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.

18 thoughts on “Word of the Year, Week 2

  1. I picked the word “wisdom” by shuffling my deck of virtues cards. while I was shuffling I made the mistake of peeking and the word “creativity” was on top, but I realized that would be cheating, so kept on shuffling and pulled wisdom from the middle of the deck.

    In the past I kept pulling “patience” at a time when that was needed so I do have faith in this tool.

  2. My word for this year is independence. For almost a decade, I’ve belonged to groups because I thought I ought to, done art exchanges because people told me it would be good for me, worked to start a design business because it was expected, etc. I’m tired of doing things because someone says I ought to. I want to explore some new paths in art, try some new media, read some books just for fun, walk for my own pleasure, and do what I want to do when I want to do it. Independence. Right now I’d rather be in my art room, purging and indexing rubber stamps so I can find what I’m looking for when I want it! So, bye!

  3. I love the idea of “step up”. Step up and be heard? Long journey from the days of head down and silence.

    I’m struggling with my word –possibilities. Not because I don’t like it. I do. But I think this year may be a year of growing until I can adjust to the idea of so many possibilities open to me.

  4. OK, then I’m changing my word too. I’m changing it to
    “OK, then I’m changing my word too. I’m changing it to”
    “‘OK, then I’m…'” wait, apparently I didn’t change it…

  5. I choose the word “roots” as my word for 2011, and so far it is working out quite well. Perhaps because it’s a rather non-judgemental word, that isn’t based upon success or failure.

    Perhaps unconsciously that’s why I selected it – because I wanted a word that wouldn’t make me think about succeeding or failing…but simply about being. It’s like I was telling a friend the other day: “a tree doesn’t have to be perfect, it merely has to be a tree.” By the same token, I am learning to accept my own imperfections, and just be.

    It’s been interesting how “roots” has entered into my life in a number of ways already this year, and how it seems to be playing its role in my interactions with others as well. The above mentioned friend shared with me some poetry in which roots – in one of its many definitions – plays a central theme. I reposted her poem on my blog, as part of my attempt to utilize my word as a theme for my blog writing this year. I got a comment from another friend and fellow member of the Deaf Community, sharing her own thoughts about roots.

    Another post I did on my blog was featured on the Facebook pages of one of the top resource websites in the Pagan Community, and I was somewhat surprised and yet very touched by the positive response it received. This has served to strengthen my roots within this community, which is also important to me.

    Yes, I think I picked a good word. That little seedling is definitely putting out some good roots already. I’m looking forward to how it continues to grow over the next couple of weeks.

    • It sounds like you picked the perfect word, Ocean. I’m also glad that whether you notice it or not, if a post reached the resource page of a top Pagan website, well, that looks like success to me!

  6. I change my word for: “keep going, don’t look back now”
    So often I freeze with fear and then I tend to stop and look to make sure I walk the right path.
    I don’t want to be stopped and hold back any longer by the fear and anxiety that origine from the past.

    Yes Quinn good word!

  7. Yaaaay Quinn. I like this word for you. It is, as you describe. Funny that I already think of you in a ‘step-up’ kind of way so I am glad you are going that way too.

    My word, engage, is working great. It seems to be a great, and easy reminder that I have a choice, at any given moment to be engaged, or not. I am having fun with it so far, and getting a lot of things accomplished or at least moving in that direction.

    • Thanks for thinking of me as stepping up already, Rosaland. I worked in an ad agency once, and right before a presentation, the Creative Director would yell, “Don’t write a check with your mouth that your ass can’t cover!” Meaning, of course, that we were not to over-promise to the client. I have the other problem. In some cases, I bury the light and pretend I’m stupid or inconsequential. I’ve been doing this more and more and I’m stopping it. Right now.

  8. Quinn,
    Thank you for the encouragement you shared on my blog. The fact that it led me to your blog makes me even more thankful. I love your insightful, creative and often humorous writing. I am looking forward to reading it often.

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