January 28, 2012

My new secret word-of-the-year: s***loads.

Fiona writes: What do I think when I look at this raspberry tart?

“I want a big piece.” “I want two.” “I want some chocolate afterwards.”

This year, I chose ‘enough‘ as my ‘word-for-the-year’. I wanted to find a way of feeling satisfied with what I already had.

Today, I went walking on the Malvern hills with my friend. We talked about what might be holding me back from being satisfied about where I am now. Why do I keep hankering after the money to buy a cottage in the country?

She asked me what my life would actually be like if I earned lots and lots of money. I couldn’t imagine it. I could see myself buying my little cottage outright and then being poor again. I could just about see myself buying a few clothes from a favourite (out of my budget) clothes shop, but then my fantasy skipped to giving my spare money away to charity.

As we spoke I realised I was challenged by the idea of wanting or having an excess of anything. I couldn’t allow myself to want or have more-than-enough money. I would be ‘over-indulgent’. I would be greedy. I would be taking stuff from those who needed it more. Bad bad bad!

I wondered if there was a way of owning more of my greed – of settling into it further than I usually allow myself. Of luxuriating in it, like a bubble bath.

My friend suggested that, as well as a public word-for-the-year, we should have an alternative, sinful one to represent the shadow of what were seeking. Mine would be ‘more’ or, even more deliciously, ‘s***loads’. My friend’s ‘word-for-the-year’ was clarity, and so we decided on ‘What the f***?’ for her.

After our walk, we went to a supermarket and wandered the aisles, singing our words. She had no idea what to buy. I didn’t need anything, so I picked up extravagantly expensive bread, a magazine, goat’s cheese… piling the food up high. It felt wickedly liberating.

I also gave myself full permission to get a rich indulgent pudding. And I found that I didn’t want one. My ‘permission to want s***loads’ allowed ‘enough’ to really be OK. Not in a fake, I’d-love-to-be-seen-as-this-virtuous way, but in a very real one.

Our secret alternative word-of-the-year phrases are both working very nicely for us so far. What’s yours?


Raspberry tart by Darwin Bell via Creative Commons, with thanks.

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