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You are such a cheese!

Language ​​has always interested me. With a backpack containing lots of Latin, a few other languages, a fondness for crossword-puzzles and a professional life as a speech and language therapist, I've had my fair share of dissecting words, looking at their components, and finding out meanings and origins. For me, there is something special about deeply understanding something - even if only a word.

One thing about language that especially fascinates me are the words and expressions we use "because that’s what we always did". When I grew up, my mother would often use the expression - translated from Swedish - "You are such a cheese!". It was her way of expressing a sigh in a loving way. If I accidentally spilled or broke something or if I did something that didn't turn out well, it often didn't take her long to see the human and the humor in it. ”Oh Karolina, you are such a cheese!" she said with a crooked smile and then we went on to fix what had gone wrong.

This expression still sounds completely normal and natural to my ears and it became something of an eye opener for me when I understood that it wasn't like that at all for everyone else who did not grow up in the same family as me. And I got an even bigger surprise one day when I heard the same loving sigh from a member of a family close to us, but instead expressed as "You are such a bag!". Bag? What do you mean, bag?!

For me, it seems true that words and expressions carry values ​​and meaning, and that these can vary from person to person. Some words may have been used in our childhood home, others in the culture, place or time we grew up in. Some words and expressions feel triggering and vulnerable for some people to use but completely natural and safe for others. There are words and even topics that I sometimes hesitate to approach in Swedish, but that I can easily be with in English.

These days, I observe a new kind of awareness in society about the importance of our choice of words, especially if we speak in public. Perhaps this also holds an invitation for us to take a look at where the words and expressions that we use in our everyday lives come from. Do they reflect who we are and want to be? Do they express something we can stand for and do we want to keep them?

There have been periods in my life, when I've had a rather loud inner critic with lots to say about how I should be, what I should be able to handle and how many mistakes I make on a daily basis. There are still days when embracing certain parts and qualities in myself is hard; days when I catch myself using my words in judgment toward myself and others (and if not openly, at least to myself). Sometimes I wish I could see some of the labels I put on things through a different, kinder and more allowing lens. But one thing I know for sure: continuing to be a cheese is something I don't mind at all!

Are there any words or expressions that you use "because that’s what you always did"? Please share in the comments section below.



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