This brilliant piece of writing by Life in Slow Motion explains perfectly the phenomenon of feeling the need to apologise all the time for our chronic pain and illness.
This is something I have noticed I do a lot. I don’t go around saying “I am sorry I am sick” or “I am sorry I am in pain” it is more like “I’m sorry I am in your way”, “I’m sorry I can’t move any faster”, or “I’m sorry I take up so much space in my wheelchair” and many others of a similar nature, including ones similar to what Life in Slow Motion writes about.
Sorry comes out of my mouth several times a day, many times unnecessarily, and it is only afterwards I think “why am I apologising for being me!”. I am no less worthy of the space I am occupying than the next person, and I am certainly no less worthy of the air I breathe. I may be disabled, I may walk on crutches and use a wheelchair, and I may do things differently since becoming disabled, however I still have value. It is sad that everything has such a value applied, to the point you devalue yourself based on your own perception of what you think society expects is “the norm”.
Our perception of ourselves, and our value in comparison to others, is instilled from an early age, and not enough focus is put on the fact that difference (be it colour, religion, disability or any other differences) should also be valued. There should be no reason whatsoever to apologise for your own existence.
So with this said, I intend to reduce the number of times I say sorry in 2015, in particular I am going to stop saying sorry for existing! No more sorrys for going slow, or being in the way, or taking up space – saying sorry in these situations has become a bit of a bad habit, and it is one I am determined to kick in 2015!