The Girl Who Said Sorry - Interview with children's author Hayoung Terra Yim
At times "I'm sorry" can feel like it's been engrained into our brains as women. The need to take up less space and apologize is a big theme throughout our lives. To dig deeper into this topic, and more importantly make a cultural shift happen Hayoung Terra Yim wrote the perfect antidote: "The Girl Who Said Sorry." Check out our interview with the author and get your copy of the book here!
What inspired you to write this book?
I joke that it's partly because I'm Canadian, but I apologize a lot. I've even apologized for apologizing too much! And this was the most frustrating realization I've ever had: it's one thing to gain awareness, and completely another to fight years of conditioning.
That's why I believe it's crucial to catch certain mindsets early on, and why I wanted to write a book for young girls. To contribute to an arsenal of counter-conditioning, if you will.
The illustrations are gorgeous, can you tell us about the look and feel of the book?
Thank you so much! I wanted the images to reflect how subtle yet powerful language can be. Which is why the book is predominantly white, with focused points of colour.
I expressed exactly what I wanted via crude stick figures... And the artist Marta transformed them with her magic!
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What advice do you have for our readers who might be in an apology loop. Is there a trick you have found to taking back your power?
Every day, I still feel the impulse to apologize: before making or denying a request, before asking a question, and before giving an opinion, especially if it contradicts someone else. It feels almost instinctual, and certainly maddening!
But I believe the key is mindfulness - to be on the lookout for conditioned behaviours, to notice the impulse to apologize when we feel it and to question whether or not any transgression really took place.
How does feminism influence your work?
The vision of a more equal world permeates my everyday mentality. It's actually pretty obsessive. I think it would be impossible for this longing for equality to not present itself in my work.
Feminism is present in every single piece I've written, whether or not I intended it. This is awkward to admit while promoting a children's title... but my first book was a marijuana memoir (intended to raise awareness during the legalization debate) - and one common observation was that it had strong feminist undertones. It wasn't what I had explicitly intended, but it reflected the thoughts and questions that were on my mind at the time.
Once you have an awakening and actively notice the social currents that underlie so much of our behaviour and attitudes, I think the movement becomes a part of you - and your creative endeavours.
How can our readers support you and where can they buy the book?
As for support from readers... it would be incredible if they spread the word! I don't underestimate the power of social media (even if I'm just terrible at it), or of reviews or word-of-mouth recommendations.
And most importantly, please help raise stronger and more mindful children!