I am always apologizing.
Strangely enough, this behavior is not consciously self-deprecating. I always saw overt politeness as a sign of power. I want people to feel comfortable, perhaps because I know what it's like to feel uncomfortable in your own skin. I want to make room for you. I want to tell you I'm aware of the space that I'm occupying and apologize if I've gotten in your way. I own up to the fact that space is hard to share, that there are more than one of us that need this air to breathe and room to walk through a crowd. I believe I inherited this trait from my mother, the most gracious woman in the world. So I don't feel badly about that. If I did, I would apologize.
But as I get older, I realize how carefully I need to choose my words. Because the more I say "I'm sorry" for things that do not merit apologies, the less the word itself means. It becomes a reflex, a hiccup. And if I get to choose (which we do about some things!) I'd rather choose a different hiccup.
I wanted to start an unapologetic space for all women who want to step more authentically into their own power. I write this post on my 25th birthday, and I cannot think of something that I'd rather be creating than a space that promotes self-expression, betterment, and connection with other women. 25 seems like a baby to some, but do you remember how it sounded to our younger selves? So solid, so stable, so fixed. As we get older, we learn that each notion we have about some far-off age disappears as we enter into it, and in its place unfolds essentially our same fantasies, fears, quirks, or neuroses that have been ours since day one. (Lucky us, eh?) We remain the same, but with each trip around the sun it feels a little different to sit in these bones and this skin and hopefully with that, a new awareness settles in. Hopefully, we not only become more wholly ourselves, but look around and consider how we can help others to do the same.
When I look around I see so many beautiful, fascinating young women doing things that inspire me. Whether it's women who are raising the next generation of strong women like Megan M., nurses who help save lives like Helen S. or Anna K., women who volunteer to help other women like Emma C., or women who are interested in creating artistic space and room for local talent to shine like Ilse H. with sticktotheillest.com. All of these women inspire me in so many ways by using their strength to serve not only their own unique creative purpose but also each other.
If you follow us on our journey you'll be lucky enough to meet some of these women in a new interview each week and read their unique point of view in their subsequent posts to SATF. No two of these women are exactly alike, but all have something to contribute and my hope is you will be inspired by their voice.
For me, trying to settle into 25 simply means becoming a better listener, stepping into the space of curiosity over judgment, putting down roots (harder than it may sound) and changing the way I interact with others. For a long time, I was someone who based my worth on what other people thought of me. We all know how much fun shit comes with that. Toxic relationships, codependency, low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. For as long as I can remember I have also been acutely aware of the boxes women are placed in and how this creates inner tension in forming a well-adjusted sense of identity. How do I dare fit together the different parts of myself? The woman I really am consists of many different parts--the extroverted introvert, the lonely girl, the swears-like-a-sailor double-whiskey girl, the ambitious idea-maker, the happy-go-lucky muppet, the improviser, the profuse apologizer, the bawdy performer, the friend, the actress, the lover, the writer. I always acted as if these parts of myself had to be separate, but now I realize letting everyone see all of me is a fearless, worthwhile act.
I have lead a beyond blessed life. Which is why I want to use those blessings to help open up space for all the parts of all the wonderful women I know to come together. Here's the thing. I want us to talk about politics and ideals, I want us to talk about family issues and xanax and beauty products and sex and what getting your heart broken feels like and why you love your best friend and what it means to be healthy and why we compete with one another instead of helping each other and spirituality and reality tv and why any or all of it does or doesn't matter to you. I want you to feel comfortable with your vulnerabilities and fearless with your ambitions and bold enough to integrate the two. I want you to gain power from both.
I will perhaps always be someone who tries to be polite to the best extent of my abilities. (Except when driving, because WHY ARE YOU FUCKING DRIVING LIKE THAT?) Striving to be gracious is what my mama taught me and it's something I strongly believe in under most circumstances.
But listen. I will stop saying "I'm sorry" unless I have purposely caused someone pain or run over a small animal. (In which case I will 100% start crying, anyway). In other words, with this project and in my own life, I am making a conscious effort to allow myself the feeling of being fully alive in my own skin. I hope you'll read along and contribute something of your own. Write us a note, we don't bite (unless we've had a few whiskeys): firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet me back here tomorrow for a post by the other half of Scotch & The Fox, Megan McDougall.