Six Little Words
As I was driving to church on Father’s Day, 2011, I heard a discussion on CBC of a National Post call for people to call in or write in with 6 words to describe their father. At first I thought that that was silly. How can you describe someone so pivotal in your life and reduce them to 6 words? But I found myself doing it. So for my father the words were: intelligent, musical, insecure, stubborn, a big teddy bear, and playful. Okay, so one of the words was a descriptive phrase.
Then I found myself trying the same thing for me. How would I describe myself? What 6 words would I use? And the 6 words at the time were: loving, curious, musical, intelligent, massive, and bright. And they all felt so right throughout my body and I found myself crying because I thought of the gift I had given myself to find and know myself. I mean really know.
I love words. I play word games. I taught my students spelling using word games. I love language. And I thought about the 6 words I had chosen [or maybe which chose me] and the order I had put them in. The order is not random. It comes from the most essential out. Except for the last two.I did try other word orders for the same 6 words but they didn’t and don’t resonate the same way in me.
The depth of meaning of the words to me has changed profoundly. I would not have used loving before. It would have been caring which lacks the intensity which I feel for and about others. Curious was there but it would have been seeking. Interesting that I’m still curious about the world and how things work and came to be. But the stridency of seeking – the urgency and, for me, sense of desperation isn’t there anymore. Musical is there. It always has been but it’s much earlier in the order of words to encapsulate me. Intelligent is still there. It’s just not first. I do not feel like a brain walking around on two feet anymore! Big change for someone who has always tried to be rational and to reason out everything and to use her brain to control her emotions!
Now for the last two – massive and bright. Massive would never have been on any list which I had made up to describe myself. It would have meant my physical size only and I am large. That aspect of me is now something that just is. It is not who I am. Massive is the size and intensity of the totality of me. I am a massive personality. I just don’t try to minimize that fact to myself or anyone else anymore. I remind myself each day to bring that largeness to my life and my world. I remind myself not to apologize for that. And bright. That always meant smart and quick and intelligent before. Now it feels shiny and happy and warm and enveloping. Smiling and laughter – giggles to belly laughs feel wonderful. So the last two on my list are the sum of everything else not less than everything else.
And I thought about how my language has changed and my reaction to the words I hear and the words I use – especially with myself. I used to have to guard my words in speaking about myself and what I do. I had to consciously consider the potential for judgement implied in saying something as simple as “That’s better”. Somehow, I realize that the need for conscious and cognitive monitoring is so much less.
My being present to myself and, thus, to the world is not managed and ordered and controlled now. I remind myself to simply be me.
And then, about 4 months ago, while I was at my singing lesson, I thought about these six words:loving, curious, musical, intelligent, massive, and bright. I realized that they had changed. They had become – I am Jean Aileen Winter and I love and I create and I laugh and I shine. Fewer words and also active, single syllable words. Words which are direct and powerful.
About one month ago, I realized when I was hosting a Women’s Awakening afternoon at my house that the words had changed again. And I told a colleague I had worked with about trying to find six words to encompass the totality of me. [Something like the exercise one of my doctoral study professors had given my class to try to write the intention of our doctoral study in 25 words or less. My thesis supervisor told me that for me, more is actually less.] Anyway, in speaking with my colleague, I realized that there is only one word left to describe me. That word says everything I have ever known and felt about myself. It holds everything in it.
So, here it is…..
I AM Jean Aileen Winter and I SHINE!
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