Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Power of Words

Many of the blogs I read have participated in the One Little Word Project, and I'm a little slow out of the gates, but this subject is near and dear to my heart, because this is something of a tradition for me.

Every year, for the past three years around Christmas, whether blatantly or subtly, D finds out what word I would like to have as my mantra for the coming year. Although the actual physical follow-through didn't happen until a year later, I think the tradition was created after a retrospective talk at the end of 2007, which, to date, seemed to be the busiest year of our lives together. That year, I finally graduated from college (after taking seven years to complete an undergrad... let me tell you - it's tough to get a degree when, for the first few years of it, you end up in a psych ward every time exam season rolled around!), D started a brand new job, I started a brand new job (first time in the full-time workforce, after having been on disability for years), we moved away from the city, we bought a condo in the suburbs, and we got married. Yes - all of this in one year!

Although it was a thrilling year, I think it knocked the wind out of both of us - especially me, who is not super great with change and/or not knowing what the future will bring. We are not superstitious people, nor are we big holiday folks, but New Years to us seems to be the most important time... especially after a year like 2010, which was pretty horrible, to be honest.

So each year since 2007, I have - sometimes unknowingly - chosen a single word for the coming year. Starting at Christmas in 2008, D made it real for me.

My 2009 word

STRENGTH was my word for 2009. For the Christmas just prior, D got me a key chain which you can add anything to (it's a circular stainless steel band - see above, on a blanket full of kitten fur). She got my word engraved and STRENGTH was the original... I had no idea that it would turn into an annual gift. I chose STRENGTH because, many many years ago, before D and I were a couple, and we were just friends, I was going through some tough times with my health, and D gave me a little silver pocket charm with the word "STRENGTH" etched into one side.

I kept that charm in my pocket every day for six years. I could not leave the house without it, and I always found comfort putting a hand in my pocket, just to touch it, know it was there, and draw whatever strength I could from it. I have always known the power of words (part of the reason I wanted to become a writer... still working on that!), and though it was such a simple thing, it meant so much to me.

Perhaps too much. I got attached to it, and couldn't imagine going through life without it. I think the day of my wedding was the first day that I didn't have it on my person; I was wearing a dress, after all... and let's just say my boobs don't really allow for "storage" like some other boobs I know (very) well.

My friends got married two months after we did, and on the way to their reception - somewhere between the car to the venue - the pocket strength got lost. Panicked, I looked for quite some time, and because of lack of light and just too much ground to cover, I had to let it go. Both physically and metaphorically. It was harder than I ever thought it would be. I took some solace in the fact that I had drawn all the strength I could from it, and that the person who found it was someone who needed it more than I did... that I was ready to move on.

Although I was able to live just fine without it, it never really left my mind, so when D gave me this new strength just over a year later, it felt like I had found the charm all over again.

I didn't know it was to become an annual thing, until the next year:
My 2010 word

GOODNESS. Although it sounds a little funny off the tongue, GOODNESS made sense for 2010. The year certainly didn't turn out to have a heck of a lot of goodness in it - at least not until the last few months of it - but it was still something that resonated with me at the turn of the year. I have since washed myself clean of all the wrongs of 2010 - and there was plenty of that - so maybe it wasn't a good choice, but I certainly learned, by the end of the year, the power that the word GOODNESS holds... and the good did come, just a little later in the year. By November 2010, GOODNESS did fill a lot of my life.

This year's word is the most exciting to me, I think.

My 2011 word

HOPE. It even looks different from the prior years' designs. Because this year really is going to be different. It will be filled with HOPE... it already is.

I have hope for my relationship, because I know it's true potential.

I have hope that we will find a new home, perfect for us, where I know we belong.

I have hope that a new job will come up, where I will be celebrated and recognized (I would stay in mine, but it is a mat leave position!)

I have hope for my health, as I wean off some meds.

I have hope that this year will bring a family - whatever that may mean.

Bring it on...


  1. These are such good words. I've been trying to think what mine should be since I read the original post. Trust is the one I keep thinking of, or Peace/Serenity. But I'm not sure enough of either to go with it, so for now I'll just have to live vicariously.

  2. Great post!! I love the words and I LOVE the charms, too!!

    May 2011 be a year that lives true to your word!!!

  3. I love this tradition and 2011's word.