I must save my apologies for when I am repentant.

Awakening is a journey that has taught me to interrogate my conscience, and why I feel inclined to apologize for everything I am and anything I feel.

Sometimes, I carry myself like a black hole whose center resides where my heart should be, and my darkness stretches like shadows across the room. I speak to people who recoil at being addressed in a voice infused with power, by a woman without even the courtesy to fake a smile.

Once, my lips would have softened from guilt for their sake, and I would have burnt as much fuel as it took to generate yet another pleasant mask for their comfort. These days, instead, my eyes glow like burning coals and lock on theirs in a challenge that translates to “Try me.” I imagine they are grateful for my frames, like these are the only things stopping the rocks from leaping out to sear them.

I am slowly learning how to feel fully clothed when I am not wearing apology as a second skin, to continue being many things the world has told me I am not allowed to be.

There are matters I have ceased to question. Like how neither of us really requires an explanation for my anger, or my joy, or my emotions being in a state of transition where nothing I feel can be accurately defined. Like my freedom to be vocal, or silent, and silent about my choice to be silent; to roll up the window between myself and the rest of the world’s sense of entitlement to having an answer for every “why”. Like how none of these things are causes to be sorry.

I am learning that I must save my apologies for when I am repentant.

-Akotowaa

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