This year's word has not been a clear choice. Truth be told, it's been a struggle to find one word that feels right to me. The struggle led me to question many things. How does the word fit into my creative life? What do I want from it? Why is this such a struggle this year in particular? Why do I need a word at all?
The answer is I'm searching for a life line. And one word may not be enough.
With the political climate drastically changed, I find myself flooded with feelings I did not ever expect to feel about my life, my country and even my neighbors. I fear my basic rights as a woman are now in question. I'm angry to see a blatant racist misogynist elected into one of our country's most visible worldly positions. I am sad to know women actually voted this person into this office causing me to look at my neighbors with different eyes.
I don't like what I see. I've struggled to find a word to hold onto, to calm me, to lift me up.
Truth. Hope. Humor. These three words rose to the surface of the muck pulling me down on a daily basis. How to pick one? As a writer and an artist, my first instinct is to research by pulling out the Merriam Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus. Here are condensed definitions of all three words.
Truth (search popularity 20%): sincerity in action, character, and utterance; facts
Hope (search popularity 1%): to expect with confidence; trust
Humor (search popularity 40%): a sense of the ludicrous, absurd, comical or amusing; laugh
The Thesaurus led me to an insight: the feelings I didn't want to feel were, in fact, the exact opposite of this year's choices.
Antonym of Fear: Hopeful, Calm, Courage
Antonym of Anger: Delight, Humor, Joy, Peace
Antonym of Sadness: Hopeful, Honest/True, Humor/Joy
Ah ha. My key feeling has been sadness and the antidote, I see is all three. But I only pick one word for the year. I use it as a touch stone, a mantra, a light to guide me on my daily path and this year, I truly needed a strong word to hang onto, to lift me up and out, feel true and give me a sense of possibility.
This year, let it be the small flame in the darkness. The glimmer of truth. A knowing laugh that this too, shall pass.