Apologies and my sister

 

My sister submits posts to the blog all the time. Sometimes they are anonymous, and sometimes her name is attached to them. I usually tell people that she’s kind of like me, but far wittier and extroverted, loves people, is amazing with social media, and has an incredible jawline. So, like, we’re actually pretty different. But we’re probably more on-the-same-page than we ever have been. I love that she reads and participates in my First Blog Project. I think it’s especially great because she’s the human that I’ve spent the most time apologizing/not apologizing to, and I feel sometimes that it’s like we’ve circled back.

We fought all the time as children. We were really mean to each other. We were often forced to apologize to each other. When that happened, usually one of us would apologize to the other, who accused, “SHE DOESN’T MEAN IT!” Sometimes it was true. 

We had phases of apology. Once, someone told us, “You know, I’m sorry means that you’ll never do it again,” which we quickly adopted into the apology ritual.

“I’m sorry.”

“That means you’ll never do it again. Are you going to do it again?”

“No.”

I had a phase that I refused to apologize for anything, even when I was in the wrong.

We had the silent treatment phase that we would usually enact until someone broke down and apologized, or our parents got frustrated and reprimanded us, and then we ended up siding with each other instead of them. I’m not sure if that was their intention, but it worked.

My favorite phase was the one where we wrote apology notes and slid them under the other’s door, or taped them to the mirror in our shared bathroom. They were usually written on colorful paper and scrawled in magic marker. We drew silly pictures on them and used nicknames that made each other laugh to break the tension.

[I cannot find any of these notes, but know that they are darling, and that I looked through many old boxes in hopes of uncovering one. No luck.]

Even if most of our apologies or non-apologies were childish, I know I always thought about them a lot.

Those days, I really calculated whether I wanted to apologize or not. I tried to figure out if apologizing would be worth it. Would I “lose the fight” if I broke down and apologized? If I apologize, will she apologize back? Do I even mean it? 

And only now, I’m remembering how much I used to think about it. It makes me wonder when and where that knee-jerk “sorry” I mumble when I pass someone in the aisle at Walgreens comes from. 

-Alison

Here we are, back then: