I was with a friend at the Women's March and each time I said "I'm sorry, but" to begin a thought she politely pointed it out. Holy shit. I was saying it A LOT ! Unconsciously. I say and write things like
"I hope to"
"I'm sorry but"
"I just think"
WOW. These are phrases we use to take the edge off of our ideas and opinions so that they (or we) are not perceived as threatening. I've used them for years and by now they're ingrained , akin to using UM or LIKE as a filler, but undermining me at the same time. A negative Mantra that has seeped into my identity. Ugh.
WHY?It's partly about confidence, owning your ideas without worrying that what you are saying will contradict someone else or that someone will disagree with you. I've always been a "nice" person, not what you'd call super-confident, not wanting to sound disagreeable or challenging, hence the use of these caveats. But really - SO WHAT if I disagree with someone? Or if someone disagrees with me? I'm finally learning that if its what you mean, then its OK to say it directly.
Howdo we break the habit and stop couching our ideas with phrases that unconsciously cause all sorts of negative internalizations? that make you feel bad about yourself without knowing why?! A quick google search for a "not sorry" symbol brought me to this story on medium.com about a group of women who came up with "Just Not Sorry" a free plug-in for gmail that highlights when you type "I'm sorry" and other undermining words like
"We/I hope To"
Genius! I've downloaded it, it has helped in my correspondence. If only there was an app for when I SAYthese things.
At the risk of sounding new-agey and like I know what I'm doing, this brings up another point: I'm striving to be aware of what I am saying and how I say it. Words do matter, positively or negatively. We can be sure that what we say reinforces a mindset, which reinforces a way of being or feeling. If I say "I'm sorry" constantly then I am reinforcing and internalizing a less than powerful message of unimportance and unworthiness leading to what I call :anxiety of unknown origin. I know it well. It's a constant, undefined background anxiety, and this "sorry" business feeds right into it. Another reason to practice Mindfulness. The more I explore, the more I find that mindfulness is at the center of it all. Easy for some, but tougher for us regular people. One more thing to work on.
Aboutthe quilt: It's about 18 x 24, hanging in my studio to remind me every day not to say I'm sorry all the time! (People who see it don't know what to make of it - though they seem to think its cool; maybe they think I'm some sort of badass!). The letters in the quilt were done without a pattern (obviously) - like paper piecing without the paper, cutting fabric up and hoping something works, so yes, a bit of trial and error and lots of bits of fabric all over. I must say that this process took time for someone like me who is directionally challenged, though once I got going it was a bit easier. I echoed the letters as I quilted with my walking foot, leaving the letters themselves un-quilted. The whole effect is kind of wonky and very imperfect in a lumpy (shall we say texture-y) way. Certainly imperfect and guess what? I'm not sorry!