To my friends, Jennifer, Chloe, Megan and Amanda: I’m sorry.
And I know, my sorry isn’t good enough.
Because up until this point, I haven’t really, fully apologized. Sure, I’ve sent some emails or text messages; nothing outright apologetic.
I’m sorry I wasn’t a good friend and at times did unkind and downright mean things. I’m sorry I’ve lost your friendship.
When I was younger, after a particularly heinous crime I committed (and there were so many, I’ve lost count) I’d go to my mother and say, “I’m sorry.”
Her reply was always the same: “Sorry isn’t good enough.”
She never elaborated, she never explained, she never accepted my apologies and in a misguided sense, I think the wisdom she meant to impart was “Actions speak louder than words”. Young, foolish and stubborn, I doubt my behavior ever changed. I simply stopped saying, “I’m sorry.”
Apologies became so foreign to me that for a period of time I rarely apologized, to anyone, for anything. I shudder to relive that period of time in my life and looking back with some age and wisdom realize how very awful that must have been for the others in my life.
And then there was a period of time, in late adolescence and early adulthood where I felt like all I said was “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry I’m late. I’m sorry I said that. I’m sorry for being me.”
It wasn’t until this past year I realized how important apologies are and also how very little they mean.
I wasn’t a “Bridezilla” (I don’t think) but I wasn’t the best of brides I’ll admit. Planning for my wedding was stressful. My mother, the very same who first taught me “Sorry isn’t good enough”, vacillated back and forth from between complete and utter disdain for my wedding and refusal of anything to do with it to over involvement so intense I received multiple calls, texts messages and emails daily.
It’s no excuse, mind you, for my behavior; it’s merely a backdrop for how things were at that time. My friends, the aforementioned Jennifer, Chloe, Megan and Amanda, as my bridesmaids (and at the time closest friends) got the brunt of my mother’s over involvement, to which I wasn’t the most sympathetic ear.
After all, I needed to be validated that I wasn’t the one in the wrong here. It was her! In doing so, I missed out on opportunities to be a good friend.
It safe to say the downward spiral of friendship had already begun and was only exacerbated by my behavior after the wedding. A moment of envy when I defriended someone after seeing her trip to Ireland, a trip I desperately wanted to take as well, a holiday card sent to all friends within our little circle except to me and my subsequent, “Fuck you”. I could go on but it simply doesn’t matter.
What matters is that never once did I really make any effort to apologize, as I said before. I’ve thought about it many, many times. I’ve sent a few emails and a few texts, unanswered or simply, “I’m fine with how things are.”
At what point do I keep trying to apologize? At what point is my sorry good enough? How do I show that I’ve changed?
Although it’s been over a year since I’ve spoken with those friends of mine (whenever I speak of them now I use the term “old friend,” not to imply strength of the friendship but rather a cessation of such, since you can’t say “ex-friend”). There’s rarely a day that goes by in which I do not think of them. I wonder how they’re doing. I wonder if they’re happy and safe.
And I pray for them. I pray one day they know my apologies and I earn their forgiveness. I suppose until then this “I’m sorry” will just have to do.
Author Bio: Hayley lives and works in Southeastern Florida, with her husband and their two cats.