I’ve been doing “one little word” for several years now. Last year’s word was SHINE, although I don’t know if I ever got around to writing about it. Some other websites have commercialized the concept, so definitely stick to the first link above it you’re looking for watchword for the year and not necessarily for merchandise.
This past year has been difficult. The epilepsy, the long-term disability, the coming to terms with the fact that I may not be able to return to early childhood education, my chosen field. On top of that, the twins started kindergarten and my oldest is a senior! He’s off right now at a college audition. Single motherhood has been tricky at times and all told, it’s been hard not to feel a bit down once in a while. And I’m not even going to mention politics. Just kidding. I’m totally going to mention politics.
Anyone who knows me knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of musicals. As a matter of fact, I gave my daughter a choice between a big sweet sixteen party and a trip to NYC to see a show, and we now have orchestra seats to see Jessie Mueller in her very last Saturday night performance of Waitress! So when I was looking for a watchword for 2017, it wasn’t surprising that the following lyric from Hamilton kept coming back to me.
When you’re living on your knees you
Tell your brother that he’s gotta
Tell your sister that she’s gotta
So this year, my two little words are Rise Up. Every morning, not just for me, but for my children. For my sisters and brothers, who are being oppressed. For the millions of people around the world who are victimized, oppressed, and forgotten. For my country, which I truly believe is being led down a negative path of hatred and intolerance. For peace. For joy. For love.
There are a lot of things I can’t do. With the seizures, I’m reluctant to go to any sort of large march or protest. Stress and noise and chaos are all major triggers for me, and I would not want to take away from the work. But I write and make phone calls. I help disseminate information. I am learning more about being a good ally. I have some posts on my personal Facebook page that are set to public with the hashtag #ProjectLumos and I am considering creating a Facebook page just for posts on age-appropriate activism with children. I try to shine and share joy.
I also often listen to this song when I am feeling discouraged. It is incredibly powerful.
And we’ll rise up,
Rise like the waves.
We’ll rise up,
In spite of the ache.
We’ll rise up,
And we’ll do it a thousands times again.
And the global, humanistic rising up is huge. But it’s also a year of figuring out my next steps. My long-term disability is up in September. After that, they will no longer pay if I can do any job at all, no matter how unfulfilling it might be to me. For example, the vocational rehab office I am working with keeps mentioning “high end customer service work,” which makes me want to curl up and cry.
I am considering lots of things– teaching online, substitute teaching as I can, teaching music privately to small children, families, and in private lessons, writing, etc– but it’s all overwhelming. So each morning, I rise up and try to sort through this mess of a world, the chaos of my family, the electrical storm of my brain.
I will rise a thousand times again.