Written by: Emily Blair, the sister of Morgan (founder of Unpolished), co-director, and logistical mind behind Unpolished Journey.
What does it mean to truly stop apologizing for who we are?
That’s a great question, right?
What we mean here at Unpolished when we say “apologize for who they are” is to say that someone feels it is necessary to suppress their authentic self and rather adopt characteristics they think society will accept.
I have a message, actually quite a few messages, to those out there who are continuing to apologize for who they are.
To the girl who apologizes for wearing unique/different/abnormal clothes, stop apologizing for your authenticity. Keep going against the norm. Keep wearing dresses that go down past your knees or accessorizing with that new head wrap you bought last weekend. Keep embracing your unique style.
To the boy who feels pressured to try out for sports but truly loves theater, stop apologizing for your admiration of theater. Although your parents or friends may look down on the theatrical world, their opinions do not dictate yours. It’s your life, your decisions, and your opinions. You DO NOT have to apologize for deciding not to pursue a life filled with football or basketball. I say make the decision to act, to sing, to dance – to do what you truly love.
To the college student who desires to be a teacher but chose a medical path due to her parents’ demand, stop apologizing for choosing a meaningful career over a monetary-based one. Being a teacher is one of the most underappreciated jobs and deserves to be respected so much more than it currently is. I ask that you pursue the degree that makes you happy and fills you up. Pursuing a degree out of obligation will only drain you and leave you with nothing left to give. And most of all, do not apologize for deciding to change your degree. Your parents should recognize and understand it is your decision to do what you want with your life.
To the man who has decided to go to treatment for struggling with alcoholism, stop apologizing for deciding to better yourself. Society may stereotype you and make assumptions about you in light of the choice you have made, but the opinions of judgmental individuals are worthless. Those that truly care for you will stand by you at the end of the day. And the act of deciding to pursue a road of recovery in the midst of a critical society is one of the boldest and bravest decision any individual could make. I respect that decision so much and look up to you in more ways than you could imagine.
To the woman who works a job and is a mother as well, stop apologizing for being ambitious with your life. You are pursuing two paths that reflect the desires of your heart, and no one else has a right to determine what your life should look like.
To the woman who is a stay at home mom, stop apologizing for not being a business woman in tandem with parenting. It was your decision to solely dedicate your time to your children and that decision rests with you.
To the woman who doesn’t want to have kids, stop apologizing for just that. Society puts so much pressure on the “ideal” or “perfect” family involving kids in the picture. If that’s not what you want for your life, don’t let others’ pressures push you to be apologetic.
To the man who is sensitive, stop apologizing for crying. Society claims that a man who cries is weak, not tough, feminine, not masculine. These are all lies. Such lies. Crying is an act of vulnerability and that is surest sign of strength there is. So please, never, ever apologize for opening up in that way.
To the girl with small boobs, stop apologizing for how you were made. And okay, maybe you don’t literally apologize but maybe you crack jokes about it with your friends as a defense mechanism to avoid addressing the insecurity. Do not apologize for the way our creator made you. You are beautifully and wonderfully made and do not need to change anything about your authentic self.
To the girl with big boobs, stop apologizing for how you were made as well. It’s okay to look different than the girls around you. It’s okay to be curvier. Like I said before, maybe you don’t literally apologize for this, but maybe you crack jokes as well or only wear certain types of clothes or refuse to go to slumber parties because you’re embarrassed. Do not let this part of you dictate the rest of your life. Embrace yourself fully. You too are beautifully and wonderfully made and deserve to love yourself
To the boy or girl that has trouble making friends, stop apologizing for having fewer friends than others. Stop comparing the number of friends you have to others to begin with. And more importantly know that a number of friends does not determine your worth. Also know that people would be lucky to get to know you and get to be your friend. You are worthy of starting conversations with people, you are worthy of approaching people to talk to them, you are worthy of sitting with that group at lunch, you are worthy of going to that event on campus, you are worthy of blessing those around you with your presence. You have so much worth and so much to offer the world.
To the man who wants to start over in a completely new career at a late stage in his life, stop apologizing for leaving a life of stability and venturing into the unknown. You are doing what so many people wish they had the guts to do. You are the brave one. You are the one that people secretly think about and say, hell, that guy has balls. Don’t let the judgmental comments on why you decided to leave a life of certainty and security stop you. A life of security does not mean a life of happiness. And you deserve a life of happiness above all else.
To the girl with a birthmark on her face, stop apologizing for having a feature in a different place than most. That birthmark is a symbol of your strength and beauty. It is a part of who you are and has been through everything with you. You are whole with it there and are incomplete without it. So learn to embrace it even if you can’t even fathom that being a possibility. I’ll embrace it for you in the meantime and hopefully in the future, you can say with assurance you love that birthmark.
To the person who loves being alone, stop apologizing for wanting to grab dinner by yourself or wanting to go see a movie alone. You love and enjoy those moments. You deserve those moments. Everyone responds to environments around them differently, and your place of solace is being alone. People should be respectful of your independence. You provide an aspect of introspection and critical thinking that most lack. Without you, this world would be unfinished.
To the person who really wants ice cream but chooses not to get any because everyone else isn’t having any, stop apologizing for wanting ice cream!!! Your human for goodness sake. We all want ice cream. Heck, now I want ice cream just because I’m thinking about it. Please listen to your body, listen to what it truly desires and wants, and if the answer to that is ice cream, you don’t need your three other friends to buy three scoops in a waffle cone with you. Be brave and order it alone.
To the high schooler that doesn’t want to pursue the traditional route of college, stop apologizing for doing something outside of the norm. Go on a gap year, initiate a start-up company, work on your art – do what you want with your time. Society pressures you to follow one set route – i.e. a four-year university where you can earn your bachelor’s degree – and says that leads you to success and happiness. I will say that does give some individuals a sense of happiness and purpose, but the important thing to note is that’s not the case for everyone. Just as one ice cream flavor doesn’t satisfy everyone, the same goes for society’s one route to happiness. Step outside of society’s definition and pave a path that leaves you feeling fulfilled.
To the student who received a “low” score on the ACT or SAT, stop apologizing for what you received. A number by no means dictates what you are going to do with your life. Society pressures us to always quantify aspects of our lives, and at the end of the day, who we are and the knowledge we have is not quantifiable. Your experiences and perspectives mean so much more than some dumb ACT or SAT score.
Guys, we have to stop apologizing for who we are, and we have to start owning ALL aspects of ourselves. Please post a selfie claiming a characteristic about yourself by using #IMNOTSORRY. It’s time we rewrite our stories to be one of loving ourselves entirely and see how that lets us experience life so much more fully.
#imnotsorry I love theater.
#imnotsorry I decided to go to treatment.
#imnotsorry I don’t have 50 bajillion close friends.
#imnotsorry I look different than you.
#imnotsorry I don’t want kids.
#imnotsorry I like to be alone.
#imnotsorry I didn’t score what you deem acceptable on the ACT.