- On February 12, 2021
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- #askthestylist, #ertv, confidence, empowerment, Lindy West, self-care, self-love, self-worth, shrill, sorry, unapologetic, women's rights
2020 is finally finished. We entered 2021 shakily, given the horrifying events at our nation’s Capitol on January 6. And everyone is ready to close the door on all of it. You all know what I’m talking about. It’s February, and it’s definitely time for some love and care.
My word for 2021 is “Unapologetic.” I feel strongly that this is the year that I must be unapologetically me in everything I do.
What does that mean to me? It means living fully into what’s important to me. Without hesitation and without second-guessing – two things womxn are often conditioned to do. It means trusting my instincts and acting on them. And knowing my worth.
Womxn often say “Sorry” in circumstances where it would never occur to a man to say it. Like simply taking up space. Or sharing an opinion. Making noise. Showing anger. Feeling proud. Demonstrating expertise or authority.
In the last couple of years, I have been making a concerted effort to apologize less. Instead, I’m thanking people for their patience if I’m a few minutes late or slow to respond. There is almost always a good reason for me not being timely, and I don’t need to apologize for that.
And as far as sharing opinions or expertise, I am actively resisting apologizing for sharing them. To quote Vice President Kamala Harris, “I’m speaking.” No apology necessary. (Does it ever feel good to say Vice President in reference to a womxn!)
She’s so ‘shrill’
That’s a loaded word, isn’t it? It makes me, and many womxn, bristle. Which is precisely why Lindy West chose it for her book title. I somehow missed Shrill when it came out in 2016, although the Universe sent it to me at just the right time. West is unapologetically brash and no-holds barred in this book (sooo many swear words…). And I love it. She is making a powerful statement as a “fat, female, feminist” and is tired of apologizing for being herself. She’s right up there on my role model list these days.
I am a straightforward person. I don’t feel like it serves anyone well to be indirect. Decidedly, not everyone agrees with me. Sometimes my words have been called “harsh.” Sometimes “aggressive.” Those adjectives are right up there with “shrill” in my book. Think about this for a moment – are these words that are used often to characterize men, unless they are compliments for being tough?
I am certain that societal expectations of womxn come into play when this happens to me, especially because I live in the Midwest. In Minnesota, if you don’t like something, you say, “That’s interesting…!” I am not from Minnesota. If I don’t like something, I say I don’t like it. There have been more than a few raised eyebrows – from men and women – in the 27 years I’ve lived here. And there have been experiences of misogyny in work, social contexts, and from strangers.
Shouldn’t I be able to state my opinion? I’m not impolite – just straightforward. “[Women] are aggressively socialized to be ‘nice,’ and to apologize for having opinions,” states West. This is where the real work lies.
“We are aggressively socialized to be ‘nice,’ and to apologize for having opinions.”
— Lindy West, Shrill
As I’ve talked about my Word for 2021 – Unapologetic – I have gotten feedback that I should possibly choose one that is more positive. I have been seriously practicing the shift to an “Abundance” mindset (which I highly recommend) for a while now, and “Unapologetic” seemingly does not fit into that. Oh, but it DOES.
Being unapologetically me is the most positive thing I can do for myself. I’m tired of second-guessing whether I’m going to ruffle someone’s feathers. Tired of second-guessing my decisions. Mostly, I’m tired of not listening to my instincts because I’ve been socialized to question myself.
Being unapologetic is exhilarating! I’m free! I’m ready to trust myself and dive in deep.
That doesn’t mean I will not apologize if I am hurtful or wrong in my actions. However, it is essential that I do be true to myself, even when it comes at the cost of disapproval. And we know that womxn are taught to care a lot about others’ approval. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to live authentically, though? To be our full selves, without worrying that we’re “too much.”
I love me – unapologetically
Valentine’s Day is this weekend. Accordingly, I like to show my husband and daughter the love. I also like to use it as an opportunity to show myself some love. Please do the same for yourself. I’m going to celebrate me by finally getting to reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. A few less swear words, equal amounts of power.
We only have this one life. I want to use my one life fully. So I am putting my energy towards being unapologetically me. Won’t you join me?
For the hearing impaired, find the transcript for 1/9/2021’s Ask the Stylist: What’s Your Word? on YouTube
Watch all Ask the Stylist videos and more on my YouTube Channel