Ettie Newlands

I made a mistake.

It wasn’t life-threatening or even dangerous. It was minor by anyone’s standards, but that’s not the point.

The point is that when it was shown to me, I should have apologized and moved on.

But no, that’s not what I did, and that was my real mistake.

Oh, I did apologize and I did move on. But in between those two events, I explained, justified my mistake and passed the blame to someone else.

Someone else who was, in reality, also responsible. But I was more responsible. And they didn’t even know there’d been a mistake.

And then I had a pain in my stomach very much like the one you get from really greasy movie-theatre buttered popcorn.

And a headache like when you eat ice cream way too fast in the sun.

And a pang of guilt like I’d…well, like I’d blamed someone else for my mistake.

I should have just graciously been sorry, never mentioning anyone else involved, and let that be that.

Oh, would that life could be so simple.

Unfortunately, I’ve made enough mistakes to know how these things work.

I’m going to have to take that test again.

I’m going to make another mistake that I’m partially responsible for, I’m going to be told about it, and I’m going to have the chance to respond correctly.

And responding correctly would be to apologize, do what I can to fix the mistake, and let that be that.

I did go back to the person who told me about the mistake, and I did apologize for not accepting the full responsibility in the first place.

And that person graciously told me there was no harm done and not to stress.

Yeah, right. Might as well tell me not to over-analyze. Or not to re-think. Or not to be an overall nutcase.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Never ruin an apology with an excuse,” and that’s exactly what I did.

Next time I’ll do better, and I know I’ll have the opportunity soon.

I make a lot of mistakes.


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