My Name Is Earl (Mea Culpa)
I never watched My Name Is Earl, but I think I have a handle on the concept. It’s the story of a man who regrets the things that he did in his past because of the long term consequences of those actions. So he’s going from person to person that he’s hurt in various ways to apologize. I bet we all have people that we’d like to apologize to or things that we’d like to apologize for. One of the things that keeps us from doing it is the embarrassment and shame that we feel for how we acted. After writing this blog for over a year I have a confession to make. I have no shame left. It’s actually quite liberating to lose your fear of condemnation. I highly recommend it. With that in mind, I’d like to share my Earl list.
I need to start with a carte blanche apology to just about everyone who has ever known me. This is especially applicable to parents, teachers, family and friends throughout my life. I’m sorry for being such a smart ass. It seems to stem from insecurity. Sometimes I did it to make myself look smart and make you feel dumb so that you could see how smart I must be. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s the truth of it. I’m sorry. Other times I would do it to get attention and try to be funny. This was a pain for the people around me, especially if they weren’t in the mood or it was an inappropriate time or place. In fact, my efforts to get a laugh probably hurt more people than all of the other things I’ve done combined. I’m sorry.
To my parents – I’m sorry for making things so hard for you. I can remember periods of my life where I was earning a spanking what felt like every day. That couldn’t have been easy for you. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my 8th grade year where I dropped out of the after school football workout program and lied about it. What you didn’t know is that Patrick and I were spending our time stealing cases of baseball cards and other things from Eckerd’s and Walgreens.
I’m sorry for being such a pain at school and forcing you to have to deal with so many teach conferences and weekly progress reports. I’m sorry for wasting all of the money that you saved up for me to go to school. It was only after I was paying my own bills that I took it seriously. I guess lastly I’m sorry for not reaching my potential. I killed off too many brain cells in my college days to even truly know what my potential was, but I know that you tried very hard to set me up for success and I just wasn’t on the same page.
To my teachers, oh my poor teachers, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for being a know-it-all and I’m sorry for assuming that you didn’t know anything. I’m sorry for being so disrespectful. I’m sorry for asking questions that were deliberately difficult in an effort to trip you up. I’m sorry for not listening, for talking back, for not following instructions and for lying. I apologize for being a distraction and an all-around nuisance. I know now how much you sacrificed and how much you put up with and how disappointed you must have been with me. I’m sorry.
I need to apologize to my brothers as well. Bob – I’m sorry for hiding out in the bathroom during our outdoor chores. I’m sorry for being a tattle tale and I’m sorry for breaking your leg. More importantly, I’m sorry for looking down on you when we were growing up. I tried to disassociate so that I would have a different experience. In the end I think that you embraced who you were going to be much sooner than I did. As I write this I realize that it was probably more hurtful due to the fact that I was being judgmental of the person that you really wanted to be while I was doing nothing more than wearing a mask to hide from the same treatment by others. As it turns out, we are more alike than I ever guess. If I had embraced that earlier then life would have been easier and better for both of us.
Michael, I’m sorry that I was so consistently hard on you for so many years. I never gave you a break did I? I’ve always had a thing about needing things to be fair. I felt like you were using your situation to get away with things that I could never have gotten away with and I resented it. I was determined not to give in and not to allow you to get away with it. Obviously this caused strife. I think the worst of it is that I was throwing the baby out with the bathwater. When you were really hurt or really struggling I didn’t respond the way that I should have because of my predisposition against you. That was wrong and I’m sorry.
Things changed when we got older. I fell into a trap of judgment. This is an easy one for me to fall into of course since I’m obviously so perfect (:rolleyes:). I didn’t respect any of your decisions or your efforts. To be fair, I’m allowed to disagree with you but it’s the lack of respect that I’m sorry for. We all make the decisions that we think are best. As adults that’s our right. I never treated you like an adult though. I never gave you any credit. That was wrong and I’m sorry for it. I really do hope that you have found your piece of happiness in this world, and if you haven’t yet then don’t panic. I’m living proof that it’s possible to turn things around and get where you want to go.
I’ve written in the past about what I was like in my early twenties so I won’t go into it again. But I have to apologize to the people at work who were forced to deal with me on a daily basis. I actively worked to lead you astray. Many of you were happy, trying to live full lives. But when you came in contact with me I would sow seeds of discontent. I would use relentless logic and questioning and make you doubt your situations and yourselves. I know it’s horrible, that’s why I’m so sorry for it. I probably regret that as much as anything in my life. Lesson learned for all of us…never take advice from a person who’s hurting and doesn’t have their act together.
Lastly I have to admit that the person I feel that I need to apologize the most to is myself. I wasted so much time, potential and energy. I thought I was strong but I was weak. I chased after empty relationships to try and obtain some measure of self-esteem. I lied to myself and everyone around me about who I was, trying to be something that I wasn’t. I don’t know exactly what life would have been like if I lived it to the fullest. I’m sorry that I’ll never find out. I will settle for who I am now though. I’m committing to make the best of what I have left at my disposal even if part of that is a cautionary tale for traps and pitfalls to avoid.
Posted on February 25, 2012, in Personal Development and tagged apologize, apology, brothers, family, Forgiveness, I'm Sorry, Mea Culpa, My Name Is Earl, parents, Philosophy, teachers. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.