The Day of Atonement

It’s Yom Kippur but some of you probably don’t know what that means. It’s an important Jewish holiday. It’s the day of atonement. It’s the day we don’t eat from sunset to sunset. We’re also not supposed to shower or have sex. We spend this day reflecting on all the bad stuff we’ve done, and forgiving others who have done bad stuff to us– or at the very least, try to let it go.

Yes, I will spend most of this day watching the clock and counting the minutes until I can put food into my body. But to distract myself I often text friends and family (who are not readily available) an apology for something I’ve done this year or a fight we had or just negative vibes that I want to clear up. Mostly my friends are like “lol it ok :)” but some genuinely appreciate the sentiment and it leads to a deeper discussion about how we can treat each other the way we want to be treated.

After apologizing to a handful of people I realized, I need to apologize to myself (but maybe you, a more in-tune with yourself person than I, do this already). I treated myself like shit for a lot of the year. Like even when I was trying to help myself (hello getting drunk to forget my problems!) I didn’t go about it in a healthy way and ended up puking on my front lawn (HELLOOOO getting drunk to forget my problems!) I was annoying and mean and frustrating and rude and moody and impatient and disrespectful and unforgiving this year, all to me!! My own damn self!! Cue Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man meme.

When I started this thought process I worried it might be frivolous. I practice self care, I take bubble baths! But spending time forgiving myself for the mental anguish I put myself through…..that feels like I would be better off setting money on fire. It feels spoiled. It feels like I deserve to always have this pit inside of me, anxiety that makes me scratch my skin off and pull out my hair, panic attacks where I can’t breathe, depression where I don’t want to. But why?

It’s ridiculous that it feels shameful for me to admit that I deserve to have an okay time inside my own head. Just like I want to heal my friendships, I want to be able to heal my friendship with myself. Like I would tell a friend, you DESERVE to feel safe and okay and content inside your body, I want to give myself the same message.

I want to tell myself that I should always treat myself with kindness, and that I’m sorry for all the times I hurt you both mentally and physically. I want to tell her that I understand why she is making mistakes, and that she doesn’t deserve a public flogging just because she didn’t try her best or fell into an old habit. Every day doesn’t have to be your best. Days can be days. It only takes 21 days to break a habit or make a new, better one. I want to forgive myself for hanging on to toxic people. I want to forgive myself for then feeling bad that the toxic person feels bad that I won’t let them into my life anymore. I want to forgive myself for spiraling. I want to forgive myself for laying on the floor and not getting up.

I want to forgive myself for not always being able to protect her. I want to forgive myself for being afraid to ask for help. I want to forgive, and I want to feel good.

As with all apologies, it should never end with a “but.” If it does, you’re not actually sorry. I am ending my apology with a promise to do better. I am sorry “AND.” I am sorry to myself and this year I will do better. I am sorry to myself and this year I will be more gentle. I am sorry to myself and this year I will be more patient. I am sorry to myself and this year I will practice saying no, more. I am sorry to myself and this year I will admit to myself and others that I have limits and boundaries and spaces that I don’t want crossed. I am sorry to myself and I forgive me too.

Now, who wants a bagel?

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