Sorry, Not Sorry: All The Apologies I’ve Yet To Make

I am really sorry I endlessly criticized my younger, healthy body; even sorrier later because it became not healthy, but miraculously endured and bounced back and thrived. I should have loved and appreciated it all along!

I’m sorry I needed help when I did, and although it was hard, although there was a learning curve, I’m not sorry I accepted that help.

I spent too much money on shoes and handbags, sorry not sorry! Those quality classics still occupy prime closet real estate and continue to faithfully serve.

I used to gripe because girls had to take home economics instead of woodworking in high school. Still, I understand basic cooking science, am comfortable in any kitchen, can sew buttons, mend tears, hem my own pants…although, I’m sorry to say, I remain terrified of power tools.

I’m sorry I fell in love with the girly stuff at an early age and have spent countless dollars on makeup and beauty products and facials and spas. Aw, hell, no I’m not. And I’m not sorry that it’s not only girly stuff anymore! Boys! Non-binary! Trans! We’re all in Sephora! Who doesn’t need low-level therapy!

I am embarrassed at having been so boy crazy – that’s what we called it back in the stone age – and from this vantage point, sure, it seems silly but I’m not sorry. I do love men, as problematic as they are. Beyond silly, I am sorry I spent any energy at all trying to fix the problematic boys-to-men. It was never possible. 

My effusive, sociable parents thought I was shy and aloof and I’m sorry, but I wasn’t. I was an introvert who didn’t know how else to be. Introvert, extrovert – those words were not in our family lexicon. Eventually, I figured it out, and taught myself to hang back and sit at my desk and be quiet without feeling guilty. I let myself be a writer. I’m sorry it took me into my fifties before that happened.

I’m sorry I meet every person and event with impossibly high expectations and am often disappointed; I’m not sorry though, not really. When those expectations are met, it’s glorious. Also, I blame rom-coms.

I’m sorry the love we vowed in whispers in the dark vanished into a darker dark; I’m not sorry I whispered the vows, believed the vows, wasn’t afraid of the dark.

I smoked for about ten years, and yes, of course I’m sorry, but…I have photographs, and I hate to say it, but it did look kind of cool.

I am so totally sorry when, as a young wife and mother, I abandoned my own ambitions to join up with my then-husband’s. I thought I was doing the right thing for “the family,” and maybe I was, given the excellent adults my kids have become. Maybe I’m not sorry? I go back and forth on this.

My parents died and I had to sell my childhood home and I got rid of their beloved belongings in one fell swoop yard sale. I’m sorry I didn’t put things in storage for at least five years.

I’m not sorry I had the benefit of being a stay-at-home mother; I am sorry for the financial instability that overtook us for a while.

I’m not sorry I got Botox; I’m not sorry I’ve stopped.

I’m not sorry I’m “woke.” I marched against the war and for civil rights and for women’s rights and for LGBTQ rights. What I’m sorry about is that we’ve had to do it all again, and will again, and that love – Love – has not yet saved the day.

I’m a boomer; there’s so much to be sorry for. We’re heedless, privileged, in bubbles with blinders, we ruined the planet, the economy, we used up all the fun. But to be honest, I’m not sorry that I had an idyllic childhood, straight out of “The Wonder Years.” I’m so not sorry I got to indulge in raunchy sex and drugs and rock and roll.

Speaking of (formerly) raunchy sex, I’m not sorry that anal wasn’t mainstream way back when.

I don’t know, I’m a little bit sorry that I loved Woody Allen movies, voted for Clinton, danced to Michael Jackson, laughed at Bill Murray, lusted after Brad Pitt, enjoyed Miramax movies (Weinstein’s company), took comfort in Governor Cuomo’s COVID updates. I try to use the Picasso example when men in the public eye turn out to be not-good men in their private lives. Picasso was abusive to women and exploited teenage girls. His work changed the way I see the world. I’m conflicted.

I’m sorry I tossed all the old cassettes and mixtapes and… gulp…vinyl. I’m not sorry I tossed the CDs and VHS tapes!

I’m sorry I succumbed to painted-on skinny jeans, Spanx, stilettos, thongs, a plaid shacket, serious cleavage, the cat-eye, the matte red lip, bangs and statement necklaces. I do not rock these things, although you might!

Sorry not sorry I’ve only paid lazy attention to: insurance, the stock market, tax strategies. On one hand, it’s vitally important. On the other, it all seems slightly scammy.

I’m not sorry I paid a lot of money to maintain my teeth, but dear dentists of the world, I’m sorry to say, there are truly no budget-friendly alternatives in the dental industry. And the insurance industry seems happy to shrug off this entire healthcare zone.

I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m not sorry I saved myself.


What apologies do you want to make to others or to yourself? Share with us in the comments!

stephanie gangi

About Stephanie Gangi

Stephanie Gangi is a poet, essayist and fiction writer. Carry the Dog is her second novel. Her acclaimed debut, The Next, was published by St. Martin’s Press. Gangi’s shorter work has appeared in Arts & Letters, Catapult, Dame, LitHub, Hippocrates Poetry Anthology, McSweeney’s, New Ohio Review, Next Tribe, The Woolfer. She lives in New York City, where she is at work on The Good Provider, her third novel.

Twitter: @stephaniegangi
Instagram: @gangi_land
Facebook: @author.stephaniegangi

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