black woman taking offense of boyfriend

Why I’m No Longer Apologizing

Growing up, I always felt like the odd person in just about every scenario. I was the only male in a family of women. When it came to school, I was one of three black kids at my high school. Most of my college friends lived on campus while I commuted. I spent a lot of time alone, whether that be in my room playing video games, or in what my mom called a “man cave” in the garage. I just felt like I never really belonged.

When I started to gain my voice, I still felt like I didn’t belong. No longer was I too quite, awkward, or pushed to the side. I was too overbearing. I was opinionated. At times it felt like I wasn’t able to express myself. At times, it still feels difficult to communicate in a way that comes off confident. I second guess whether the true meaning of my words were heard every time I open my mouth. Because of this, I don’t open my mouth often. I found myself apologizing for having a point of view.


I don’t think anyone truly sees me as an emotional person. Instead, I tend to suppress a lot of what I feel on the inside. Part of that is that men aren’t typically allowed to be expressive. Boys don’t cry and all that jazz. I think the same thing happens to women as they grow up and become part of patriarchal institutions such as work. Any show of emotion is a form of weakness in our society. There also a quote that says, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

I believe part of living is having an outward reflection of how we feel and think inwardly. A lot of us don’t do this for the fear of being judged. Instead, we assimilate to the dynamic culture, which slowly kills our spirit. Instead of believing we belong, we try to fit in. We try to be inclusive by removing our diversity. We do this in hopes to be… “normal.”

The Odyssey

The reason why we try to fit in is that we don’t know ourselves. Instead of going on the wonderfully insightful, yet painful voyage of finding ourselves we rather take in the perspectives of other people. We yearn for acceptance from others when we haven’t accepted ourselves.

One thing I have to remember is that I am one perspective of a whole. The people around me may hold different perspectives than I do. No one is right or wrong. It’s just different. I don’t have to automatically accept the opinions that others cast on to me if I don’t feel like the criticism is constructive in building a better me.

I’m not responsible for other’s ideas. I’m only responsible for my own. I shouldn’t have to automatically feel like I need to fix something just because someone disapproves. How I express myself is how I express myself. The only thing that I care about is that my expression is an accurate reflection of the values that I’ve placed within my heart. Anything that I do that causes the discomfort of others is for that person to work through. My expression is no longer an apology.

Inclusion Requires Diversity

What is inclusion without diversity? It can’t exist. When we think about diversity, we only think about our outward appearance. Whether we are a man or a woman, gay or straight, black, white, and every color in between. These appearances are probably the least important aspects of our diversity. We never talk about diversity of thought or diversity of opinion. Dissenting beliefs are not allowed. It seems difficult to be okay with knowing that someone has had different experiences that have led to such an opinion.

We don’t talk about diversity in emotions. In truth, most of what we call negative emotions bring discomfort to the people experiencing. Instead we are told to always be positive. As if expressing negative emotions isn’t positive. You know what’s worse than negativity? Bottling the negativity up. Thus we get the term toxic positivity.

So, I’m no longer apologizing for my expression. I know that it’s not perfect. I know that I have work to do. My actions are what steers me in the right direction. Even if I have to deal with consequences of doing “wrong.” I can only control my intentions. You can only control your intentions. How we deal with our forms of expressions is totally up to us.