One Word

Throughout the month of December, I will be taking part in a 31-day writing challenge called Reverb 10.  It is an annual event to look back and reflect on the last year and consider the potential of the approaching new year.  Each day, I will respond to a writing prompt – 31 of them – in hopes of sparking a positive energy flow that will continue into and throughout 2011.

(I’m a couple days behind, but will try to catch up as soon as possible)

December 1 – One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)


What word would I use to describe 2010? Wow, that is a tough one. 2010 started out on a supreme high note for me.  The first few months were a lightening bolt of positive energy. It was a period of self-realization I had not previously encountered. I was finally on the cusp of discovering who the real me – the authentic Tracy is – and don’t get me wrong. I still am.

Then something happened and that lightening bolt fizzled.  I tried to help an acquaintance of mine from college who was going through a difficult time.  I sincerely meant to offer words of encouragement but it was not what she wanted or needed, I guess.  She blew up at me via email – swearing at me – which is something I am definitely NOT used to.  It shook me to my core.  I remember reading the email with the vile words filled with such fury and hatred.  I couldn’t understand her response.  I had meant no harm, no offense.  I started shaking and broke down in the shower after my workout.  My attempt to help someone – to reach out was a colossal fail.  I emailed her back and apologized.  I did not respond in anger, instead I told her to go ahead and vent, that it was okay to let it out if she needed and that I wasn’t going anywhere. She was flabbergasted that I did not freak out on her but in the end, she unfriended me from Facebook.  It stung.  She is a gifted photographer and writer.  I don’t know her well but was attracted as a friend, to her immense creativity and unique individuality.  That was the beginning of my downward spiral. It shook my confidence and made me doubt myself again – a feeling I am all too familiar with.  My desire to become a creativity coach seemed really ridiculous. So I put that idea straight out of my mind. How can I possibly study to become a creativity coach when I can’t even help a friend?

From there, things – life just seemed to get in the way.  Life happened as it always does.  Personal relationships with several people crumbled.  My father reverted to his old selfish, vile self.  My heart broke with the realization that he will truly never change.  Then a dear loved one – my husband’s grandfather, passed away.  His death has still not hit us.  Not really.  We know he is gone but I don’t think it will become real until we go back to Montana to visit my husband’s family and Grandpa is not there.  That’s when it will hit us indeed.

After that, a friend of mine whom I had not spoken to in a while despite my attempts to communicate, finally emailed me and told me that she felt we had drifted too far apart and she no longer felt we could be friends. I was unprepared for this.  I’m not saying I am the perfect friend or person. Indeed I am not, but her reasonings were so far from who I am and who my other friends know me to be that it made no sense.  So, we ended the friendship.  It still stings.  She was a newer friend – but she was there for me throughout my pregnancy in 2007.  She, along with another friend of mine, threw my baby shower.  She made this amazing cake.  She was selfless and creatively stimulating to be around.  She is quite a bit younger than me but still, a friend I did treasure and this split – this break – still puzzles me and breaks my heart.  I don’t know that I will ever get over this loss. I miss her.

I know my troubles are but a tiny speck on the bigger picture that is life.  I realize there are all too many who endure suffering and sadness beyond my comprehension.  All I know is that which I am going through.  I feel deeply. I hurt when others hurt. I desire to help others, to make a difference – to make life easier for someone else and yet my attempts to do so seem to constantly backfire.

So my word this year, for right now would have to be doubt.  If anything, this year has made me doubt myself more than ever.  I know that is a negative attitude, but it is my reality.  I know I have a lot of work to do.  This word does not define me, it just describes my current state predicated on the events of 2010, so far.

For 2011, I would love my word to be JOY. Joy in the smallness of small things – perfect in their imperfection – joy in everything and anything just because.  That is my hope and it is my desire that I too, bring joy to others.

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