Juju Infusion: Unapologetic

As mentioned yesterday, I have a hard time choosing the word of the year. This video shares my anti-word of the year, rather, my intention: Unapologetic.

My mission: be unapologetic and enroll as many women as possible in this quest.


  1. says


    I LOVE this video. Everything you said rings so true. I used to be really apologetic for everything years ago, and I happily report that I’m less so now.

    However, I need to make this my word of 2011 with regards to my writing. I have to be easier on myself and stop feeling “sorry” for not meeting a goal. I’m sure it will take a lot of pressure off.

    • says

      I’m glad you brought this up in relation to our art. I edited out a piece about the disclaimer – how we’ll shred our own work before someone else does it. It’s a form of ‘creative apology’ that I can’t tolerate either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to rein myself in on this one on my blog posts or articles. No one wants to hear it, and it just diminishes the work.

      I’ll happily help you be unapologetic with your great writing this year! Glad to hear that pressure will be released into the stratosphere!

  2. says

    I loved this, Cynthia! How interesting as I listened to your quest to all women, and thought about myself. I used to be like this- apologizing all the time for silly little things. I can only imagine how I drove others crazy, because when I am around someone who like this, I feel myself automtically tense up.
    How amazing it is, as women, if we really live into who we are and stand tall, that need to apologize all goes away. And I like what you said, that you will live your life in a way where you don’t have to apologize. Wa-la! Brilliant!

    • says

      I’m glad this resonated with you. I love your vision of women standing proud and tall. There’s so much more room for all of us when we’re not shrinking ourselves down.

      I’ll be working on this alongside everyone, and am very curious to see and feel how life is different without this crutch. I want to hear from others, too, so let me know how this changes things for you!

  3. says

    LOVE this as usual. I still suffer from “invisible kid” syndrome, apologizing for making waves, so this rang really true for me.

    I join this revolution. I’ve never even thought about being unapologetic until now!!! THANK YOU!!

    • says

      What’s “invisible kid” syndrome? Being the kid who tries to be invisible and not take up space? I was like that when traveling in Europe – trying to blend in and not be the ugly American. I think it lead to smalling down, like dumbing down. That’s no good for any of us!

      Thanks for joining the revolution! Spread the word; use #unapologetic when tweeting.

  4. says


    Last year while training for my 60 mile walk for Breast Cancer one of my teammates said to all of us…”why are we always apologizing for every little thing?” Hanging out and walking with a team for so many hours gets you talking about many different things. And this one was a biggie. So at that point we decided to stop doing it. It’s not so easy when for some reason or other we “women” were programed to do this. You are right…we all tend to do this way too often for no reason. I’m happy you chose this word as your anti-word. I needed to hear this again. 😉

    • says

      I’m glad to hear you have had some training in this already. It’s my mission to empower women and this is one way we can use language to do so.

      I’m impressed that you did that 60 mile walk!

  5. says

    Cynthia, this is so on target. I first noticed this tendency among women a few years ago in the grocery store when it became obvious that at every move of the cart women were murmuring “sorry” and the men just brushed by feeling no need to apologize when nothing had been done to cause another person a problem. Then I began to notice it generally. It’s like women have been trained to always smooth the way, to take the blame, to (as my mother used to say) take the smaller portion. It’s a good habit to break, to become more aware of when we are undermining ourselves by doing that. I’m not saying don’t be civil or collaborative in our various pursuits–but we do not always have to explain ourselves, our motives, or our presence. We can take a stance, take up some room, lift our heads, express our views, breathe our share of the air in a meeting, on a panel, in a group–and still be caring, compassionate people. Some people may be uncomfortable with us doing this, but that says more about their framework than it does about us. Thanks for bringing this topic out in the light, Cynthia–as always, you are insightful and encouraging.

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I for one am uncomfortable working on this one, which is why I brought it up. I saw it in myself and hated it. I hate it when I see other women shrink themselves this way.

      Definitely not to be confused with being civil and kind. Another piece I edited out of the video (I’m shooting for short and sweet!) was the two things I do that do require apologies – cutting people off and interrupting – I’m in a hurry here – so I am going to monitor those actions so I don’t need to apologize so often.

      I love being called insightful and encouraging! That’s much better than apologetic!

  6. says

    Inspiring. I’ve written it on my wall, sent myself an email, and am basking in the fun of being unapologetic. Bless your lovely heart.

    Since I’m on a roll, I’ll just sit here and watch a few episodes I may have missed.

    Happy Tuesday, Darlin’.

    • says

      Yea! You don’t seem like an apologetic person to me. When I told Gigia about this, she said that I seem like the last person who goes around apologizing. But I do, most of us do, and I can’t wait to hear how your life is different without this. Keep me tuned in.

      Hope you like the other episodes!

  7. says

    thanks Cynthia ! i have been on an active mission for a long time to get people to stop apologizing for things they should not apologize for. whenever i hear someone apologize in this way immediately point out to them that there is no need to apologize.

    while i do see it more common among women it also is common for men also.

    • says

      Yes, you’ve commented to me before about this, so perhaps you’re part of my mission to stop this for myself and help others do the same.

      I addressed this to women because I haven’t heard many men do this. I see Rosemary’s experience more – men have no problem taking up space in the world, while women seem to shrink to take care of others.

  8. says

    I feel like you’re talking to me.

    I’m on board with you, although I will continue to apologize for things that require my apology.

    “Pardon me” or “Excuse me” is a better habit than “I’m sorry.”

    • says

      Yes, apologies where necessary are important, polite and real. Random ‘sorry’ sprinkled throughout are not cool. “Pardon me” and “Excuse me” are little sisters to ‘sorry’ – you’ve got to watch those, too. I found myself substituting them so as to not say ‘sorry’.

      Apologize when you mean it, not as a verbal tic. That’s the message.

  9. says

    This makes me say an emphatic “Yes.” I will join you in claiming this as my 2011 word. For me it means not apologizing for who I am, what I want, what I am certain about, and on, and on.
    Thank you for this clarifying video.

  10. says

    I just stumbled upon your blog after Alyson Stanfield tweeted about choosing your personal symbol. I loved that idea (especially since I am a visual artist) and got right on it. Perusing about your site led me to this current post and man, did you hit me over the head!

    I lived in Nigeria for a while and was struck when I first got there to hear absolutely everyone respond to anything bad with an “oh, so sorry”. It was amazing. There it is the response most people used to say,” I wish you didn’t have to go through that”, or “I have empathy for your situation”. I found myself using this term in those situations while living abroad. My stateside friends thought I was nuts to say “I am sorry you have a cold” as if I had something to do with them getting it.

    Moving back to the states, I found myself reversing back into the “sorry” habit for anything or everything I felt I had done to not equal up to my personal potential. There are so many “grab hold of life and just do it” messages out there that when you fail to “just do it”, especially after announcing to the world your intentions, you feel like a failure and a fraud.

    I love this just because of that. I am going to stop apologizing over and over again for some unattainable ub-er me this year!

    Thanks for this post!

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m always fascinated by cross-cultural differences and how they do or don’t translate across borders. I like the Nigerian way of empathy. That’s totally different than meek apologeticness. (Not a word but I’m not apologizing for my linguistic creativity!)

      I agree that there’s a real GO FOR IT vibe out there, which is great, and you’ve pointed out the dark side of it. It’s not always a joyous thrusting forward. Sometimes it’s snail-like, sometimes it’s time to go back to bed, and always, the journey is yours to make how you wish.

      Thanks for dropping by, and I look forward to hearing more of your stories and connecting.

  11. says

    I’m with you, Cynthia, Apologies are in order if a person has been hurt by our words or we’ve let a door slam in someone’s face but not as a constant state of being. I am amazed that so many women have these feelings! How could this have happened? Good grief, we bear children, a task which if left to men, would quickly diminish the world’s population; we raise the kids, we create a home life, and usually set the standard by which we live; we help earn, and help save; we work at home chores and run errands ‘after hours’ when the men’s work hours are over, we create art (sometimes on our own face), and too often we raise children alone…

    I am not saying we’re more important than men…I’ve lived too long for that. I love our “menfolks”, but when we recognize what we have done and what we CAN do, I would wish that for this new year, every woman could recognize her worth and, yes Barb, stand proud and tall.

    Count the ways you are special, no need to flaunt it, it’s enough to KNOW it yourself. Hold your chin up ’cause you can take whatever is coming.

    • says

      Your litany of women’s work just emphasizes that we don’t need to apologize for our existence.

      Let’s start here by knowing our worth and sharing our juju with others! You’ve done so by sharing your perspective, which I always value.

  12. L Trevino says

    Beautiful! I love it! I catch myself constantly apologizing for thinking a certain way or being angry at stupidity that affects me, or just not doing what others expect! NO MORE! I am me, I will be me forever and I will not apologize for the way I think, the way I feel or refusing to be a doormat!

    Thank you – I love this!

    • says

      What a relief to release yourself from others’ expectations. That’s so exhausting!

      I’m glad this helps you step out of doormat and into something wonderful. Keep on keepin’ on!

  13. says

    I agree. I am going to stop apologising as well unless it’s really warranted.
    It does demean you and it’s unnecessary if you want to live inthe light.

    My word for the year is light.
    I want to be lighter, tread more lightly on the earth, spread more light and live in the light.

    Hopefully this will help me to overcome obstacles and attract better people and events into my life.

    Thank you for making me think.
    Regards janet keen
    From new Zealand.

    • says

      Light is great – it applies in so many ways and is an energy that’s easy to tap into. You can really feel when you’re heavy and feel when you’re light.

      Thanks for writing in, Janet!

  14. says

    Thank you for this. I am still narrowing down my choice for a word for 2011. I am considering Presence, Fearless, and Be, all of which will encourage me to be unapologetic!

  15. says

    Thank you for this. Because you are someone I only know online thus-far, it also surprised me to hear you say this has been an issue for you. And it’s a really important mission for you to have undertaken. In the southeast US, the habit is much more noticeable in women.

    Like many others who commented before me, this was once a bigger issue for me than it is now. But I recently noticed myself saying it a couple of times and afterward thought “Whoa, where did that come from?” Having thought that tendency was long dead… It’s so good to have your reminder because apparently some issues have to be revisited at different phases in life. Happy 2011 to you!

    • says

      Remember that we select what we show online (and off, for that matter). I don’t share a lot of my down times because it would take too much air space and I try to focus on the positive. I have the same issues everyone else does, I just focus on what I’m creating instead of what I perceive holds me back.

      It’s good to hear that this has faded as an issue for you. And, like many things, our issues spiral back around for another let-go.

      I still hear myself doing this, but for now I am content to be aware of it. Now when I bust myself saying sorry, I giggle, thinking of all you doing it with me. I’m not beating myself up, just noticing with lightness. It’s helping.

  16. says

    Came here via Lisa Call–though I’ve already had the word “purge” choose me for 2011, I’m adding “unapologetic” to the mix.

    With me, it’s less about the small apologies and more about having spent my life saying “I’m sorry I am the way I am, I’m sorry I’ve chosen to live my life in a way that you don’t agree with, I’m sorry if my choices offend you, I’m sorry that my belief that we really can live our dreams bothers you, I’m sorry that I want what I want rather than what you want me to want”, and the negative effect that has had on my life.

    I had an epiphany earlier today that I am constantly seeking permission to live my life on my terms because I’ve been taught that to do otherwise means I’m “wrong”. So I apologize for it. And then I vow to try to be better, to do it “right”, and then I’m miserable again.

    Maybe the need to be apologetic is the first thing to purge.

    • says

      I’m glad my video gave you the chance to revisit this issue. I know it’s a big one for many of us. What you describe sounds painful, and I know it’s common for a lot of artists. Our non-artist people may not understand our choices and we often feel it’s us that’s wrong. But no one’s wrong.

      This is why it’s so important to have creative friends and allies who understand our sometimes unconventional ways.

      What do you need to give yourself permission to live on your own terms? What would those terms be? It might be a lot of fun, and very liberating, to create your own manifesto for your own life.

      Thanks for visiting, and I’m very glad you took the time to comment. Enjoy the purge!

  17. says

    Thank you! This so needed to be said Cynthia. I apologize often for stuff. My stuff. Other’s stuff.

    This reminds me of something my older cousin shared about my great-grandfather who was unapologetic and was often quoted as saying he “shaded every bit of the ground he walked on.”

    I’ll continue to say “Pardon me” as needed(I do want to be polite) but saying I’m sorry for existing…or for being–I’m totally with you–unapologetic.

    • says

      Glad this resonated with you!

      What does that mean, ‘shaded every bit…’ I’m not sure how to interpret that!

      So happy you’re joining the unapologetic campaign!

  18. sara says

    very interesting idea. I do apologize a lot, not because I am being meek however, or am sorry, but just to be polite. If I rolled out my yoga mat too close to someone, I might say oops, sorry or I might say excuse me. I find them interchangeable.

  19. says


    The distinction isn’t always clear when talking about it. It’s very much like the difference between creative noodling and procrastinating.

    Only you know when you’re making yourself small versus being polite. I hope it’s clear that I am not advocating people be impolite!

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