SWAT: Drill 23

Hi everyone- SWAT is starting off the year with a new challenge, and this time, we want you to share your new year's inspiration. Did you make resolutions? Choose a phrase for the year? Do you have a word of the year? Link up a layout about it to the SWAT page for a chance to win this month's prize.

This particular challenge was tough for me, and I want to share my story for those of you in the same situation.
In 2013, I chose the word "Joy". I wanted to focus on a positive word that would help me to be my best in a year with an "unlucky" number. I entered 2013 with energy, hope and power. At first, the focus on joy was wonderful. I spent time on things that were important to me, and saw some improvements on goals I set for myself.

Then, everything started to unravel. I kept counting the "bad things" to see when I hit three, waiting for the tides to change. First, the things that went wrong were mostly financially and personally uncomfortable. The gas leak on a weekend that turned into the sickening realization that the furnace shoots fireballs across the basement any time it kicks on. A minor repair turns major. This is followed his car which needed a full transmission rebuild (remember those fun pics from April?) Then, an accident in mine that was under insurance dispute for weeks. As the year progressed, new mishaps seemed part of the status-quo. I found comfort in thinking of my word "Joy" and finding the silver lining for these events. We knew repair people, my husband rebuilt his car, and my insurance finally worked it out. I was managing to keep a hold of my goal.

My Dad's illness got worse early in the year. This became the beginning of the end, and the loss of my hold on the word "Joy". I remember sitting in the headache gray hospital room with him. My oldest would look up and try to make me smile as she ate her yogurt parfait. She loved visiting my dad because the hospital had a cafeteria, and she liked to go visit for a treat. The discussions around my Dad changed, and for once, better was not a word that was used. The process of losing a family member is devastating, no matter how long he was ill. The dynamics of a family struggling with dying is ugly and stressful. I felt helpless. I lost joy. Dad died.

Since then, things have stayed gray. They've slowly gotten better, but I ended the year exhausted, frustrated, and scared to pick a word that could end up as sideways as "Joy".

I briefly considered "I got nothin' " as a phrase, but I don't truly feel so depressed that I think I have nothing. It really is more of a feeling as if I spend my day walking through molasses. Words like "believe", "wish" and "hope" didn't sit well because I don't really have a hopeful perspective. It's not that I have nothing to live for, it is just that at this particular moment I have no fundamental reason to believe that things are going to get better. It's not a glass half empty perspective insomuch as it is a broken glass perspective.Talking doesn't really work, because the rest of the world seems all Pollyanna fake. I have been duly informed I need to change my attitude, but honestly, I don't have the energy. People back away; support systems crumble because of me, which then exacerbates the problem.   

I thought about what I wanted for 2014. I want to have hope, to roar, to effervesce, to be light. Right now, I am none of those things, and don't really know how to get there. Right now, I'm getting by. I don't want this to be a forever thing, but it is a thing. I have to go through it, even if no one understands. I thought about what it meant to be in a gray place. I thought about what my days look like, and I thought about what I needed.

I settled on the word "Art" because it is neutral. Art asks others to feel. Art describes many things, and much of life can be done artfully. Art evokes perseverance and discipline. Art addresses pain and sorrow. I thought about homemaking, and how I want others to feel in my home, and the art that it takes to keep an inviting home. I thought about the art of ritual and intention. I selected art not only because I want to create, but because I want to explore.

In this spirit, I share my word of the year story. Share yours with us at SWAT, and I wish you a very Artful 2014.



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