For a long time, I shrunk back and got quiet, and acted like maybe I was sorry. But as I work on believing more this year, especially in myself, I need to be clear that I am not sorry for some things.
I am not sorry that I am thin. I am sorry that some people feel the need to “skinny shame” me and others, and make remarks about me not having to worry about eating crappy food, or calling me a “skinny bitch.” I am thin in part because of my simple genetic make-up, which I have no control over; and in part because I try very hard to not eat a lot of crappy food and instead eat a healthy, balanced, and portion-controlled diet. There have been times when most parts of my life felt pretty crummy, and I would think some mornings that even though everything inside me and around me felt like chaos, I could least make the effort to look nice. And then someone would make a snarky comment about me being thin, when I felt like that was one of the few things I had going for me at that moment. It would be completely inappropriate for me to criticize someone else for being overweight; so why do people feel it is appropriate to make nasty remarks about me not being overweight?
I am not sorry for being in love with my husband. I am sorry that some people have to criticize me for putting this relationship before others. In my wedding vows, I chose my husband, “forsaking all others.” I don’t think this just means not cheating on him; I think this means placing this relationship and him front and center. I choose to make time with my husband a top priority, whether it is supporting him at his football games or going out on date nights regularly. We have gone through some very tough times, and there were honestly times where I wasn’t sure we would make it. We were tempted to give up, and at times it certainly seemed like it would be easier to go our separate ways. Instead, we decided to dig in and work hard at building our relationship and making our marriage better. And we did. And part of how we did it, is we put our relationship first.
I am not sorry for making my family time a priority. I am sorry that some people feel the need to judge my priorities and try to make them for me. I put my husband and my kids first. They deserve my time, and so I choose to give the best of my time and energy to them, rather than simply giving them what is left over after everything and everyone else. Time is one of the most precious commodities I have, and by devoting it to them I send a clear message that they are important to me. I choose them when faced with a choice of where to devote my time or my effort or my attention.
I am not sorry for parenting my children. I am sorry that some people feel the need to tell me their parenting styles and opinions are the only ones that matter. I am strict and I have high expectations of my children. The Coach and I believe that doing some of the hard things right now, like teaching respect and doling out consequences, pay greater rewards later. We believe these hard parenting years give way to more respectful, well behaved,and responsible young adults and grown ups. My kids are held responsible for their behavior, and taught that they cannot control the behavior of others. I choose to teach my kids strategies for dealing with the misbehavior and unkindness of others, rather than always rushing in to solve the problem.
I am not sorry for any of these things. The problem is not a lack of humility on my part. The problem is not a lack of taking responsibility for my actions. The problem is theirs, not mine. I am sorry if others are not happy, whether it be with their weight, their marriage, their family, or their children; but I am not unhappy with mine. I am no longer going to pretend I am sorry for choosing to be happy.