Auto-Correct

A few months ago, I took an old notebook, half-filled with Russian words, out of a cupboard, and appointed it my new diary notebook.

It has more ink in it now than it could ever have as the kind of notebook you take to classes. In fact, it’s almost full by now. When I wave it goodbye and take on a new one, I know I’ll remember it with fondness because it is the place where I’ve learned and am practicing a new life skill: auto-correct.

The pages filled with Russian words are the only pages from my notebook that you're allowed to see...
The only pages from my notebook that you’re allowed to see…

Let me explain. For most of my life, I thought I lacked self-confidence but that that was the way I was. I thought that not being sure what you want and not believing that you can get what you want was something you were born with and that you couldn’t change regardless of how much effort you put into it.

“Being the way I was” in this aspect never made me happy. But it wasn’t until my early twenties that I decided I can get rid of tendencies that make me unhappy.

One of the eye-opening events during that time was reading Anna’s post about women’s lack of confidence in their dreams, plans, and abilities.

It was this post that made me start to notice the little “I think’s” and “maybes” that I slip into my utterances, my diary entries, even my thoughts. And when I became aware of the number of those seemingly harmless words in my language, I decided to… one after another, get rid of the fuckers.

So when I had filled some of the new notebook those few months ago and, flipping through it one lazy day, spotted several sentences starting with “I think I may want to…” or “maybe I will…” crowding it up, I corrected them to what I actually wanted to say: “I want to”, “I will”.

Since then, I’ve crossed out many “I think’s” and “maybes”, and you know what? Over time, I’ve begun to feel more confident about what I want and how I feel about things. In fact, I’m just beginning to believe that I have the right to want things, and to feel about things the way I do. In other words, I’m beginning to feel that my life is actually mine.

Auto-correct may well sound silly to you, but to me it sounds like the best way to start. I have always experienced words spoken out loud as “heavier” than ones you just turn over in your head. That’s probably because I don’t like talking very much, so when I do talk, I try to at least make the words “heavier”, that is more meaningful.

The same goes for words that get crossed out on paper — the act of crossing them out means that I don’t want them in my language. It’s a manifestation. It means that I want to change.

So if you also want to change something about yourself… why not try out auto-correct?

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You Make Me

Once upon a time there was a man called Witold Gombrowicz, and this man wrote a multitude of words, and some of these words had the power to infatuate me, stay with me and, in the long run, make me who I am.
“Man through man. Man in relation to man. Man created by man. Man strenghtened by man”[*]
These are just a sample taken out of the multitude. But they’re important to me.
They made me realize how heavy people weigh on me, and how full of shit my mind is because of their words and actions, but also how many wonderful things in life they let me discover, and how happy a person all of this makes me.
You can take it as a prayer: I just wanted to tell you, my dear multiple human maker, that you make me whenever I come in contact with you.
You make me go back to the here and now when my thoughts have wandered off and you start a conversation. Thanks; the shit’s useful.
You make me go through just the next disillusionment of my life when you’re not capable of treating me with basic respect.
You make me laugh when you tell me about somebody’s death as if it’s funny. Or when you tell me other funny things.
You make me wonder how exactly am I supposed to like this world as you let old hate repeat itself through your words and actions.
You make me an extremely rich person when you tell me stories. Thanks again; the shit tends to be amazing.
You make me want to sterilize all stupid people when I see you punish your child physically in the street.
You make me withdraw when there’s too much of you.
You make me hang on to what’s best in me and you when I see you smile.
And in the long run, you make me me, too.

[*] From Gombrowicz’s Diary, translated by Lillian Vallee. I recently discovered Marek Grechuta made a song out of these words. It’s brilliant.

All the best,
Mulan

P. s. Forgive me the colours. I was feeling colourful, perhaps a bit too much.