Maybe you know this about me already, by often I like to embed you/I/we and (y)our into my writing. Honestly, I really am turned off when a writer uses "you" throughout a piece of writing when they aren't specifically referring to me. To me, it comes off as this amorphous "you" that I either feel lost in or repelled by.
You should do this.
Do you need this?
Do you want this?
You're thinking this.
Even if I am needing this or thinking exactly that, I am turned off merely by the fact that someone decided to choose "you" as the default pronoun and therefore elected to move with the audacity that they know me and my inner workings – even when they've likely never met me.
If a writer purely leans on "I" as the default pronoun, it can either be with good reason (in that they are sharing a personal story) or it can get awfully navel-gazy awfully quickly.
Now, don't get me wrong, I have certainly been the writer who has written plenty of paragraphs that have fallen squarely in both the "you" and the "I" camps. And it's not like I'm shedding all of that in this note to you right now either.
Early on in realizing these tendencies towards "you" and "I," I started playing with weaving in "we."
From my perspective, too often "we" (in this instance I mean the overculture) have a way of either downplaying the worth of the "we" relationship or totally forgetting there is always some type of relationship between you and me (whether the "you" or the "me" is a dog on the couch, a spider in the bathroom, a tree living where a house is about to be built, or a loud neighbor).
That's when I started playing with writing "you/me/we" and "(y)our." But writing all that each time a pronoun shows up can get quite cumbersome and confusing.
So, the mini-experiment (within my new 'experiment in belonging' of centering questions and opening up dialogue) is this:
- I invite you to play with the pronouns that show up in the questions I pose each week.
- If you see a "you," maybe play with an "I," a "we," "she," "they" or "he" ! Whatever pronoun you read in a question, experiment with inserting a different one.
- See how that shifts your/my/our perspective! 🤭
What's the new experiment in belonging* I'm referring to? Check it out in a recent note I emailed out to members – and you!
*This experiment in belonging is best experienced by being a Be With Cassandra member. It's simple and free to join.