On Being Brave: My 2014 One Word

We’re fourteen days into 2014. rose bud

So, this post is a bit late, a poor omen to how the rest of 2014 will be, I hope not. For the past three years or so that I have been blogging, I have chosen a word, a One Word to guide my choices for the year.(Kinda like Frodo and the One Ring but without the creepy Black Riders following me around).

Last year, I chose the word–IGNITE. For parts of 2013, my word represented my choices: I remembered why I loved teaching, why I loved writing. Looking back over 2013, I see how my one word helped me back better choices like submitting my poetry and fiction for publication and attending a writer’s retreat in Michigan. I published a couple of stories, began writing a novel that I still love, overcame my fear of flying (I have a strong hatred for O’Hare), and adopted a kitten (really the kitten has nothing to do with my One Word just throwing it out there in case you wanted to know).

Even with a strong One Word showing for 2013, I didn’t plan on choosing another word for 2014. Until one chose me.

The word niggled at my brain. It found its way into my new favorite song with the title as my word. Now, my 2014 theme song. This word wouldn’t let me go. Despite wanting to focus goals and checking off boxes next to things that I accomplished, this word, this one word kept hounding until I accepted:

My One Word for 2014


Brave looks like submitting more writing, consistently putting myself out there for both acceptance and rejection.

Brave looks like being bold with my words, saying what I need and want.

Brave looks like fierce honesty coupled with compassion.

Brave looks like blogging consistently, being more open both online and in person.

Brave looks like embracing imperfection and accepting that I can’t be perfect.

So, here’s to a BRAVE 2014.

Maybe, going to Mordor with Frodo would have been a safer idea.

On Being Silent

I watch the days tick by as January hurries ahead. Perhaps, you’ve noticed my silence in this space. How I told you all about my new word, how it would ignite passions and ideas. Then nothing. Maybe, you’re shaking your heads (if anyone is still here besides my husband who is required to read my blog). Somedays, I wonder if I need to keep writing things out in poetry, if I care any more, what’s next. All the wide questions and big ideas swirl about my head, and I watch amazed. And say nothing, this is okay with me.

Sometimes,when we most want to speak, we must remain silent.

It’s a slow process. This word ignite–I don’t fully understand it or how to live it. Sometimes, I want to dump out all the  things that are coming to light this year because ignite brings purifying fire. Burning away the rubbish parts, the things that hinder and dissuade me from reaching beyond myself. I need this slow burn. To purge me of the worst parts–the anger, the world-weariness, the stress of everyday living.

But sometimes, this is not the space for all things.

Lately, I have held back a great deal from this space about my healing, becoming myself, remembering how to be brave. While I admire those who can write out their lives unmasked, I have not been afforded that luxury. I hold back what’s on my heart and mind for what won’t piss off those who wish me ill or those I love ill. Part of me wants to post some snarky vendetta against cyber stalking and using the internet to spy on one’s “enemies” as a ludicrous waste of time. But I won’t stoop to that level.

In this silence, I have remembered that I am strong and brave–most importantly, I have a voice.

Part of my  One Word “ignite” is learning to use my voice so that it brings healing and not harm.  Can’t fire do both? Maybe, there is danger in this word. If I use it to burn shame and guilt into those whom I believe deserve it most, or if I choose to ignite the fires of hope and discourse.

So far,  I have experienced my word more than any other year. It has reawakened my passion for teaching. It has inspired me to join a writer’s group. It has encouraged me to submit stories. It has pushed me forward to define my goals for my life. For now, this is enough.

What has your One Word helped you do this month?