My brother has an anxiety disorder that used to make him apologize for himself all day long. He apologized for existing – taking up space; living as though his consumption of oxygen was too much. Painfully I watched my brother tiptoe around the world working hard to please everyone; working hard to make peace with everyone everything.
“Is that okay?”
“Are you sure?”
Were just a three of the phrases he quietly repeated hundreds of times day. Even those of us without anxiety disorders, even those of us who are not saying it out loud we’re after the same thing in our heads.
I would continually tell my brother to “stop saying you’re sorry” but he couldn’t he needed to say it. Today I want to scream at the top of my lungs: YOU ARE OKAY so the world can hear. It’s painful to watch person after person hurt themselves, torture themselves, drive themselves literally insane in attempts to get those three things. I’m not talking about seeking attention. I’m not talking about wanting someone to notice you. I’m talking about you wanting to feel connected, cared for, loved, accepted.
My message to you today is that you don’t have to apologize to me. You don’t have to change. You don’t have to fit a mold. Don’t try to disappear. I want to hear you. I want to see you. Take up space. Take up room. You are accepted. I invited you into this space because with out you we’re missing something. Without you we’re at a loss. There is only one you – and never say your sorry for being you.
My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand.