My word of the year this year is “expand.”
For many reasons, this year I chose a word that is the antithesis of my life so far. It feels uncomfortable. It pushes me in ways my previous words of the year didn’t, even the challenging ones.
I could have gone for a more palatable version of the word; “growth,” “bloom,” “blossom.”
I could have changed my mind as the realisation dawned on New Year’s Day that I would be spending my year guided by a word that I didn’t really like and that made me feel a way I didn’t really like either.
But in the spirit of expansion, instead I am holding to it.
I choose to take up space.
See my word this year didn’t come from a lot of thinking, or looking at lists of words, or hearing someone else’s word. It came from a deep, inner knowing that it is time for me to blossom, to grow, to take up space.
All the space.
It’s time for me to stop making myself smaller, getting out of the way, minimising my achievements. It’s a chance to embody one of my favourite internet quotes “Stop breaking yourself down into bite-sized pieces to serve others. Stay whole and let them choke.”
It feels uncomfortable to expand because I have always been somehow both too much and not enough.
Shrinking my borderline emotions to fit a neurotypical world.
Shrinking my goals to fit what other people thought I might manage to achieve.
Shrinking my body to fit the patriarchy’s idea of beauty and the lies of the health and wellness industry.
Shrinking my life to fit in one of the boxes, or pigeon holes, presented to me.
But that’s not all of it. Strange as it may seem, I’m giving myself at least 6 months to not set goals. To not aim for or work towards the next thing, to instead celebrate my successes. To look back at all the steps that came before and really appreciate the work I put in and that I took those steps. To be wrapped in the love and support that helped me get here.
Expanding isn’t about the next thing on the to do list for me, and that’s kinda scary in itself too. But that’s part of the journey, because the next thing for me is learning to celebrate my achievements. To rest and look back and truly see what other people see; a strong, determined, loved person who never abandoned her values or her community while she fought for her future.
So along with me taking up space, I’ll be expanding my perception of myself by adding the words of people who love me to my own understanding of myself and slowly, so slowly, starting to believe them.
It’s gonna be tough but if I know anything now, it’s that I’m definitely tougher.