Word of the Year, Week 2

No, I won’t do this every week of the year. (Here’s last week’s post.)  But your emails and comments let me know this is still a topic that people are exploring. (The original pick-your-word-post.)

I’m changing my word. You can, too. Sometimes that word we choose in a wistful, sentimental, misty-eyed moment at the end of the year doesn’t fit when the bright sun comes up in the New Year. That’s what happened to me.  I had chosen “wonder”–as both a noun and a verb, as in “I wonder what will happen if I mix this and that?” and “I looked at the orange tree with wonder.”

A great reminder about watching yourself. From my friend Liz Crain.

If your word isn’t working, or it’s not as inspiring as you thought, or the events of the first two weeks made you change your mind, please do so.

My new word for the year is “step up.” Technically, it’s two words. No one is counting. There are no rules (despite the email one person sent me.)

I need to step up more. To speak what I think. To live my values. Not to be quiet and turn my head when someone says something hateful, mean or combative. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

I’m not talking about picking a fight with people  with whom I don’t agree. That’s not it.  But I do mean speaking up when someone says something gossipy or harmful in my presence. I think we’ve gone long enough not wanting to confront or correct others. I am a huge First Amendment believer, but if they have the right to speak, I have the right to speak back. Politely, but in a stepping-up kind of way.

Another example of stepping up is to be the voice of my book. In July, the book will come out. People are asking me about it, and I’m downplaying it. Because, honestly, that’s what women of a certain age, who were raised to be humble and meek were taught. I wrote that book for people who are scared, who think they aren’t enough, who are daring to keep a journal to find themselves in their journey. Those thoughts are important. Those people are worthwhile. It’s time to stand up for the book, not to act embarrassed that I wrote a book. Last week I caught myself mumbling, “Oh, it’s just about art.” What?  “Just”? Those lessons from the past don’t serve me anymore.

Nothing wrong with “wonder,” but it’s time to stand up.

In the comments below, let me know if you changed your word or how it’s showing up in your life.

-Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist, whose book “Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art,” is coming out in July.