An 8-part comic for people who say 'I'm sorry' too often.

Raise your hand if you've ever said "I'm sorry" when you weren't actually sorry.

*raises hand*

It's kind of a common thing. It's so common, in fact, that someone developed a plugin for Gmail called Just Not Sorry that actually catches and underlines the word sorry in your emails. "I'm sorry to bother you, but..." Does that sound familiar? It is for a lot of people in the workplace, especially women.


It's not just a work thing or a woman thing, though.

Lots of people say they're sorry when it's not necessary in many circumstances, and that's what led illustrator Yao Xiao to create a comic about it.

The comic, which originally appeared on Autostraddle and is for sale on Etsy, "was inspired by moments in my life when I realized how much I appreciated having my friends around me," Xiao told Upworthy in an email interview.

Xiao said that she used to be uncomfortable with her existence, feeling like she took up too much space and that she was inconveniencing people simply by being in their presence. While she's been able to move past that feeling, old habits die hard.

"The message I wanted to get across to my readers was that maybe sometimes saying 'sorry' wasn't what they meant," she said. "And in a way, I could help by articulating what could be said instead."

So what could we say instead of "I'm sorry?"

How about a simple "thank you?"

Comic by Yao Xiao, originally posted to Autostraddle, shared here with permission.

In addition to being a talented illustrator, Xiao is also a keen observer of life.

She explained that she used to apologize when she felt like she was talking too much — or when she wasn't saying enough. What she came to understand, however, is that she really just needed to hear someone tell her, "It's OK!"

The illustrator. Photo credit: Mary Kim. Used here with permission.

"At that point in my life, I didn't have the experience and company I needed to believe I was okay. To not say sorry is to feel confident, loved, and appreciated," she explained. "It is me telling myself, 'It's OK," and telling someone else I appreciate them back."

She noted that while these things may be true, if someone's not in the right mental place or physical situation to be able to realize and do that, "simply demanding them to switch out the words isn't going to help." And, she added, "if you actually are at fault ... definitely please apologize because that's what 'sorry's are for."

So, next time you catch yourself saying "I'm sorry" when you don't actually need to apologize for something you've done, stop, think of this comic, and ask yourself if you mean something else — like "thank you" — instead.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Texas is currently debating two anti-trans bills. Once would criminalize parents for allowing their children to receive gender-affirming treatments. Another would criminalize healthcare professionals who administer them.

For a state that prides itself on promoting personal freedom, these bills go out of their way to punish medical professionals and parents for making deeply personal choices. Shouldn't doctors and parents have the right to make medical decisions for children without the state's involvement?

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less