Word for word.
Perhaps more so than any other year I find this first day of 2015 one of vast reflection. The last six months have found me walking a path which seems to have turned from a well defined paved opulence to uneven gravel, those stretches of crushed and broken shards reminding me with each step just how painful the journey can be, leaving me at times unsure of what lies ahead.
Words. That is really what I keep coming back to when I think about what it is at the core of one’s survival. Those utterances that define everything in our worlds with one slip of the tongue everything can fall apart and anything can become hopeful again all within the power of a single word. Sitting on the padded wooden table, with my pants leg forcefully shoved up past my kneecap the needle went in at an angle and the searing pain unearthed me, I could not help but yelp and all it took was Lauren stating the obvious instruction, “breathe” for me to make it through that moment. Not an arsenal of virtuous banter wanting to make it better, or invalidating the situation, just one very simple word. When I went back for the next injection by myself, that one word is what I heard in my head coming from Lauren’s mouth as the same pain grabbed hold of me but somehow did not seem quite as bad as it did the first time around. When you think about it, that is powerful stuff.
Words have become my saving grace, both receiving them, being able to write them and knowing that whatever may come my way in 2015 they will always be there to guide me. My hope is that they will serve me well as a companion over the next 365 days as I venture forward and take whatever comes my way with dignity, grace and humor, expressing it all with the words which I have grown quite addicted to over the last several years.
I received an envelope in the mail just before Christmas. I was not expecting anything, but I recognized the name immediately and though we have never met in person (something I almost always forget) Marci is a friend of a friend (thank you Amy!), who then became my friend because she is engaging, kind, compassionate and we share a mutual love for excellent music, food, a certain show that might start with Orange, end with Black, and of course dogs, dogs, dogs. We live 1,648 miles apart, yet I am not sure anyone has sent me a gift that has quite moved me on the level this one has. To anyone else they are just words, forty six random haphazardly strewn words on a page, but for me these words are the deep rooted reasons and more importantly reminders of why I stumble forward each day. I opened the envelope pulling out the enclosed single page, I traced my finger over each letter, those letters strung themselves together making words, words like “Big John” and instantly I saw my Dad’s face so vividly that I could smell the sweet pungent echo of his cologne in the room, each word a stitch in the tapestry of me. A powerhouse of words on a page that would remind me that it is simply unfathomable the tremendous effects we can have on one another despite distance, or what we perceive are the rules of friendship, connection and comfort.
This act of beautiful kindness has made me think about the new year, about “resolutions” or tweaks as I like to think of them, I am already on a quest of continued weight loss, being able to move more, and to eat healthy which I of course I will continue because my new bionic knee is waiting for me! My hope is that this year I make a greater effort to use words with more respect and I don’t mean not cussing or trying to be better about grammar, which everyone here knows I could use a big old spoonful to remedy my run on sentence addiction, but I am talking about acknowledging the power that words hold. I want to be more thoughtful and reflective how I speak and what I say, keeping in mind the damage that can be done by not only what we say, but how we say it. Words are powerful and people listen to what is said around them even if those words are not directed specifically at them. It matters, and the moments in which words can be used to make a situation better no matter how big or small being able to change someone’s perspective, or attitude, even if just for a second can result in maybe making a day better, giving someone a different experience or just maybe a little hope they didn’t think was possible. So often words can cut right to the core of our darkest, most vulnerable places and the ripple effect can be toxic and create such unnecessary chaos in a fragile moment. Words have the power to make anything possible, manifesting themselves into poetry, music, books, film, conversations, and ultimately our connection to everything, which can change our view and the lens in which we see the world around us. I , myself welcome some new scenery for as we head into January.
So here is a Happy New Year wish for us all, that 2015 is amazing in every way filled with lots of words that immerse our hearts, minds and lives with goodness and love.
“At this point in my life, I would never be able to give up songwriting. It’s such a part of me now and everything I do informs it. Conversations, relationships, great books and films — they all lead me back to the construction of a song. It’s true that I learned to write songs so that I would have something to sing, so they’re both a really big part of what I do in that way. One wouldn’t be the same without the other.”-B. Carlile
Thank you, Marci.