As I approached 2020, I intuitively knew that my word would be Bloom. As a flower lover, I LOVE the word bloom. As an enneagram 4, I cringed when I realized this beautiful word made its way onto most Word of the Year lists. (we Fours do not like to follow trends.) Even so, my gut beat on: bloom is your word.
And also, I was scared. I was scared because my words of years past had always seemed soft enough, and benign. Then, as the year would unfold, I would begin to realize how absolutely brutal the process of living out an innocent word could be. Being a lover of the word BLOOM scared me because i didn’t want to come out hating it, in the end. As a lover of fresh cut flowers, I went into January declaring this would be the year I had fresh cut flowers in my home at all times. THIS would be the year I planted beautiful flowering bushes in my yard. This would be the year my creativity blossomed! This would be the year that I found the things which made me feel beautiful and ran hard with them…
I was right there with everyone else, optimistically looking ahead at the new decade. The 20’s were incredible, one hundred years before, and we’d collectively had a string of rough years. Manifesting a beautiful new year, new decade, new ______________________- I danced 2019 away in my favorite bar, with my favorite guy…
The rest is mostly history, where 2020 is concerned. We all know how that went.
I did begin to lose hope along mid-may. I had recovered from presumed covid. I had crossed the threshold of the one year mark since my daughter severed her relationship with me. That I had survived both things, and was not a damaged shell of a person did help- the truth was I was worn thin. I had watched a business venture I had poured myself into, tank. I saw my freelancing opportunities dry up, as the entertainment industry ground to a halt. Trips to see loved ones were cancelled. Isolation was setting in. My husband was hit with a substantial pay cut, and for awhile I wondered where we’d be sleeping in a few months time. (also… no flowers. The flower industry was hit hard. When flowers slowly made their way back into the supermarket world they were ugly and who could afford them anyway? not me.)
As the year continued its rampage, my mother’s cancer returned. Due to restrictions, I wasn’t able to be there for her. Her Alzheimer’s guaranteed she did not understand my absence. As a girl who spent her entire life wishing she could one day be enough for her mentally ill mother, I have become this passionate advocate for “my people.” She is my person and the thought of her spending the last days of her fragmented memory of me believing I didn’t care- it gutted me. In addition, missed birthdays, weddings, milestones… My losses and stressors were not any more significant than anyone else’s, but they were levelling.
For months I didn’t even acknowledge my word. We were at odds, as if the choice of the word itself had somehow promised me a year other than the one I had…
Sometime around September I took the courage to face the word. How did BLOOM look, in my year? I had laughed sarcastically to myself, as I pulled out my notebook.
When a seed splits wide open, and life begins to stem from it, is the beginning of a journey towards bloom. It takes an entire season, within the life of that plant- a season of growing and stretching, tearing and agony. Thirsty times, and burning ones. As mesmerizing as a time-lapse recording of a plant’s growth is, have you ever paused to consider what the real time process would feel like?
We love the idea of blooming… I LOVE THE IDEA of blooming… but from seed to petals bursting open, the journey is akin to hell.
Just like a flower, I reached my loveliest point in the last quarter. My mind was ripe with ideas, creativity, productivity and so much more. Things I could never have thought myself capable of months before, are now happening beneath the surface of what my online life shows. It is like a part of me CAME TO LIFE. I am networking every day with the most incredible women. Just as with the years before, I know the Words of the Year which proceeded 2020 set the stage for my journey with BLOOM.
I also know that BLOOM paves a step for what comes next, in this journey. I won’t lie, I am a little intimidated by my 2021 Word of the Year. I have known what my word would be since that afternoon with the notebook, in early autumn. Those three little letters revealed themselves to me and I shivered. Between you and me, I have been dreading it ever since. This new word, which I’m not ready to share quite yet, is a lot less benign. While it has the potential to be incredibly empowering, it also has the probability of undoing me. ( if that’s the case, it will be something that needed to be undone)
As a list lover, I thought I’d share some of my expectations for the year, verses a few of the unexpected:
Things I didn’t expect to do:
- develop an appreciation for cute face masks.
- Join the NAACP
- Have to choose between Trump or Biden.
- Spend 2/3rds of the year deep in a video game
- Self publish a project.
- Expand my business creatively.
- Not make it to NM, AZ, ID or TX.
- Rescue a litter of abandoned kittens.
- have one die in my arms.
- Keep one.
- Fall out of love with going to the movies.
- Have to write out & formalize my ‘last wishes’, in case I died.
- Stop going to church.
- Share an office space with my husband.
- Unpack and resort my beliefs.
- Realize my country isn’t what I thought it was.
- Sell my beloved Kate Spade collection.
- Stop going out, almost entirely.
- Host ZERO parties/dinner parties.
- Only see my mother once, from the other side of a this plastic tent.
- Fall in love with liturgies.
- Stop working from my favorite coffee shop 1-2 times a week.
- Reprioritize & realign
- Find new and creative ways to hang out with the people I care about.
- Spend 10-30 hours on zoom, most weeks.
- Laugh more than any other year before, by a lot.
Things i planned on and succeeded:
- completing the first draft of my memoir.
- Working on a book proposal.
- Read more books.
- Collaborate with empowering women.
- Expand my reach, in order to connect with and support other women.
- Grow my platform.
- Expand my knowledge.
- Explore my creativity.
- Dance more.
- Write more notes/letters.
- Practice intentional stillness.
When you reflect back- how was your personal journey? Beyond the pandemic, supply shortages and unexpected isolations, how did you grow?