the gift of words

I love words. Some words beg to be used in sentences, like vast and belligerent. Whimsical is as sweet as it sounds. There are words I enjoy because of what they mean like hope and ecstatic and mindful. They draw you in. I like fancy and delightful because it’s fancy and delightful. I play with words, shuffle them around until they become significant, revelatory. In our house we have words we make up like numptyhead. In our car you could hear, “What a numptyhead!” It’s a nice alternative to idiot when someone cuts you off.

Every year I choose a word to point to, something to steady me when my world gets uneven. Like Charlotte spinning words into her web, it becomes a banner, a guiding star. For a long time it was Perseverance. For two years my life was caught up in that word. Then I slowly worked through Overcome.  One year I pursued Generosity. Then Hope…recently Belief. This year a word found me. I pondered the many words in front of me and shook them as if they were contained in a snow globe.  They whirled and floated and settled. One tiny word winked at me on its way down. Shine.

I wouldn’t normally take on a word like that. A small word that packs a punch. It’s a word that deserves attention, a stage. It’s daring. It implies more. Shine wants to be explored and I suspect it’s attached to this manuscript I’ve been working on for three years. Soon I’ll be able to hold my book in my hands and I’ll feel the weight of my words, the heft of my horror, my undoing, and then my redemption. My wish is that these words will make someone feel less alone and fill them with possibility.

Shine is about ownership of a life I claimed 14 years ago. I said yes to life when death came for me. I turned from despair and chose hope and love. I spent a long time fighting, changing and accepting. Today, now, this year instead of something to strive for or aspire to, I wonder if Shine will be my gift.

What about you? Do you have words that guide you or words that beg for your attention?

16 thoughts on “the gift of words

  1. Kerstin

    So happy to read your blog again!
    Shine is the perfect word for you. Your writing shines, your book will shine and I am sure it will light the way for many people who will read it.
    I’m on a quest for this year – my personal revelation revolution, in which I try to live my best life. So far so good 😉

    1. heidi Post author

      Oooh, I like that! Revelation revolution…those are some good words. I wish you all the best on your quest. Yeah, I could not resist the rhyme.

  2. Kathy

    I like numptyhead … Nicole and her friend came up with “skadooch” … a cross between scooch (as in scooch over) and skidaddle! I love your words …. I’m “enamoured” with them :). Hope you have a good day my friend!

  3. christy

    I like numptyhead too. I’m adopting it, in fact! So glad to see your blog pop up in my dashboard again! I love your writing! KEEP it up! Shine on Heidi, SHINE!!!!

  4. Alexandra

    I think of you so often, Heidi.

    Flashes of your fight, your daily commitment to living as hope and inspiration and a testament to inner strength, blur my eyes with tears.

    You are a force of nature.
    I wish so much good for you.


  5. tara pohlkotte

    yes, yes, yes. Shine. It’s perfect. It’s you. It takes hope, it takes courage, it take grit and determination. it takes the black that consumes the sky, and carves a tiny slit in it. to seep out of. ah. WHEN am i going to get to meet you in person? Tell me Wisconsin will be on our book tour?!?! I mean, why wouldn’t it be. 😉

  6. julie gardner

    Shine is such a brave word. And it’s perfect for you. For this year and for all that is coming your way because of your Generosity, your Perseverance. Belief and Hope.

    My word last year was Joy and – perhaps ironically or because I was capable of handling it – 2012 was a challenging year. So many people I love were in pain due to collapsing finances, ending marriages, poor health, loss of career. It’s hard to be joyful when the ones you care most about are suffering.

    And yet. I chose to look at the JOY in my own life, to be their vessel, listen to their hurt.

    This year, I thought I’d try the word Peace – and my world experienced a bit of upheaval early on. It seems when I decide on a word, the universe throws me the opposite to see what I do.

    What do I do?

    Deep breaths. Warm hugs. Bright smiles.
    A focus on all that is good around me.

    And a sincere appreciation for the ones in my life who truly SHINE.
    I’m so grateful for your words.
    For you, Heidi.

    Here’s to your brilliant year.

  7. Steph

    Lovely – like you. Words are a lifeline, aren’t they? I like how you say you will hold your book, and it will be the weight of your words – beautiful metaphor. Reading Tara’s comment about your book tour made me think that maybe, just maybe San Francisco might be on that tour. If so, I’ll be first in line. When will you know?

  8. Julia

    Oh how I adore this. I think Shine is your perfect word, because I feel that you allow yourself to do that through your gorgeous writing. I am so very proud of you for your choices, sharing your story, and your book. It is a masterpiece and Shine is the perfect way to describe it.
    I adore words, too, but had never thought of focusing on one as a way to capture me or my life. This year I did the blogging trend of choosing a word for the year instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, and I chose “Let Go.” A phrase really, but since choosing it I find myself embracing it and repeating it as a mantra. I hope that it’s working.

  9. The Lizard

    You are so shiny Heidi!
    You are a gifted writer, I love how the words seem to tumble out of you.

  10. Sarah

    Hi Heidi!
    I just ‘happened’ upon your blog today… Pretty sure that wasn’t a coincidence! Please let me know when you’re book is available – I look forward to reading your story!
    Sarah (Betty’s would-be sister-in-law)

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