Please forgive my tardiness on this week’s post. I spent the past weekend at the Professional Wild Woman Summit at a gorgeous retreat center up on a mountain with views of the fertile Pajaro Valley and the Monterey Bay.
The retreat was a perfectly timed, intuitively run, insightful weekend full of “ah-ha!” moments, a few tears, lots of laughter, sisterhood, and some major reclaiming of power and awe-some-ness!
One of the topics of discussion among the 11 women present was how we (women) are so quick to apologize for stuff we don’t need to apologize for.
We say “I’m sorry, may I sit here?” when we go to the movies or the coffee shop.
“Um, I’m sorry, but this is not what I ordered,” to the waiter who screwed up our order.
“Hi – sorry – I’m ready to make my purchase,” to the clerk who has stepped away from the register.
I even said “I’m sorry” as I walked down the hall to my room after soaking in the hot tub. The towel I was wearing fell away from my bathing-suited body as a woman stepped out of her room. To her credit she replied, “Please don’t apologize.” [Have you seen the Amy Schumer “I’m Sorry” skit? If you like her humor you should check it out. She is spot on.]
One of the women in the group shared that she learned to say, “I’m sexy” rather than “I’m sorry.” As you may imagine, this lead to a series of very funny occasions to say “I’m sexy” over the weekend. And now in my blog title. #sexynotsorry
At the closing of the summit we each took turns sharing what our takeaway from the weekend was and what we wanted more of in 2016. I said that I wanted to appreciate my accomplishments. So excuse me while I brag a little:
Did I find the strength to leave a very unhealthy marriage? #yup
Yeah, I donated a kidney to my sister. #nobigdeal
Yeah, I had my poetry published and was selected to read at a literary event I had dreamed of being a part of #justlocalstuff
Yeah, I wrote and self-published a book in 8 weeks. #itwasafluke
Yeah, I was a track star. #whosaysthat?
All-American? #yes #threetimes
Hall of Fame member? #yes #aptoshighschool #SFSU
School record holder? #highschool #oldestrecords #collegetoo
Have I changed careers and landed on my feet every time? Why, yes, I guess I have.
#beentheredonethat: Waitress, personal trainer, track coach, counselor, advertising program manager, women’s health counselor/clinic manager, college instructor, mommy life coach, mindfulness teacher, English teacher, PE teacher, legal secretary, published poet, newspaper writer, magazine writer.
How about manifesting a great new man in my life? A gorgeous home big enough for our new, larger family? A summer trip to London and Paris with the kids? A part-time, well-paying job that gave me more time to write once I decided that was what I wanted to do? #yes #yes #oui #tookme4weeks
Oh yeah, I pitched a column idea to the local paper and started writing it this month. #justask
Just writing the list like this makes me feel like the skies are opening. Kinda like they did this weekend!
You know, it’s hard for me to own the good, I mean, AWESOME things I have done in life. I tend to brush them off pretty quickly, while the less than successful things or small critiques stick to me.
Just today I got an email from my editor with a formatting request for future submissions. He also said the column was “well done” and my writing was “very readable” and he closed with “good column!”
Guess what I heard – that I didn’t do something right (the formatting.) #really?!?
The good news is that I was able to stop myself. I was conscious of the fact that I was only hearing some small suggestion, not even a complaint or critique.
And I made the conscious choice to listen to the good, because after all there was three times as much good in the email.
I have struggled over the years to come to terms with my track career. Even though I had a successful career I didn’t meet my goals for myself. I wanted to be good enough to travel overseas and compete. I have felt like I gave up too soon on my career, that I could have done more.
That regret has lead me to a love/hate relationship with track. On top of that, I was married to a man who was threatened by my awesomeness and did everything he could to keep me small. If we ran into someone at a party, for example, and they said, “I remember you! You were the track star!” He would later accuse me of “bragging” or “living in the past.”
After I spoke at the poetry reading like I had dreamt of – on stage, in front of hundreds – he told me I was nothing special.
There was more, but this is a glimpse into how I got to the place where I discounted and second-guessed all I had done. I wanted to let go of all that, so I could move on. I even thought I needed to throw myself a “retirement from track party” to let go of my athletic past and all the baggage that came along with it.
But that’s bullshit.
When I was competing I was a badass. I was strong. I was confident. I was accomplished.
I am still those things.
In 2016 I am saying yes to my AWESOMENESS and my POWER.
Like the old days 🙂