Let me preface this post by telling a little story. About four years ago, Carson and I were driving in the car and I could see that she looked distracted. She was only eight at the time, and I had to imagine that something had happened at school to upset her. I worried that someone had called her a name or decided she was not worthy to play in the “in group” that day. I worried that she had been hurt by someone’s words.
“Honey, I can tell something is bothering you. What happened at school today?” I could see her wiggle in her seat. We made eye contact in the rearview mirror. She definitely looked like she could burst into tears at any moment.
“If I tell you, you’re going to hate me.” My stomach clenched. What could my eight year old daughter say that could cause me to hate her?
I tried to keep my voice calm and soothing as possible. “Honey, I could never hate you. Whatever it is that you have done wrong, it can be fixed. I promise.”
At the stop light, I turned to place my hand on her knee. Her eyes welled with tears.
“Mommy, I called Dylan a pizza face,” she said through tears. “Twice.” She buried her face in her hands, too humiliated to even look at me.
Part of me wanted to burst into laughter. She was worked up over something so trivial. However, I thought about it for a split second. To an eight-year-old, an insult like “pizza face” is not trivial. It is a cutting, ridiculing taunt. I realized she had every right to feel the shame and guilt she was feeling.
“Why did you do that?” I asked.
“I don’t know. The Brittanys said it and then they looked at me and I said it, too.” At this point she was struggling to speak, she was crying so hard. “I knew it was wrong, and when the Brittanys walked away, I apologized five times.”
“Did he accept your apology?” I asked.
“He said he did.”
“Then why are you so sad?” Carson has an amazing innate guilt, and she punishes herself way harder than I could ever punish her.
“Because I should never have said it at all,” she said.
I’ve been thinking about this incident for the last week. You see, I too, have a punishing sense of inner guilt, and I too, am immediately aware when I say something that is wrong.
Last week, I said something to an acquaintance that was insulting. In the heat of an argument a made a comment that I immediately regretted. I wanted to rewind the last-minute and take it back, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even apologize for it because of the situation.
For a week, it has been eating away at me. No matter how angry I was, no matter how heated the conversation, nothing can justify my behavior. I went for the jugular. It was horrible, and I upset myself. Who knows how this acquaintance was affected. I have no excuse, and although the comment vanished within seconds, it will forever be in my mind as a regret. I am not a mean-spirited person. I find no enjoyment in hurting someone else’s feelings. To be frank, I am embarrassed at my behavior and my lack of decorum. Accordingly, I would like to offer my sincerest apology to said person, although the person does not read my blog.
I would also like to apologize to anyone I have ever hurt, ridiculed, sneered, or snubbed. I have felt tremendous guilt for this wrongdoing, which makes me feel guilty for all wrongdoings. I acknowledge that I am not always a good person. Sometimes, I falter. Sometimes, I fall flat on my face. I am human, and hopefully, I can be forgiven for my error in judgement. I promise you all that I strive to be the best person I can be on a daily basis.