The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Araseli Valverde.

I recognize that I am doing an amazing thing by living in Italy for six months. I’ve recently set the intention not to ruin it by running away from my faults or feeling any negative energy towards myself. So much has happened during my journey exploring the world, but I wanted to take some time to explore the journey that I’m also experiencing within.

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This public apology is to someone who I have undervalued. This public apology is to someone who I have put through a lot. This public apology is for someone who has deserved an apology for a long time, but has never received it until now. This public apology is for me.

I am finally taking the time to apologize to myself because I grew up learning to say “sorry” to just about everyone else – my sisters, my classmates, and basically anyone I’ve ever wronged. Pretty soon this philosophy had me apologizing even to inanimate objects. The problem is, I was never taught to apologize to myself. So, with that, I begin my list of apologies.

I am sorry for putting you through so much and for not always taking care of you. I am sorry for not always treating you like the queen that you are and allowing you to take less than what you are worth. I am sorry if I allowed outside sources such as fear, judgement, or social constructs to stop you from doing what you want to do and being who you want to be. I am sorry that I allowed you to run away from your responsibilities and feel the burden of such weight. I apologize for never taking the time to actually ask you what kind of world you want to create and what dreams you hold deep within. I’m sorry I allowed you to focus on other peoples’ goals rather than thinking about your own first. I’m sorry I allowed you to live a life without your own personal goals. Most importantly, I apologize to for waiting so long to finally apologize.

I know sorry doesn’t fix everything but it is a start. The next step is to be kind to myself because by being kind to myself, I think I’ll be able to live without worrying about uncontrollable things. Sometimes it’s okay to take your time with things and work at your own pace. I need to learn that it’s okay to just be okay.

I also want to add that not only is this a public apology, but it is also a promise to make sure these things don’t happen again. So, I promise to do better in my goals, my responsibilities, my thoughts, my words, and my writing. I want to be truer to my own wants and responsibilities, rather than being truer to the responsibilities of the world. This sounds simple, but at times it doesn’t feel simple. I also hope to practice self-care by building mental resilience so that I don’t allow myself to simply ride the wave on autopilot. Instead, I hope to practice forgiveness, find my inspiration, ask for help, and take my time to find what I want in MY life. I am still learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, but I’m learning to work on my willpower and to be kinder to myself. The only thing I can do now is try again.

Sincerely,
Araseli Vavlerde