked up I-know-what-I’m-doing-is-wrong-but-I-don’t-want-to-consider-consequences-right-now-because-I-think-the-short-term-benefit-is-worth-it. It might even be a combination of the three, but the point of it is that the result is the same—someone you care about is hurt and it’s almost completely up to you to fix it.

 Image of the author, 2018.

Image of the author, 2018.

I don’t believe in taking complete ownership over anyone’s healing but my own for a myriad of reasons, but we have some measure of accountability to people we’ve hurt. It’s hard to process when you’re as apologetic as can be but that isn’t enough. Vowing to change your actions—and actually changing them—might not be enough. I’ve had to sit with this feeling for a while now, and let me tell you, it’s not fun.

What do you do when you’ve done all the “right” things and still get hit with “i’m good luv, enjoy” or the more timely “thank u, next”? If you’re me, you wallow in self-pity, completely isolate yourself, and pray that the other person (or people) comes around and doesn’t leave you hanging. And then you eventually face reality and start to move on with your life knowing that you’re the friend/ex/lover/whoever that someone thinks about when they have a flash of emotional pain.

Not owing anyone forgiveness is a very powerful sentiment and one that I agree(d) with, until I was on the receiving end of it. Don’t get me wrong, I still agree with it now, but it SUCKS to move on and take your L knowing that there’s a very good chance someone you once had an extremely strong connection with wants absolutely nothing to do with you ever again, and it’s your fault. We want to believe that we’re fundamentally good people and because we’re good people, our mistakes can and should be forgiven regardless of their actual impacts on another person.

This may come across as me trying to position people who hurt people as the true victims. Let me clearly state, I am not trying to do that at all. If you’re an abuser or otherwise intentionally cause people harm you can go straight to hell. What I am saying though, is that we are all people, capable of very genuine and very horrible sometimes-unintentional mistakes.

No one should feel obligated to hold grace for someone who caused them harm, though, and that’s a very painful lesson I think we all learn at some point or another in our lives when we’re the offending party. Right now is that time for me.

As someone who’s caring to a fault and more often than not puts the needs of others ahead of my own, I’ve mostly been the injured party in my dealings with others, not the one who caused hurt. But I’m on the other side of the fence now and working to heal the pieces of myself that were broken enough to allow me to hurt others and find comfort in these lessons. It’s easy to go on an apology tour with the people you’ve hurt and run down the list of ways you can (and have) change(d) in order to convince them you’re worthy of being part of their life again. It’s harder to do that and live with knowing that, at least for right now, it’s not good enough. And very well may not ever be.

Yes, time heals wounds and changes our perspectives, but I’m not banking on that. There’s always a chance it might not and I’ll end up in a worse situation than before trying to make amends with someone when I spent months or years refusing to confront myself and my actions because I thought it would all turn around for me.

I’m coming to terms with being okay with not being okay with what I’ve done and the resulting fallout. It’s something I have to carry with myself, and much like accepting any other flaw undoing the shame and stigma of being a kind of shitty person is sticky because it’s new territory for me. But I’m back, as much as I can be, with new perspectives and a lot of growth I’m ready to share with you all.