[DISCLAIMER]: The author is in a little bit of a mood and the following blog might be a little intense. Please read with caution. The author will try to return to his regularly scheduled baffoonery in the next edition.
More than anyone, I know the impact of words. Daily, I use words as a shield, as a weapon, as a platform, and as a remedy. The pen is mightier than the sword? Depends on your definition of might. Perhaps the most appropriate turn of phrase would be “the pen is deadlier than the sword.” How many lives have been taken because of rousing speeches, the interpretations of dogma, or even a scornful letter sent to an amour? Words can injure, kill, but also heal, and rebuild.
Understanding this power of the page, there are phrases that make my soul ignite and others that will make my gall bladder boil with rage. Today is a rage day. That rage has been brought to you by the phrase “I’m sorry.”
There are phrases and words that have lost their meaning over time. “Hate,” for example. Do you really hate your neighbor, or is there moderate annoyance? Hate is the extreme aversion for or extreme hostility towards. Hate was the motivator for the ugliest moments in human history. Hate has caused people to do things that will forever blacken the reputation of the human condition as long as the written word exists. Do you hate your neighbor, or would you prefer other company?
“I’m sorry” is another phrase that has lost all potency. Are you sorry? Truly remorseful for the way events happened or the acts that you’ve committed? Is it more likely that you’re looking for a dismissive phrase to excuse yourself from culpability? If the opportunity immediately presented itself to right the wrong you’ve done, would you take it and undo the harm you’ve done to another, even at the expense of yourself?
I’ve had people tell me they are sorry and I don’t believe a word of it. After they’ve apologized, I was left with nothing more than words that weren’t even written down, I have empty words spoken and nothing to show for the exchange. People were sorry and I was supposed to be grateful for the energy they’ve spent to acknowledge they were terrible. The years I’d spent on them, the opportunities I’d missed out on, the chances to experience a different life, even the money I’d invested into that relationship, and I will never get any of that back. But hey, they are sorry.
The dismissive “I’m sorry” has sisters: “let it go” and “who cares?” The sisters show up when “I’m sorry” is unsuccessful at getting the speaker off the hook. Think about that in conjunction of use: someone says they are sorry, that apology is worthless and unaccepted. The apologizer counter-offers with more words, telling the apologized to just let it go. The apologizer wasn’t harmed or fouled, but has the fucking audacity to tell the apologized to just let it go, as if nothing happened. When “let it go” doesn’t work, then “who cares?” shows up. If the apologized won’t be placated by empty words, or an impetuous demand, then the apologizer is going to resort to de-valuing your position. It was just the theft of morale, esteem, possibly money, but is it really that big of a deal? Who cares?
I’m trying to heal from this kind of thing, so allow me to offer a solution. Don’t apologize to me ever again. I don’t want to hear it, I don’t care, and I believe your remorse is a ruse. Instead of apologizing, reach out and say “Hey, that thing I did was really shitty and it’s not right. What can I do to make it right?”
If I say don’t worry about it, or that we’re good, then you’re off the hook. Any ill-will I hold onto after that is my problem and not yours. You can sleep soundly after that.
If you still feel the urge to say “who cares” or “let it go,” or worse: you can’t see what the problem was to begin with, then we have nothing left to talk about.
Thank you for sticking around this long. Writing this blog was cathartic and I feel better. That’s the power of words. They can harm, scar, injure, but also heal, rebuild, and restore.
Songs listened to while writing this blog:
- “Lost in Space” – the Misfits
- “10 out of 10” – Magnolia Park
- “The Red” – Chevelle